Would you want to know if your child has a preexisting allergy?
by Suzee Skwiot
If you worry about food allergies, listen up. In a new study coming out of Australia, researchers have discovered that babies might develop allergies before they're even born.
After examining blood samples from 12 children with allergies, doctors from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne were able to see that certain babies were actually born with significant genetic differences, meaning that they didn't develop them after birth.
The report is bringing up the age-old nature vs. nurture battle. By studying the babies' epigenetics (the change in gene expression when they're reacting to different environmental factors), the doctors were able to narrow down the origin of their allergic genes. And it's causing plenty of questions for parents.
So far, doctors have only studied 12 babies, but they do plan to expand the research and perform the study on 5,000 subjects to get a more comprehensive idea of the real scale of the genes.
To get a better idea of what this could means for moms, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) recommends that parents introduce allergenic foods to their baby between 4 and 6 months of age, and only after solid foods have been fed and ingested properly. Then, if baby does not have a reaction to the new foods, the amounts can be increased every three to five days.
But each time parents start a new food, there's a level of worry and risk. What if baby doesn't like it? Or worse, what if they get sick?
Keeping that in mind, if this study holds true, and if further studies confirm these initial results, then it could be great news for moms. No more worrying about what's going to happen when you introduce different foods, because doctors can tell you from the start what your baby is allergic to.
And better yet, if they can figure out the genes in utero, maybe they can actually prevent food allergies one of these days. Hey, here's hoping.
Would you want these gene tests performed on your child? Would you rather know if your child has a preexisting allergy?