Author: Maria A. CZERNIAKOW
Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a psychologically debilitating disease due to its embarrassing skin lesions and pruritic nature which disturb the quality of life (QOL) of the patients. Even though children are primarily affected, caregivers can also be affected due to being the first line of care for others who are inflicted. This review focuses on randomized control trials which investigated the use of non-chemical forms of treatment to improve QOL and disease severity in children. A search of the PubMed database identified six studies that met the inclusion criteria. The studies were ranked from most rigorous trial to least. Various forms of education as an intervention were used. Conversely the viewing of a humorous film was tested to examine if it had an impact on QOL. Education intervention versus no education at all showed that the intervention group had a larger decrease in disease severity than the control group. The form of education as a single consult with an AD educated nurse showed no difference between the control and the intervention group. Comparison of nurse-led clinics with the dermatologist-led clinics indicated that the nurse-led clinics were more successful. Viewing humorous films before bedtime was demonstrated as a successful means of reducing night-time awakenings. Also specific AD education versus routine education and consultations showed improvement in both groups. Finally AD video-education versus direct parental teaching concluded that the video-education was more effective. Although the studies show that any form of education intervention is better than none, the methodological assessment of the studies showed that four of the studies were not rigorous enough or were not described at all. Further studies must be conducted in a more methodologically sound manner for the results to be considered replicable and valid.