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Approved Research

Patterns of dietary salt intake and atopic dermatitis

Principal Investigator: Dr Katrina Abuabara
Approved Research ID: 76426
Approval date: February 8th 2022

Lay summary

Atopic dermatitis rates have tripled since the 1950, and now affect up to 20% of children and 10% of adults in urban and industrialized areas. The rapid increase is likely due to changing environmental and dietary factors. The disease course and response to new targeted treatments remain highly variable, and there is a critical need to identify modifiable factors that could improve patient outcomes. New research shows that humans may store salt in their skin in response to high levels of salt intake, which could trigger or perpetuate some of the inflammatory processes involved in atopic dermatitis.

The primary aim of our research is to determine whether dietary salt intake is associated with atopic dermatitis. We will then examine whether this relationship varies among participant subgroups (i.e. is this most relevant for participants with specific genetic changes or a history of skin infections). Finally, we will examine how salt intake impacts the previously established relationship between atopic dermatitis and hypertension.

If we find an association between salt intake and atopic dermatitis, future clinical trials may evaluate the utility of low-salt diets, which would be a novel treatment strategy that is low-risk, cost-effective, and widely available.