Exercise: Education for atopic dermatitis, Part 1

Staab et al. (2006) carried out a multicentre, randomised controlled trial to determine the effects of age related, structured educational programmes on the management of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in childhood and adolescence. Parents of children with atopic dermatitis aged 3 months to 12 years and adolescents with atopic dermatitis aged 13-18 years were randomly allocated to either the intervention, group sessions of standardised intervention programmes for atopic dermatitis once weekly for six weeks, or control, no education.

The main outcome measure was severity of eczema as a score on an atopic dermatitis scale. The abstract contained the following:

‘Significant improvements in severity of eczema and subjective severity were seen in all intervention groups compared with control groups (total score for severity: age 3 months to 7 years –17.5, 95% confidence intervals –19.6 to –15.3 v –12.2, –14.3 to –10.1 . . .)’ These numbers are the mean change in severity score, before minus after, over 12 months.


1. What can we conclude about the changes in score over 12 months since recruitment?

Check suggested answer 1.

2. What would be a better confidence interval than those presented?

Check suggested answer 2.


Staab D, Diepgen TL, Fartasch M, Kupfer J, Lob-Corzilius T, Ring J, Scheewe S, Scheidt R, Schmid-Ott G, Schnopp C, Szczepanski R, Werfel T, Wittenmeier M, Wahn U, Gieler U. (2006) Age related, structured educational programmes for the management of atopic dermatitis in children and adolescents: multicentre, randomised controlled trial. British Medical Journal 332, 933-938.

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Last updated: 31 July, 2006.

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