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ADHD, Skin Disease May Be Linked

Children With Eczema More Likely to Get Attention Deficit Disorder

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John YM Koo, MD, director of the University of California, San Francisco, Dermatology Drug Research Unit, says the study is reminiscent of "earlier studies from the psychiatric literature that describe a relationship between hyperactive mind and hyperactive body." Koo, who was not involved in the study, says that mind-body theory "has been largely discarded, but this suggests that there may be some relationship."

Sophie Worobec, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Illinois in Chicago, tells WebMD that she's not surprised by the findings. She says the skin and the brain develop about the same time so there is frequently a link between "very reactive skin and very reactive minds." She says that children with eczema are often "very bright. ... I think it is useful to tell parents this. I do this all the time in my practice, and you can observe an almost immediate change in the way the parent regards the child."

She says that a very bright child with eczema presents so many challenges to both parents and teachers that there is a risk that ADHD could be overdiagnosed in such children.

The study was funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.

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