Allergy research and news

With a background in science and research (B.Sc. Hons), I prefer to read about latest allergy research directly from the publications written by scientists and researchers themselves.  I will endeavour to provide information and links directly to the latest research in the fields of immunology and health relating to allergies, intolerances, and associated illnesses. Please contact me via the form at the bottom of this page if you wish to discuss a project you are currently working on or latest research that you would like to bring to my attention, or if you would like to me to link to information on a particular area of interest.


A self-assessment tool for patients suffering from eczema

Are we any closer to finding ways to prevent food allergies?



A self-assessment tool for patients suffering from eczema

The SCORAD (Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis) index calculator has been used by medical professionals to assess the severity of eczema in patients over a time period [1].  The PO-SCORAD (Patient Oriented SCORAD) index developed by ETFAD (European Task Force on Atopic Dermatitis) uses the same criteria adapted for patient use [2]. It was developed to allow patients and carers to follow the course of the eczema and the effect of any treatment over a period of time [Opened-Dermatology].

The application can be downloaded from the Opened Dermatology website (

Personal review:

I thought I might use this application to record Kai’s eczema, more out of curiosity than a medical need, considering his eczema is well controlled at the moment. After needing to download Adobe AIR software first, the installation was fairly straightforward. Using the application is also self-explanatory as illustrated in the screen shot below. After you enter data, click on the calculator icon at the bottom and your PO-SCORAD score will be revealed. Click on the ‘save’ icon at the bottom right to save your data so that you can plot your eczema severity over time. There is an option to see this change displayed in a graph by clicking on the chart icon on the bottom right.

PO-SCORAD screen shot

PO-SCORAD screen shot

The only limitation I can see in the application is that you cannot record when a treatment started. Personally I would keep a record of when any treatments are used to control the eczema and its associated infections (e.g., corticosteroids, bleach baths, wet wraps), as well as any change in the environment or diet (e.g., removal of an allergen, or addition of a new food to the diet, change in season, or a move to a different house/geographic location). This can then be checked against the change in eczema severity on PO-SCORAD over the period of treatment.

You can print the data and take it with you to your dermatologist or immunologist.



[1] [No authors listed]. Severity scoring of atopic dermatitis: the SCORAD index. Consensus Report of the European Task Force on Atopic Dermatitis. Dermatology 1993; 186(1): 23-31.
[2] Stalder J-F, Barbarot S, Wollenberg A, Holm EA, De Raeve L, Seidenari S, Oranje A, Deleuran M, Cambazard F, Svensson A, Simon D, Benfeldt E, Reunala T, Mazereeuv J, Boralevi F, Kunz B, Misery L, Mortz CG, Darsow U, Gelmetti C, Diepgen T, Ring J, Moehrenschlager M, Gieler U, Taïeb A, for the PO-SCORAD Investigators Group. Patient-Oriented SCORAD (PO-SCORAD): a new self-assessment scale in atopic dermatitis validated in Europe. Allergy 2011; 66: 1114–1121.



Are we any closer to finding ways to prevent food allergies?

Primary prevention of food allergy in children and adults: systematic review [1]

A systematic review of trials and studies up to September 2012 was conducted for the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) so that it can develop guidelines for food allergy and anaphylaxis. This is a summary of the results published early 2014:

  • Formulas: The most notable evidence for prevention strategies when using formulas pointed at using partially or extensively hydrolysed whey or casein formulas rather than cow’s milk for infants at high risk of allergies for the first four months. The use of soy formulas showed no benefit.
  • Supplements: There were suggestions that maternal fish oil supplements during pregnancy could have a preventative effect against egg sensitisation in high risk infants. However, there was no evidence of a benefit to prevention of infant allergies if taking supplements whilst breastfeeding. Similarly, there was no evidence of benefits shown when using infant probiotic supplements to prevent food allergy. One study found that children under five years of age taking vitamins may have some protection against food allergy.
  • Breastfeeding: The preventative benefits of breastfeeding showed mixed findings with some studies suggesting a protective benefit, while results of other studies showed no benefit for prevention of allergies.
  • Solids: Delaying the introduction of solids beyond 4 months did not have preventive benefits in infants.
  • Adults: The authors found very little evidence among the studies about strategies for preventing food allergy in older children or adults.


[1] de Silva D, Geromi M, Halken S, Host A, Panesar SS, Muraro A, Werfel T, Hoffmann-Sommergruber K, Roberts G, Cardona V, Dubois AEJ, Poulsen LK, Van Ree R, Vlieg-Boerstra B, Agache I,Grimshaw K, O’Mahony L, Venter C, Arshad SH and Sheikh A on behalf of the EAACI Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Guidelines Group. Primary prevention of food allergy in children and adults: systematic review. Allergy 2014; doi: 10.1111/all.12334. [Epub ahead of print]




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