When it comes to certain allergies, birth order matters

New research presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) has established that birth order is significant in the prevalence of certain allergies. Using the data of 13,000 children between the ages of seven and 15, Dr Takashi Kusunoki, PhD, the first author of the study, and colleagues found that there was no significant difference in the prevalence of asthma or atopic dermatitis with regards to birth order. However the prevalence of rhinitis, conjunctivitis and food allergy decreased as birth order increased, meaning that the second and third born children had less incidence of these particular allergic diseases. For example, the incidence of food allergy was 4% in first borns, 3.5% in second borns and 2.6% in children born later. This has lead the researchers to hypothesise that this effect may have a prenatal origin, but that it needs further evaluation to determine the pre-, peri- and post-natal circumstances and development of allergic diseases.

Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

First published in March 2011

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