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Mother's prenatal stress predisposes their babies to asthma and allergy
Date:5/18/2008

body of evidence that links maternal stress such as that precipitated by financial problems or relationship issues, to changes in childrens developing immune systems, even during pregnancy, said Dr. Wright. This further supports the notion that stress can be thought of as a social pollutant that, when breathed into the body, may influence the bodys immune response similar to the effects of physical pollutants like allergens, thus adding to their effects.

While these findings are important, Dr. Wright noted that only with continued follow-up of these children will they know if these effects will result in increased asthma risk. Moreover, it will be important to replicate these findings in larger populations to give a clearer picture of the relationship between prenatal maternal stress, allergen exposure and subsequent childhood asthma development.

It is notable that these findings were obtained in a U.S. urban population, which may be more likely to be simultaneously exposed to multiple factors, including stress and indoor allergens. More studies like this may help explain why asthma occurs more frequently in these high-risk groups, said Junenette Peters, Sc.D., postdoctoral research fellow who presented these results.

In the meantime, the findings suggest that when such exposuresprenatal stress, allergen exposure occur together, there is a magnified increase in risk, which supports the assessment of maternal psychological well-being along with other environmental factors as part of a prenatal health program.


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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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