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Open Access Research article

Family eczema-history in 2-year olds with eczema; a prospective, population-based study. The PACT-study, Norway

Marit Saunes12*, Torbjørn Øien1, Ola Storrø1 and Roar Johnsen1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health and General Practice, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

2 Department of Dermatology, St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Norway

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BMC Dermatology 2011, 11:11  doi:10.1186/1471-5945-11-11

Published: 20 May 2011

Abstract

Background

A maternal line of inheritance regarding eczema has been described in several studies, whereas others find associations to both a maternal as well as a paternal line of inheritance. When studying family history of eczema symptoms, cohort studies including siblings are rare. Time point for assessing family eczema-history could be of importance when studying the associations between family eczema-history and children with eczema, as parents with unaffected children may not recall mild symptoms in other siblings or their own disease history. We therefore aimed to study the associations between reported eczema in mother, father and siblings and reported eczema in index child where information on family history was collected at two different ages of index child.

Methods

Parents/children participating in The Prevention of Allergy among Children in Trondheim (PACT) study were given questionnaires on reported eczema symptoms in mother, father and siblings at 6 weeks and 1 year. When index child was 2 years of age, a detailed questionnaire on different health issues with emphasize on different allergy related disorders were filled in.

Results

Both maternal and paternal reports on eczema were significantly associated with eczema in index child. Reporting family eczema-history at 1 year (N = 3087), "eczema sibling only" [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 3.13 (2.27-4.33)] as well as all other family-groups containing siblings with eczema were strongly associated with eczema 2 years. When family eczema-history was reported at 6 weeks (N = 2657), reporting of "eczema sibling only" was not associated to reported eczema at 2 years in index child [aOR = 1.31 (0.77-2.23)].

Conclusions

Having sibling(s) with eczema strengthened the associations between maternal and paternal reports on eczema with eczema in index child only when exposure was reported at 1 year. These findings indicate that results from questionnaires-based studies of family eczema-history depend on whether or not index child has yet developed eczema.

Trial registration

ISRCTN: ISRCTN28090297