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May 1992

Prevalence of Alopecia Areata in the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Author Affiliations

Office of Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Applications National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases National Institutes of Health Bldg 31 Room 4C13 National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(5):702. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680150136027

To the Editor.—  No estimates of the incidence or prevalence of alopecia areata (AA) have been published. The First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-I), conducted from 1971 through 1974, contained a dermatologic examination of 20 749 individuals in a probability sample of the US population. This communication presents the prevalence of AA as estimated from the findings of NHANES-I.

Materials and Methods.—  The survey design and methods of NHANES-I have been well described by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).1,2 The examiner's diagnosis of AA could be recorded in four places on the survey form as follows: (1) "significant dermatological diagnosis" (limit of three); (2) a finding on the scalp; (3) a finding on the face; or (4) a finding on the nail.Using a published table of upper- and lower-bound factors based on the Poisson distribution,3 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for total prevalence and

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