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Nut allergy 'less likely' if mum ate them when pregnant

Mothers who ate nuts during pregnancy were less likely to have children allergic to them. Credit: PA

Mothers who eat nuts during pregnancy may prevent the unborn fetus from developing a nut allergy, a study has shown.

Scientists analysed data on more than 8,000 American children, including 140 who had peanut or tree nut (P/TN) allergies.

Those with mothers who ate nuts five times a week during pregnancy emerged as the lowest P/TN allergy risk.

US lead researcher Dr Michael Young, from Boston Children's Hospital, explained:

"Our study showed increased peanut consumption by pregnant mothers who weren't nut allergic was associated with lower risk of peanut allergy in their offspring.

"Assuming she isn't allergic to peanuts, there's no reason for a woman to avoid peanuts during pregnancy."

Charity: Research could lead to dog allergy treatment

The Charity Allergy UK have said the research into cat allergies could be a "big step forward" in understanding allergic reactions, even suggesting the findings could lead to treatments for dog allergies.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered that a common cause of reactions is found in cat allergen.

Allergy UK's Director of Clinical Services Maureen Jenkins said:

This new information identifying the specific receptor interaction in the immune system could pave the way for treatments for those with persistent disease triggered by cat allergen and, in the future, potentially dog and house dust mite allergen.

– Maureen Jenkins, Allergy UK

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New research reveals how cat allergies are triggered

Cats are among the most common pet allergies. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Scientists have discovered how allergic reactions to cats are sparked, leading to new hopes of a preventative treatment.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge discovered that the common cause of reactions is found in cat allergen, which triggers a large immune response in sufferers including coughing, wheezing and sneezing.

Lead author of the research Dr Clare Bryant said she hoped the research would "lead to new and improved treatments for cat and possibly dog allergy sufferers."

What is asthma?

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways - the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs.

Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways Credit: Clive Gee/PA Archive

When a person with asthma comes into contact with something that irritates their airways, the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airways become narrower and the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell.

Sometimes, sticky mucus or phlegm builds up, which can further narrow the airways.

These reactions cause the airways to become narrower and irritated - making it difficult to breath and leading to symptoms of asthma.

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New research 'could help prevent asthma'

This study is exciting because it opens up interesting new avenues of research that could tell us more about the relative role of genes, environment and gender in terms of asthma risk, and enable us use this information to potentially prevent asthma in the future.

– Leanne Metcalf, assistant director of research and practice at Asthma UK

New research on eczema 'welcome'

This news is very interesting and sheds light on how eczema from parents can ultimately affect their children.

This news will hopefully spur a new wave of research looking into the differences between the sexes and the role in which a child is likely to develop the disease.

Although a large proportion of children will simply 'grow out' of eczema, for many adults, this is not the case, so any new developments in understanding the disease are most welcome.

– Bevis Man, from the British Skin Foundation charity

New findings on allergies 'groundbreaking'

With these groundbreaking findings, we should see a change in the way we assess a child's risk of disease, asking girls for the allergy history of their mother and boys for that of their father.

This work also opens up novel areas for further research in the genetics of allergy as to why this sex dependent effect occurs and, if we can find the reason, we can try to find a way of preventing sex-specific disease.

– Professor Hasan Arshad, Southampton General Hospital

Children 'risk asthma' if parent of same sex has it

  • 1,456 patients were recruited from birth 23 years ago.
  • Research found that the risk of asthma in boys was only increased if their fathers suffered from the condition.
  • However, if mothers had asthma, it doubled the risk in their daughters but not sons.
  • Research also showed maternal eczema led to a 50% increased risk of eczema in girls, while paternal eczema did the same for boys.
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