-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Key factors that affect a
child's risk of developing allergies by age 2 include race, a
mother's exposure to pets during pregnancy and the method of
delivery, a new study suggests.
Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit followed 1,187
newborns and measured levels of the antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE)
in blood samples collected from the babies at birth, 6 months, 1
year and 2 years.
IgE is associated with the development of allergies and asthma;
higher levels indicate increased risk.
The study found that IgE levels during infancy were 28 percent
lower in children whose mothers were exposed to indoor pets during
pregnancy (indoor prenatal pet exposure) compared to babies from
IgE levels were 16 percent lower in infants who had indoor
prenatal pet exposure and were born vaginally compared to infants
who had indoor prenatal pet exposure and were delivered by cesarean
IgE levels were 33 percent lower in infants of European, Asian
or Middle Eastern descent who had indoor prenatal pet exposure,
compared to 10 percent lower in black infants with indoor prenatal
The study was published online Aug. 8 in the
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
"We believe having a broad, diverse exposure to a wide array of microbacteria at home and during the birthing process influences the development of a child's immune system," senior study author Christine Cole Johnson, chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, said in a hospital news release.
The finding supports what's known as the hygiene hypothesis, a
theory that early childhood exposure to infectious agents affects
immune system development and the risk of allergies and asthma, she
The Nemours Foundation has more about
allergies in children.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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