25 Jul Seasonal Patterns in Pediatric Alopecia Areata
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Eunyoung Cho, Sc.D.
Associate Professor and Director of Research
Department of Dermatology
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: We are interested in whether flares of alopecia area (AA), one of the most common autoimmune diseases resulting in sudden loss of scalp and facial hair, follow seasonal patterns and whether these potential patterns are related to climate factors. We recently analyzed a set of data on pediatric AA flares, which demonstrated seasonal patterns, with the largest number of flares in the fall, finding that climate factors such as UV index were correlated with the AA flare frequency of patients in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a geographical region with four distinct seasons. Here, we explored the seasonal patterns and contribution of climate factors in pediatric AA patients in Providence, Rhode Island, another geographical region with four distinct seasons, to test whether we can replicate our previous findings.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We analyzed 146 pediatric patients with alopecia area in Providence, Rhode Island including the dates of 348 episodes of flares. Monthly values of climate variables, including mean ambient temperature, UV index, air pressure, humidity, cloudiness, wind gust, wind speed, number of days with rain, volume of precipitation, number of days with sun and hours of sunlight, in Providence, were obtained from World Weather Online. We found that alopecia areata flares had seasonal patterns with high frequencies in the fall and winter months. Using the Spearman rank correlation analysis, there were significant correlations between monthly flare frequency and the average hours of sunlight (-0.75), UV index (-0.68), air pressure (0.67), and temperature per month (-0.61).
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: While our findings are still preliminary, these results echo our previous findings conducted in different geographical region, supporting our hypothesis that certain climate variables may influence the pathogenesis of pediatric alopecia area. Our findings related to UV index may support the potential role of vitamin D on AA flares, since the regional UV index may reflect our patients’ UV exposure. We know that cutaneous UV exposure induces endogenous vitamin D synthesis.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Future studies can further elucidate the factors contributing to the seasonal patterns of alopecia area flares. For example, serum vitamin D levels could be explored to test whether the seasonal patterns are due to vitamin D or any other factors. Also, we are interested in replicating in other populations as well as among adult AA patients.
No disclosure to make. This project was funded by the National Alopecia Areata Student Internship Award.
Climate and Pediatric Alopecia Areata: A Regional Analysis of Providence, Rhode Island” presented at the virtual Society for Pediatric Dermatology 45th Annual Meeting
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