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Maternal Depression Tied to Atopic Dermatitis in Offspring

Association shows increased rate, more persistence, and potentially more severe symptoms

FRIDAY, Jan. 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Maternal depression in the postpartum period and beyond is associated with higher odds of atopic dermatitis (AD) for the child throughout childhood and adolescence, according to a study published in the January/February issue of Dermatitis.

Costner McKenzie, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and Jonathan I. Silverberg, M.D., Ph.D., from the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to evaluate the association of maternal depression in the postpartum period and maternal and paternal depression in later childhood with AD prevalence and persistence in 4,898 U.S. children.

The researchers found that a history of postpartum depression was associated with childhood AD overall (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.32), particularly at ages 5 years (aOR, 1.34) and 9 years (aOR, 1.37). There was also an association between postpartum depression and more persistent AD (present at 2 years: aOR, 1.58; 3 years: aOR, 1.73). Maternal depression in the past year was associated with significantly higher odds of AD at 5 years (aOR, 1.54), 9 years (aOR, 1.36), and 15 years (aOR, 1.43), as well as higher odds of AD during 1 year (aOR, 1.50), 2 years (aOR, 1.60), or all 3 years of interviews (aOR, 1.61).

“Our results further suggest that postpartum depression is associated with AD even in older children and adolescents, with more persistent disease and greater sleep disturbance,” Silverberg said in a statement. “This could potentially suggest more severe AD.”

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