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NIHR-funded researchers win RCGP 'Paper of the Year Award'

NIHR-funded researchers have won a prestigious research award after a judging panel selected their trial investigating whether emollient bath additives are helpful for children with eczema for the accolade.

A team led by the University of Southampton won Paper of the Year at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Annual Conference on 23 October 2019.

The paper published in The BMJ last May revealed findings from their BATHE trial which was funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme and supported by The University of Bristol.

The randomised controlled trial, involved 482 children aged one-11 years across 96 general practices in England and Wales over a 12-month period. It concluded that although emollient bath additives are safe, they are not a useful additional treatment for children who are receiving standard eczema care, such as using leave-on emollients and emollients as soap substitutes.

Lead author Dr Miriam Santer, Associate Professor in Primary Care Research within Medicine at the University of Southampton said that the study has "answered an important question in the management of childhood eczema.”

Dr Santer continued: “We are very grateful to the RCGP for recognising the importance of this work. I am so pleased to accept this award on behalf of everyone who made this research possible, including all the parents and children who took part in the study. There are many unanswered questions in eczema but this research is another step in finding out what does and doesn’t work.

“Eczema is very common and can have a big impact on quality of life for children and their families. Our study has answered an important question in the management of childhood eczema, by demonstrating that pouring emollient bath additives into the bath water doesn’t add benefit to standard management. Standard management includes soap avoidance, leave-on emollients and topical corticosteroids and our research will help parents and healthcare professionals focus time and resource on these effective treatments”.

Dr Santer, Matt Ridd of the University of Bristol, Nick Francis of Cardiff University and Paul Little of the University of Southampton, in partnership with Dermatologists, Health Services Researchers and Parents of children with eczema co-authored the paper.

More details about the project can be found on the NIHR Journals Library