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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Atopy vs Peanut Butter

We have wondered if we in essence caused our daughter's peanut allergy. It would be awful if we did. My wife ate peanut butter frequently during her pregnancy and we have wondered if somehow this was linked. New research seems to exonerate us.

The UK has long been a leader in peanut allergy and anaphylaxis awareness. As a result, 65% of the women surveyed avoided peanuts during pregnancy even though only a fraction had a history of allergy. The other interesting stat is that of the 13 babies (2%) that developed a peanut allergy by the time they were two, only 3 of the mothers ate peanuts during pregnancy but 11 had a history of atopy.

It seems that peanut allergy is more closely linked to atopy than to gestational peanut consumption. My wife's eczema (and childhood anaphylaxis to penicillin) thus appears to have contributed more to the peanut allergy than did peanut butter on her toast while pregnant.

I learned something new tonight ... I did not realize that eczema is also an IgE-related response. It makes sense as I had read before that eczema is a precursor to peanut allergy but I did not realize that they were effectively a similar reaction.

So far our second daughter does not appear to have eczema ... let's hope for the best!

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