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Research project looking for mums-to-be with family history of eczema

Press release issued: 20 June 2016

Researchers at the University of Bristol are looking for pregnant women to take part in a study into preventing babies developing eczema.

The study, called Barrier Enhancement for Eczema Prevention (BEEP), aims to recruit 1,300 babies and find out if the application of non-cosmetic moisturisers (emollients), along with best practice skin care advice, could prevent the onset of eczema in high-risk babies.

Pregnant women due to give birth before November (or women who have very recently given birth), who have eczema, asthma or hay fever in the immediate family, are being invited to participate in the study.

The babies will be split into two groups, with both groups given the best skin care advice, but with one group, decided at random, asked to also use emollients. These non-cosmetic moisturisers soften the skin and are already in common use by people with eczema.

Dr Matthew Ridd, a North Somerset GP and senior lecturer at the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care, is leading recruitment in the Bristol area.

He said: "Moisturisers are one of the commonly used treatments for childhood eczema, but they have not been properly studied for the prevention of eczema. This study will tell us whether using moisturisers after birth can prevent or reduce the severity of eczema.

"The information we gain will be of benefit to eczema sufferers in the future. Until we have completed this trial and the results have been analysed, we really won't know whether emollients work or not, and only by running this trial will we ever know the answer."

If you would like to take part in this study, please contact the study team on 0117 331 4575

Further information

Eczema is a very common skin problem affecting 16 to 30 per cent of children in the UK and around 20 per cent worldwide. The onset of eczema usually occurs in infancy, and generally dry skin is one of the first symptoms in babies who eventually develop the condition.

Further information about BEEP

The BEEP study is managed by the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Nottingham and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme. Researchers from the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care are recruiting to the study locally from January 2016 until November 2016.

A leaflet about the trial is available to download. Alternatively please go to the BEEP website or contact the local team on

A video about the BEEP study is available online

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