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Allergy. 2017 Jun;72(6):849-856. doi: 10.1111/all.13123. Epub 2017 Jan 24.

Overview of systematic reviews in allergy epidemiology.

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Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.
Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.
Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 424 General Military Training Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Murdoch Children's Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Biomedicine and Molecular Immunology, Palermo, Italy.
Children's Allergies Department, Division of Asthma, Allergy and Lung Biology, King's College London, London, UK.
Population Health Research Institute, St George's, University of London, London, UK.
Unit for Population-Based Dermatology Research, St John's Institute of Dermatology, King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation, London, UK.



There is a substantial body of evidence on the epidemiology of allergic conditions, which has advanced the understanding of these conditions. We aimed to systematically identify systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the epidemiology of allergic diseases to assess what has been studied comprehensively and what areas might benefit from further research.


We searched PubMed and EMBASE up to 12/2014 for systematic reviews on epidemiological research on allergic diseases. We indexed diseases and topics covered and extracted data on the search characteristics of each systematic review.


The search resulted in 3991 entries after removing duplicates, plus 20 other items found via references and conference abstracts; 421 systematic reviews were relevant and included in this overview. The majority contained some evidence on asthma (72.9%). Allergic rhinitis, atopic eczema and food hypersensitivity were covered in 15.7%, 24.5% and 9.0%, respectively. Commonly studied risk factors for atopic eczema included dietary and microbial factors, while for asthma, pollution and genetic factors were often investigated in systematic reviews. There was some indication of differing search characteristics across topics.


We present a comprehensive overview with an indexed database of published systematic reviews in allergy epidemiology. We believe that this clarifies where most research interest has focussed and which areas could benefit from further research. We propose that this effort is updated every few years to include the most recently published evidence and to extend the search to an even broader list of hypersensitivity/allergic disorders.


allergic diseases; epidemiology; meta-analyses; systematic reviews

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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