We probably know less than 1% of the entire picture of allergic diseases or responses, Robert R. Kierland, MD, of the Section of Dermatology at Mayo Clinic, told the meeting of the American College of Allergy, March 1 to 6 in Bal Harbour, Fla. Kierland explored the etiology and pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and urticaria.
"The basic cause of atopic dermatitis remains an enigma—while the clinical appearance has been known for generations under this or other titles, we know little of the reasons why such patients react as they do," Kierland said. Yet, we have identified differences between the atopic person and the non-atopic person. These differences are variously interpreted by authorities, however. "Atopic dermatitis is characterized clinically by itching, which precedes visible cutaneous changes, chronicity, eczematization in infants, lichenification and dryness of skin in adults, site predilection (face, neck, and flexors), allergic, climatic, and emotional influences, and