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Research & Innovation | Overview

The Atopic Dermatitis Center, located within the Division of Immunology at Boston Children’s Hospital, knows that if your child has atopic dermatitis, you’ve probably struggled with how to help her skin from itching and causing painful irritation. Experts in our center are here to help you every step of the way.

Evaluation

During the first visit, a nurse practitioner will review your child's medical history with you and will perform a physical examination.

  • family history of allergies or asthma
  • patient’s personal history of allergies and asthma
  • skin examination

After we complete all necessary tests, our experts will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best treatment plan. We'll also provide you with information about atopic dermatitis, skin care and food allergy and will answer any questions you might have.

The evaluation may take one or more visits.

Treatment

Although there is no cure for atopic dermatitis, treatment can decrease your child’s skin dryness and irritation. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the case of atopic dermatitis.

Many children with atopic dermatitis have an underlying skin barrier defect that requires them to take special care of their skin for their whole lives. In this case, they need to avoid irritants and may need to use moisturizers daily, which helps to decrease itching and flaking.

In severe cases, physicians may prescribe your child medications, such as steroid creams or antibiotics, to help alleviate her atopic dermatitis symptoms.

If a food allergy is triggering your child’s atopic dermatitis, we will identify the food allergen and remove it from your child’s diet. During this time, your child will receive treatment for skin inflammation.

The key factors in our approach to treatment include:

  • Our nurses, who manage all of your child’s care and work closely with the attending doctor. 
  • Education and support to both you and your child about atopic dermatitis, skin care and food allergies.
  • Since many food allergies can be prevented with diet therapy, our nutritionist works closely with the child and family to develop a proper nutrition treatment plan.
  • A psychologist or behavioral therapist may meet with you to listen to your concerns and help you and your child learn ways to cope with the itching and scratching of atopic dermatitis. 

Research

Boston Children’s Hospital is home to the world’s most extensive research enterprise at a pediatric hospital.

Atopic Dermatitis Research

Atopic Dermatitis Center, a program within the Division of Immunology at Boston Children’s, develops treatments informed by research. Lynda Schneider, MD, is a principal investigator for a study sponsored by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc, investigating the safety and efficacy of dupilumab in treating moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitits (AD), also commonly known as eczema, in patients aged 6 months to under 6 years of age.

The Boston Children’s Hospital Asthma Clinical Research Center is conducting a research study called Mechanisms of increased disease severity in Atopic Dermatitis patients. The study is for people ages 6-65 years old and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. The goal of the study is to look at gene expression in both affected and un-affected sites of skin. This study may not have direct benefit to you but it will help us better understand if certain genetic factors lead to more severe atopic dermatitis or eczema. The lead investigator of the study is Dr. Wanda Phipatanakul, and Drs. Lynda Schneider and Raif Geha are co-investigators. Anyone interested in this study, could email: asthma-dl@childrens.harvard.edu or call 857-218-5336.

Marilyn Liang, MD, is a dermatologist and principal investigator in a study called “The Impact of Pediatric Skin Disorders: The “Big” Study,” sponsored by The Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance. This study seeks to understand the severity and the type of stigma experienced across different kinds of skin conditions, helping to identify methods of intervention to lessen the impact of skin disorders.

Food Allergy Research

Dr. Schneider and Dr. Rima Rachid are conducting studies to evaluate desensitization for peanut allergy in children and young adults.

If you or your child are interested in participating in any of the studies mentioned here, please contact 617-355-6127.