Food allergies more likely to afflict autumn babies

October 20th, 2010 - 4:46 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 20 (IANS) Babies born in autumn are at a higher risk of developing food allergies, a new study says.

Those born in October and November are almost twice as likely to show a form of food intolerance by four years, than those born in June and July.

Some 9.5 percent of autumn babies had an allergic response compared to five percent of summer babies, says a Finnish study.

Autumn babies were three times as likely to have an allergy to milk and eggs as summer babies, reports the Telegraph.

The researchers believe the variation is due to the foetus’s exposure to pollen at a critical time during pregnancy, according to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

At around the end of the third month the foetus begins to produce antibodies.

Pollen appears to trigger the development of a type of antibody known as immunoglobin E, which is well known to be linked to food allergies, according to the study authors.

Kaisa Pyrhönen, of the Institute of Health Sciences at the University of Oulu in Finland, wrote: “Children having their early gestational period in the pollen season for broad-leafed trees are more prone to sensitisation to food allergies than other children.”

Exactly why pollen exposure appears to trigger immunoglobin E remains unknown.

The study looked at 5,920 children born in one region of Finland between April 2001 and March 2006, of which 961 had been tested for food allergies.

Previous research has shown that babies born in autumn or winter are more prone to eczema and wheezing, identified by higher levels of circulating antibodies to allergies in their blood than those born in spring or summer.

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