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Recommend eczema patients for important trial

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Nurses can recommend young patients to take part in a scientific study to test the effect of wearing silk clothing on eczema.

Scientists from the University of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight are looking to recruit 300 children to establish whether specialist silk clothing can help in the treatment of eczema.

The study is led by the University of Nottingham and participants are also being sought from the Nottingham, Cambridge and London areas.

Participants should be aged between one and 15 with moderate to severe eczema.

Participants will be enrolled in one of two groups. The first group will receive three sets of silk clothing items, which they will be asked to wear under regular clothing for six months. The second group will not be given the clothing straight away but will be allowed to test the clothing for two months after the first six months has finished. Children will be free to continue using all their usual treatments throughout the trial.

The participants will be enrolled in the trial for eight months and will have to attend their local recruiting hospital on four different occasions in this period. Parents will be asked to complete a weekly questionnaire at home to track the eczema and how often the clothing has been worn.

Professor Tara Dean, from the University of Portsmouth's School of Health Sciences and Social Work, said that silk clothing is thought to have protective and antimicrobial qualities. ‘If this research can show that these garments provide additional benefits for patients, then this would be an important finding, and many eczema sufferers could benefit. Equally, if the research shows that the clothes provide no useful benefit, then patients and the NHS can save money by not using treatments that have been shown to be ineffective,' she said. Recruitment began in November and will continue for 18 months. Children, between the ages of one and 15, are needed to volunteer from Nottingham, Cambridge, north London, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

The universities involved are The University of Nottingham, University of Portsmouth, University of East Anglia, Hull University and the University of Dundee. There are six NHS Trusts taking part in the study - Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust, Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

For further information contact Jane Grundy, the research nurse at Isle of Wight NHS Trust, on 01983 534178 or email clothes@nottingham.ac.uk.

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