Does Avoiding Allergens When Pregnant or Breast Feeding Confer Any Benefit

It has been considered over the last few years to advise mothers during pregnancy and whilst breast feeding to avoid allergenic foods such as milk, nuts, and other risky foods to reduce the risk of childhood allergy. Not for the first time researchers say this practice may be doing more harm than good. Research papers presented at a recent American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology conference suggests that exposure may be better than avoidance.[1]

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Shopping Produces Exposure To BPA Risk

Internet shopping appears to be a safer in terms of BPA exposure risk because you will not touch a thermal till receipt. BPA a controversial chemical already strongly linked to a number of health complaints including heart disease is a component of the paper used to let you know how much the cost of living has gone up again!

Two studies have thrown the controversial compound bisphenol A (BPA) back into the limelight. One study found that the chemical is readily absorbed through the skin,[1] while a second study found that people who routinely contact BPA-enriched till receipts have higher than average levels of the chemical in their bodies.[2] These papers suggest that further management of public exposure to this chemical may be warranted.

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Vegas, Pregnancy, Immunity and Allergy Prevention!

The saying is ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’, or if you are English ‘what happens in Blackpool….’ but the same cannot be said about what happens in utero, as increasing evidence supports the understanding that the maternal nutritional environment and early feeding affects the health of the foetus beyond infancy and into adulthood.[1],[2] An article in Nature’s Mucosal Immunology this month explores some of the key events in foetal and neonatal immune management.[3] It stimulated a revisit to the area of what to consider for parents to be and mums of young children when they ask ‘is there anything I can do to prevent or reduce the risk of allergy or atopy in my child’.

The first moments, weeks and months of life can determine the health outcomes of an individual over the duration of their lifetime and this knowledge represents a significant choice for prospective parents. Fortunately the remarkable adaptability of the immune and central nervous system means that there are numerous opportunities in the early years of life to positively influence health outcomes even if the early stages were less than optimal.

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Is There A Rural/Urban Gradient In The Prevalence Of Eczema? A Systematic Review And What Can Be Done About It?

One in 10 schoolchildren in the western world suffers from eczema and even developing nations have also seen an increasing trend in the last few decades. There are many proposals to explain the increased incidence, one area of relevance is the environmental impact. Falling under the often misused ‘hygeine hypothesis’ title it has been proposed that there is a reflective difference in the gradient between rural and urban children. Implying the environmental impact on the developing immune system of children is different and therefore less protective in the urban setting.

This concept has now been studied in a recent article in the British Journal of Dermatology.[1] By conducting a Medline and Embase data base review studies that compared the incidence between the two environments were reviewed. Some 26 papers were assessed with 19 demonstrating a higher risk for eczema in an urbanised area, of these 11 were regarded as being statistically significant. A further 6 studies showed a lower risk of eczema in an urbanised area, of which just 1 was statistically significant.

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Gut Immune Defect Links Bacteria and Metabolic Syndrome

The connection between gut bacteria and obesity has gained some weight, with new findings demonstrating links in mice among immune-system malfunction, bacterial imbalance and increased appetite.[1]

Mice with altered immune systems developed metabolic disorders and were prone to overeating. When microbes from their stomachs were transplanted into other mice, they also become obese. These latest findings add weight to the growing appreciation about the role of the bacteria in and on our bodies.  We are all outnumbered in terms of human versus bacterial cells and the concept of human and bacteria symbiosis as a super-organism is gaining traction.

Already there have been strong associations between asthma, some cancers, autoimmune conditions and unwanted weight gain.

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Obesity, Probiotics and Pregnancy

There are numerous reasons to lose weight but scientists continue to explore complex connections between weight and health risks. A new study in the journal FASEB using rats as a model found that those mothers overweight during pregnancy passed on cellular programming in utero that made their off spring predisposed to inflammation related diseases including Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Stroke, Heart Disease and others from the day they are born. Even more depressing was the discovery that it made no difference if the off spring maintained normal weight during their life.

To determine this link the scientists gave rats one of three diets; (low-fat, high-saturated fat, and high-trans fat) four weeks prior to mating and throughout pregnancy and lactation. The high-fat diets rendered the mice clinically obese. The science team analysed the brains of the newborn pups after challenge by inflammatory stimuli.

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H1N1 – Questions About Profit Incentive

WHO logoSwine flu has killed 12 799 people worldwide since it first emerged in Mexico in March 2009, the World Health Organisation said on the 8th January 2010.

The latest data posted by the United Nations health agency marked an increase of 579 deaths from the previous update published nine days ago.

The Americas continues to report the biggest number of casualties with at least 6,880 deaths while in Europe, at least 2,554 people have died from the A(H1N1) virus

Is it a False Pandemic Though?

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Novel Influenza H1N1 has Dramatic Risks for Pregnant Women

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Like previous epidemic and pandemic diseases, 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) may pose an increased risk of severe illness in pregnant women. To see if there were clinical experiences that matched this assumption a Californian investigation by their Department of Health reviewed demographic and clinical data reported from April 23 through August 11, 2009, for all H1N1-infected, reproductive-age women who were hospitalised or died. These included non-pregnant women, pregnant women, and postpartum women (those who had delivered ≤2 weeks previously).[1]

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Microbes in Mum – Act as Inhibitors of Allergy in Children

coverA new twist to the hygiene hypothesis shows that allergic risk can also be modulated by microbial exposure before birth. Mice born to dams that were exposed to bacteria during pregnancy were less likely to develop allergic responses than those born to unexposed mothers. And maternal Toll-like receptor (TLR) signals were required for the transmission of protection.

TLRs are a type of pattern recognition receptor (PRR) and recognise molecules that are broadly shared by pathogens but distinguishable from host molecules, collectively referred to as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs).

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DHA & Vit D in Pregnancy, A Key Role for Both

The Safe Foundation for a Healthy Pregnancy

APA logoThe omega-3 DHA is an “essential” fatty acid that the body cannot produce and must be consumed through diet or supplementation. The baby must acquire its DHA from its mother, and she must obtain it by increasing the omega-3s in her daily diet or from daily supplementation.[1] International recommendations suggest that pregnant and nursing women consume 300-600mg of DHA every day to ensure that mothers remain healthy during and after pregnancy, and that their babies have every opportunity for healthy development.[2]

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