5 New Discoveries in Allergy Researchby Allison Tsai Editor
Allergies are a common problem, and though many treatments exist, researchers are always finding new information about what causes allergies and how to treat them better. Here are some new insights into allergies.
C-sections increase risk of allergies in children
A recent study found that children born by C-section were five times more likely to develop allergies than babies born naturally. Researchers looked at 1,258 newborns from 2003 to 2007. The children were evaluated at four intervals throughout the study, and samples were collected from the baby’s umbilical cord and stool.
Race related to childhood allergies
Researchers have found that race and genetics, rather than the environment, play a role in a child’s sensitivity to developing a food allergy. Sensitization means the immune system produces a specific antibody to an allergen, but it doesn’t mean the person will have allergy symptoms. The study showed that African-American children were sensitized to at least one food allergen three times as often as Caucasian kids.
Acupuncture relieves hay fever
A recent study has found that people with hay fever, or seasonal allergies, benefit from acupuncture, plus rescue antihistamine medication. Researchers looked at 422 volunteers with hay fever. The scientists found that those people who underwent real acupuncture had fewer symptoms and required fewer antihistamines.
Asthma drug effectively treats hives
Researchers have discovered that a once-a-month, high-dose of an asthma drug (omalizumab) is a successful treatment for teens and adults with chronic hives, which causes a severe, itchy rash. The therapy was tested on 323 people with chronic hives, and after three months, 53 percent experienced elimination of hives, and 44 percent had no further incidents of hives or itching.
Allergy and asthma affected by geographic location
People who live near the equator are at an increased risk of developing asthma and allergies, according to a recent study. Researchers say the difference is not due to pollen count, but rather higher exposure to UV-B rays is to blame. UV-B rays may be linked to Vitamin D, which can modify the immune system and put people at an elevated risk for asthma and allergies.