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Prenatal pet exposure, delivery mode, race are key factors in early allergy risk
Date:8/8/2011

DETROIT Prenatal pet exposure, a mother's delivery mode and race are influential factors in a child's risk of developing allergies by age 2, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

In a study believed to be the first of its kind, Henry Ford researchers found that babies who have indoor prenatal pet exposure have a pattern of lower levels of the antibody Immunoglobulin E, or IgE, between birth and age 2. IgE is linked to the development of allergies and asthma.

Key findings:

  • IgE levels were 28 percent lower during infancy in babies who had indoor prenatal pet exposure compared to babies from pet-free homes.

  • IgE levels were 16 percent lower in infants who had indoor prenatal pet exposure and were born vaginally compared to 43 percent in infants who had indoor prenatal pet exposure and were born by cesarean section.

  • IgE levels were 33 percent lower in infants who had indoor prenatal pet exposure and were either European, Asian or Middle Eastern descent compared to compared to 10 percent lower in infants who had indoor prenatal pet exposure and were African-American.

The findings are published online today at the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at http://www.jacionline.org/inpress

"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" says Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, chair of Henry Ford's Department of Public Health Sciences and senior author of the study.

Dr. Johnson says the findings support the so-called hygiene hypothesis, which theorizes that early childhood exposure to infectious agents affects the immune system's development and onset of allergies and asthma.

Prior published research by Henry Ford's Department of Public Health Sciences has shown that pet exp
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Contact: David Olejarz
dolejar1@hfhs.org
313-874-4094
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2

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