Allergies and wheezing illnesses in childhood may be determined in the womb


New research funded by the Medical Research Council and the British Lung Foundation reveals that foetuses that develop quickly in early pregnancy and more slowly in later pregnancy are likely to develop allergies in childhood.

Studying 1,500 three year-olds, the team at Southampton General Hospital discovered evidence of sensitivity to common allergens in 27% of children who had developed faster early on in the womb, compared to those who had a slower early growth. The children are part of the Southampton Women’s Survey, the largest UK study of women and their offspring.

Says Keith Godfrey, Professor of Epidemiology and Human Development at the University of Southampton and Deputy Director of the NIHR Nutrition Biomedical Research Unit at Southampton General Hospital, “…this research provides some of the most direct evidence yet that changes in how the baby's immune system and lungs develops before birth can predispose them to some of the commonest childhood illnesses."

Paper: “Patterns of fetal and infant growth are related to atrophy and wheezing disorders at age 3.” Katharine Pike, Sarah Crozier, Jane Lucas, Hazel Inskip, Sian Robinson, The Southampton Women’s Survey Group, Graham Roberts, Keith Godfrey. Published in Thorax: DOI: 10.1136/thx.2010.134742

Source: Southampton University

Click here for more research on the possible causes of asthma


First Published in 2010



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