Childhood atopic dermatitis is associated with cognitive dysfunction: A National Health Interview Survey study from 2008 to 2018

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology




© 2020 American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common inflammatory skin disease in children and adults. Little is known regarding the association of childhood AD with cognitive dysfunction. Objective: To evaluate the association of AD and cognitive dysfunction, including memory impairment, developmental delays and attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder in US children (age <18 years). Methods: Data was analyzed from the National Health Interview Survey 2008 to 2018, which used a multistage, clustered, cross-sectional design. Results: The prevalences of cognitive dysfunction, such as memory impairment (0.87% vs 0.42%), developmental delays (6.96% vs 3.87%), and attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder (10.78% vs 8.10%), were higher in children with vs without AD. In multivariable logistic regression models adjusting for age, sex, race, region, socioeconomic factors, allergic conditions, and mental health, childhood AD was associated with higher odds of memory impairment (adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 1.84 [1.34-2.51]), developmental delays (1.54 [1.40-1.70]), and attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder (1.31 [1.20-1.42]) compared with children without AD. Childhood atopic disease (defined as comorbid AD, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and food allergies) further increased the prevalence of developmental delays to 13.44% (2.10 [1.20-3.70]) in boys but not in girls. Conclusion: In a nationally representative sample of the US population, a statistically significant and positive association between childhood AD and atopic disease with cognitive dysfunction was identified (P < .001). Furthermore, a dimorphic relationship with developmental delays was identified between sexes.