Gender link to children’s allergies
THE risk of a child developing an allergic disease is doubled if a parent of the same sex has suffered from such a condition.
Professor Hasan Arshad, a consultant in immunology at Southampton General Hospital, found that allergies such as asthma and eczema were gender-related and not simply hereditary.
He said: “We have known for decades allergy runs in the family, and many thought that maternal effect was greater than paternal effect due to a mothers’ closeness to her child. But we have discovered the inheritance is from mother to daughter and father to son.”
His team assessed 1,456 patients, recruited from birth 23 years ago, and found the risk of asthma in boys was only increased if their fathers suffered from the condition while, if mothers had asthma, it doubled the risk in their daughters but not sons.
The research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, also showed maternal eczema led to a 50 per cent increased risk of eczema in girls, while paternal eczema did the same for boys.
The team hopes the findings will change the method experts use to assess the risk to children contracting allergies.
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