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Cord-blood predicts allergies in children

High levels of IgE in the umbilical cord blood of a newborn indicate an increased risk of allergies and asthma during childhood.

Cord-blood predicts allergies in children

High levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) in the umbilical cord blood of a newborn child indicate an increased risk of allergies and asthma during childhood.A previous study showed a link between cord-blood IgE levels and the risk of allergy and asthma in the first year of life. The current analysis of the same group of children extends this observation by showing that an increased risk is still apparent up to 10 years of age. Researchers from the Michigan State University in USA conducted a study involving 1358 children; born between 1989 and 1990 whose cord-blood IgE levels were measured. Skin-prick testing for allergies was performed on 981 of these children at the age of 4 and on 1036 at the age of 10 years.
At 4 years, about 20 per cent of the subjects had allergies and by 10 years of age this had risen to 27 per cent. Elevated cord-blood IgE levels approximately doubled the risk of allergies at both 4 and 10 years of age. Rates of asthma ranged from 10 per cent at age 1 and 2 to 15 per cent at the age of 4 years. Cord-blood IgE levels were not linked to asthma risk at ages 1, 2 or 4, but were associated with a 66 per cent increased risk at the age of 10 years. The lack of significance of cord (blood) IgE as a risk factor for asthma early in life may be due to the gradual development of asthma as the children grow and the existence of a late onset variety of asthma.
Thorax,
October 2004
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