Researchers say Eczema Can Lead to Higher Risk for Schizophrenia

New research details a link between eczema and schizophrenia.

Atopic dermatitis, often called eczema, is a chronic disease that causes inflammation, redness and irritation of the skin. Anyone can get the disease at any age but Black people in the United States experience greater atopic dermatitis (AD) prevalence, severity, and persistence when compared with White people, according to the National Institutes of Health. In the U.S., eczema affects more Black children (about 20%) than white children (about 16%) or Hispanic children (about 8%). But researchers have not been able to uncover the reason for this disparity.

According to a study published in July in the Archives of Dermatological Research, having eczema is associated with a higher risk for schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Yale School of Medicine used electronic health record data to assess the relationship between atopic dermatitis and schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder in a nested, matched, case-control study.

The researchers found that participants with atopic dermatitis were more likely to have schizophrenia (2.0 versus 1.1 percent) or schizoaffective disorder (1.8 versus 0.5 percent). Even when controlling for demographics the association persisted (odds ratios, 1.64 and 2.44 for schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, respectively).

“This study provides further strong evidence for a potential relationship between atopic dermatitis with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder,” the authors write. “Dermatologists treating patients with atopic dermatitis should be aware of these associations to facilitate collaborative management with other providers when appropriate.”

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