Allergy test for your newborn

May 24, 2010 by  
Filed under ALLERGIES

When I became mom seven years ago, I was very much concerned about allergies. My family has a history of asthma and I do get hives and hay fever from the time to time though the allergens have never been identified. When I expressed my concerns to our paediatrician, he told me that I have to wait till my kids (I had twins) reach the age of two. By then, it would be evident whether they have allergies. It was a bit frustrating for a mom to play trial and error for two years with food and other stuff. I had to be content with the fact that at least they weren’t allergic to milk – breast milk as well as cow’s milk.

A recent discovery by researchers at the University of Adelaide In Australia may just put mothers’ minds to rest about their babies’ allergies. The researchers at this university developed a simple yet feasible blood test that can predict whether babies are at risk of developing allergies later in the life, a test which can be performed right after delivery.

According to Professor Tony Ferrante, an immunologist from SA Pathology and the Children’s Research Centre at the University of Adelaide:

“A protein in the immune cells of newborns appears to hold the answer as to whether a baby will either be protected, or susceptible to the development of allergies later on.”

The protein kinase C zeta is a cell signalling protein which is present in all babies but whose levels are much lower among those with allergies. The current indicators for allergy risks are family history or the measurement of the antibody IgE. According to the researchers, this protein is far more effective and precise that the currently used indicators. Furthermore, researchers also used this test to find ways and means to reduce the allergy risk. Here is what they found:

“There is evidence that the levels of this important protein increase with fish oil supplementation to protect against allergy development.”

By supplementation, the researchers refer to giving fish oil supplements to pregnant women and those women who are breastfeeding.

Allergies, especially food allergies are on the rise, and allergic reactions can be severe or even life-threatening. For parents as well as paediatricians, identifying allergy risks early on would be a great help in raising a healthy child. This new blood test holds a lot of promise in addressing these concerns and “the new marker may be the most significant breakthrough in allergy testing for some decades.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.