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Food allergies in infancy linked to childhood asthma, study finds.
Researchers have found a link between infant food allergies and asthma, as well as a decline in lung function later in childhood.
The researchers say their findings could help healthcare professionals be more vigilant in monitoring the respiratory health of children with early food allergies.
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, led a study involving 5,276 children from the HealthNuts research.
This groundbreaking longitudinal study investigated how early allergies affect the health and well-being of children as they enter adolescence.
Food allergies in children are a growing concern, with Australia having one of the highest rates of childhood food allergy in the world, with more than 10% of infants suffering from the condition.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 13 children has a food allergy. Because the body’s immune system overreacts to food as if it were dangerous, some allergic reactions can be serious or even life-threatening.
In the current study, one-year-old participants underwent a skin prick test to four food allergens ( egg , peanut, sesame, shrimp or milk) and an oral food challenge (OFC) with egg, peanut and sesame.
An oral food challenge involves feeding the allergen in small, frequent doses over several hours. If the child reacts to the food on the oral food test, the test result is positive, which means the child is allergic to the food.
The same term is used for skin prick allergen testing. The tests were performed in a hospital setting. Parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their child’s allergy history, demographic characteristics, and environmental exposures.
Then, when the children were six years old, they underwent a follow-up health assessment that included testing for 10 foods (milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, sesame, soybeans, shrimp, cashews, almonds, and hazelnuts) and 8 aeroallergens (alternating sporozoites and clarisporium, dust mites, cat and dog hair, Bermuda grass, ryegrass, and birch mixture) for skin prick tests, OFC, and lung function tests. Likewise, parents fill out a questionnaire about their child’s allergy history, respiratory history and demographics.
Lung function tests include forced expiratory volume (the amount of air a person can force out of the lungs in one second), forced vital capacity (the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled after taking as deep a breath as possible), and responsiveness to bronchodilators, which A drug used to open the constricted airways in people with asthma.
These tests are considered reliable measures of lung function and can identify respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Of the 5276 children included in this study, 3233 completed a health assessment at age 6 and were included in the analysis.
The researchers found that 13.7 percent of children were diagnosed with asthma by age six. Babies with food allergies are almost four times more likely to develop asthma by age six than children without allergies.
Children whose food allergies persisted until the age of six were most affected, while the opposite was true for those whose allergic symptoms disappeared. They also found that children with food allergies were more likely to have reduced lung function.
Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that food allergies in infancy, whether they have disappeared or not, are associated with poorer respiratory health in children.
Rachel Peters, lead author of the study, said: “This association is concerning because poor lung development in childhood is associated with health problems in adulthood, including respiratory and heart disease.”
The researchers propose a reason for this association. “Lung development is related to children’s height and weight, and children with food allergies may be shorter and lighter than their peers without allergies,” Peters said. This could explain the link between food allergies and lung function. Food allergies A similar immune response exists in the pathogenesis of asthma.”
They say their findings could help healthcare professionals tailor care for their patients and encourage them to monitor the respiratory health of children with food allergies early in life.
The study was published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
(source:internet, reference only)