Experts Linked Allergies To Hyperactive Immune Response At Birth

A recent discovery might be the key in providing recommendations and solutions on what really is the cause of childhood food allergies. And these findings -- which were published in the journal, "Science Translational Medicine" -- could possibly lead to future treatments.

Australian researchers have discovered an immune pattern of activation at birth that was associated with an increased risk of babies developing food allergies in early life. The discovery was made after the team studied the data from the Barwon Infant Study (BIS) -- an institute that observed more than 1,000 pregnant women and their babies, including their allergy, immunity, neurological and cardiovascular development.

"We found a link between children who had hyperactive immune cells at birth and the development of allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat and other common foods in their first years of life," Professor Len Harrison from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute said. The experts added that infants who are at risk of developing allergies on food have "activated immune cells" at birth.

Associate Professor Peter Vuillermin said that experts still have no idea how food allergy occurred. Hence, the study is notably significant as it showed that babies' immune systems which developed food allergy are in a sense of "primed." More so, it is believed that this could lead the team to better understand how to prevent or minimize the increasing number of childhood food allergies.

The next step for the team is to identify how babies developed hyperactive immune cells. "This study really reiterates how critical it is to look at pregnancy and early life to really understand why chronic immune and inflammatory disorders such as allergies develop in childhood and later on," Professor Harrison added.

The research team was led by Dr Yuxia Zhang and Professor Harrison of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute together with Associate Professor Peter Vuillermin from Barwon Health, Deakin University and Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

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