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Stress during childhood increases the risk of allergies
Date:6/18/2008

This release is available in German.

Leipzig. Moving house or the separation of parents can significantly increase the risk of children developing allergies later on. These are the results from a long-term study correlating life-style, immune system development and allergies, led by the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig (UFZ), the Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen and the "Institut fr Umweltmedizinische Forschung" (IUF) in Duesseldorf. The researchers had examined blood samples taken from 234 six-year old children and discovered increased blood concentrations of the stress-related peptide VIP (vasoactive intestinal polypeptide) in connection with moving house or the separation of parents. The neuropeptide VIP could take on a mediator role between stress events in life and the regulation of immune responses, researchers write in the scientific journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. The fact that stress events can have an influence on the development of allergies has been known for a while. The mechanisms behind this however remained unexplained for a long time. In the study that has now been published, stress events were investigated for the first time during early childhood within a large epidemiological study using immune and stress markers.

Stress events during childhood are increasingly suspected of playing a role in the later development of asthma, allergic skin disorders, or allergic sensitisations. Dramatic life events like the death of a family member, serious illnesses of a family member or the separation of parents, but also harmless events like for example moving house are suspected of increasing the risk of allergies for the children affected. The immune system obviously plays a mediator role between stress on the one hand and allergies on the other. Since these mechanisms had hardly been understood before, researchers attem
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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