Birth Date Possible Risk Factor for Allergic Disease Research Paper

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Allergy Disease and Birth Date

This study seeks to determine the link between date of birth, exposure to allergens before birth and the sensitization among children. The risk is greater among certain groups of individuals, such as children. The present study found that children develop allergic reaction mostly to pollen. Previous researches showed that sensitization is highest if conception occurs in the first few months of the year when the level of pollen is highest. It was also found that prenatal exposure to household pets, diesel exhaust and led compound the risk.

Allergic disease is the immune system's reaction to a foreign substance (Mayo Clinic

Staff, 2011). Examples of foreign substances are pollen, dust, bee venom, medications, food and pet dander. That reaction produces antibodies to protect against invasion and infection. The immune system reacts the same way towards harmful and harmless invaders. This manifests as inflammation of the skin, sinuses, airways or any part of the digestive system. Severity of reaction varies individually from minor irritation to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Allergic disease is incurable but symptoms can be relieved. The risk of developing the disease is greater among those with a family history, among children, and asthmatic individuals (Mayo Clinic Staff).

Materials and Method

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A cohort study recently conducted found that children develop allergic reaction mostly to pollen. The respondents were 113 volunteer patients at the pediatric clinic of the Department of Immuno-Allergology Nurses County Emergency Hospital in Romania. They were classified into two groups, those born in 2001 and those in 2006. They were exposed to 20 allergens, including milk, horse, eggs, mold, pollen, peanuts and pets, such as cats and dogs. The ImmunoCAP-specific blood test was used to measure the reactions. Those exposed to pollen registered the highest at scores of 6.

Literature Review

Research Paper on Birth Date Possible Risk Factor for Allergic Disease Assignment

Language Grouping as Major Risk Factor

Results of a questionnaire showed that language grouping is a more important risk factor than geographic latitude, birth month or exposure in developing allergic disease (Matthias et al., 2005). The questionnaire was distributed to more than 200,000 adult participants with allergic rhinitis who mostly resided in Europe. Incidence appeared to decrease with latitude, but not the season, birth month, the first exposure or early infections. Climate or environmental UV exposure by latitude may have certain effects, but language grouping was the more important factor. This finding suggested the influence of still-unknown genetic or cultural risk factors. Family history of allergic rhinitis among language groups explains high incidence more than geographical latitude and other factors do (Matthias et al.).

Birth Timing

A recent population-based cohort study, conducted in Finland, suggested early pregnancy sensitizes offspring to food allergens more than other children born at other times (Pyrhonen et al., 2010). It surveyed 5,920 children who were born between 2001 and 2006 and lived in the South Kareha province during the survey. The participating children were positive for food allergy tests or food-specific immunoglobulin E tests. The study found that those up to age and were born in October to November scored highest in the tests at 10%. Those born in June and July scored lowest at 5%. Ranking among the highest were those whose 11th gestational week occurred in April to May at 11%. The level of birch and alder pollen is highest in these months. Proportionately, those whose 11th gestational week occurred in December to January had the lowest scores at 6%. The study concludes that children whose gestational period fall during the pollen season for broad-leafed trees become sensitized to food allergens more than other children whose gestational period fall outside this period (Pyrhonen et al.). Interpreting, this suggested that children conceived within the first few months of the year tend to develop food allergy (Fletcher, 2006; Adams, 2011; Campbell, 2010). The ratio is 1 in 10 for those conceived in February and March as compared with 1 in 16 for children conceived in October or November. Their exposure to pollen during the fetal stage is seen as the link to childhood conditions like eczema. Another study, also in Finland, bolstered this finding. This study conducted at the Oulu University revealed that conception in spring later induces food allergies three times more than if the conception occurs in autumn. By the time these children reach age 4, one out of 5 shall have developed a food allergy (Fletcher, Adams, Campbell).

This finding bolsters that of a previous one, conducted in Sweden, the Netherlands and Japan (Thomas, 2010). It found higher concentrations of food IgE antibodies in children born in autumn than those in spring or summer months. The researchers, however, alluded the cause to other factors, such as viral infections the lack of Vitamin D in those months. These can influence immunologic development, according to them (Thomas).

Prenatal Exposure to Allergens

Household Pets. Allergy disease may also be triggered by prenatal exposure to certain allergens. These allergens include mites in household pets, according to a study, which compared households with pets and those without (Schonberger et al., 2005; Aichbhaumik et al., 2003). The presence of cats or dogs during pregnancy enhances lower cord blood IgE than in households without these pets. It suggests that exposure helps develop immunity and protects the person even before birth (Shonberger et al., Aichbhaumik et al.).

Diesel Exhaust. Exposure to fumigants during pregnancy appears to work the same protective way, according to another study (Lin et al., 2010). Exposure to diesel exhaust, for example, seems to provide protection from systemic and breathing allergic reactions. Prenatal exposure to diesel exhaust particle reduces IgE and suppresses breathing eosinophilia among adults (Lin et al.).

Lead. A Polish study found that prenatal exposure to low levels of lead raises the risk of allergies in childhood (Jedrycyhowski et al., 2003). Findings suggest that lead increases sensitivity to allergens by affecting the brain. Consequently, it develops behavioral effects, including allergies and asthma, although not yet clearly understood. The finding supports those of earlier studies on the role of lead in affecting immune system function. It also links allergic disease to lead but not to mercury or other chemicals measured in the study (Jedrycyhowski et al.).

Results and Discussion

The risk of developing allergic disease is greater in certain groups, such as children. The present cohort study conducted among 113 Romanian volunteers at the pediatric clinic of an emergency country hospital showed that the children reacted mostly to pollen. Two cohort studies, both conducted in Finland, found that children conceived in the first few months tend to develop allergies after birth than those born in later months. The studies attribute the observation to the highest level of pollen in April and May during the 11th gestational weeks of pregnancy. Other studies revealed that prenatal exposure to household pets, diesel exhaust and led also enhances the development of allergies after birth. On the other hand, the results of a questionnaire distributed to 20,000 adult respondents, mostly in Europe, revealed that language grouping, rather than geographic latitude or birth timing, is the major risk factor in developing allergic disease.

Conclusion

The result of the present study supports the findings of previous studies that sensitization to certain allergens tends to occur during the 11th gestational week when the level of pollen is highest. This enhances the development of allergic disease among children. Prenatal exposure to household pets, diesel exhaust and led also enhances the development of reactions after birth.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adams, S. (2011). Autumn babies "more likely to have food allergies. The Telegraph:

Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved on June 4, 2011 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/8073048/Autumn-babies-more-likely-to-have-food-allergies, html

Aichbhaumik N. et al. (2008). Prenatal exposure to household pets influences fetal immunoglobulin E. production. Clinical & Experimental Allergy: PubMed. Retrieved on June 5, 2011 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18702655

Campbell, D. (2010). Chance of developing allergies linked to moth of conception.

Guardian co. uk: Guardian News and Media Limited.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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