What is it about?

Intensive epidemiological research on allergies has produced a substantial body of evidence and advanced the understanding of these conditions. For some time now, systematic reviews have been a useful approach to synthesize this original evidence for researchers and decision makers. More recently, these users are faced with a larger and larger number of systematic reviews, which can cloud the issue or be impossible to grasp in detail, much as when these users used to be faced with large numbers of original articles. This overview of systematic reviews in allergy epidemiology allows comparison of the findings of separate systematic reviews to inform further research or healthcare providers. There is also an in-depth companion paper specifically on asthma (https://goo.gl/16D52x).

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Why is it important?

Previously, there has been no attempt to provide an overview of systematic reviews across several allergic diseases. The present overview allows comparison between different allergic diseases, which may help to identify areas that are understudied for specific allergic diseases. Moreover, previously published overviews of systematic reviews for atopic eczema included a very comprehensive search strategy, but were limited in the time frame covered. A further previously published overview of systematic reviews on risk and protective factors for asthma was restricted to the paediatric literature, nongenetic factors and systematic reviews that included a meta-analysis. The present overview overcomes these limitations and thus provides a more comprehensive picture of existing literature.


We have procuded a wealth of literature on allergy epidemiology in the past decades. However, we tend to forget the "older" evidence and base our current efforts on referenced studies from recent years. This overview should only be the beginning of assembling and indexing literature in the field to aid future investigations. Don't forget the past - use the entire existing evidence to move the field forward! It may take a little longer but it will lead to higher quality...

PD Dr. med. Jon Genuneit
Universitat Leipzig

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This page is a summary of: Overview of systematic reviews in allergy epidemiology, Allergy, January 2017, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/all.13123.
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