ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
CAREGIVING
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
Trans Fat Labeling Gets Tricky
Antioxidants Abound in Cereals, Popcorn, Whole-Grain Snacks
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Pesticides Linked to Parkinson's
EYE CARE, VISION
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
FITNESS
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Man Dies of Brain Inflammation Caused by Deer Tick Virus
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Autumn Chores Often Hazardous
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
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Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Babies who start eating fish before the age of 9 months have a lower risk of developing eczema, new research shows.

The study, reported in a recent issue of the Archives of Disease in Childhood also found that one in five infants suffer from the skin condition in western Sweden.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a recommendation in 2000 for children at risk for eczema that parents hold off on various foods until they were older, including eliminating fish until they turned 3, said Dr. Sandra McMahan, an assistant professor of internal medicine with the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and an allergist/immunologist at Scott & White.

In 2008, the academy reversed many of those recommendations, saying that children as young as 4 months to 6 months could have various foods, including fish, as there was no convincing evidence of harm.

Now it appears fish might actually make a positive difference.

"There has been a been a fear of early fish introduction, especially in infants with a family history of allergic disease," said study author Dr. Bernt Alm, a pediatrician with The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden. "We have been afraid that this could lead to eczema and other allergic diseases. With this new knowledge, it is possible to relieve the parents from the burden of this fear," Alm said.

The proportion of allergic disease, including atopic eczema, has increased dramatically in developed countries in recent years. Although heredity is a strong factor in the development of such conditions, environmental and dietary factors also play a role.

These findings line up with previous research showing that mothers who fill up on apples and fish during pregnancy might protect their children from developing asthma and allergic diseases.

The authors of this study relied on medical records, as well as questionnaires filled out by parents when their children were 6 months of age and 1 year. All children were born in western Sweden in 2003.

By 12 months of age, almost 21 percent of infants had eczema or had experienced it previously. The average age of onset was 4 months.

The strongest risk factor was a family history, particularly children of mothers and siblings who had had eczema.

Infants who started eating fish before 9 months of age, however, were 25 percent less likely to be affected. Children who lived in a household with a bird were also less likely to develop eczema, possibly because birds are usually kept inside, exposing children continuously to endotoxin, toxins found inside pathogens.

The type of fish consumed had no effect on the risk of developing eczema, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids, as had been proposed earlier, had nothing to do with the benefit.

Breast-feeding, the age at which dairy products were included in the diet, and having a furry pet were neutral in their effect.

Gerber doesn't produce any fish preparations, so Alm suggested that fish be slowly introduced together with other solids, preferably in puree form at about 5 months to 6 months of age.

McMahan sees many ethnic parents, such as the Vietnamese, give fish early in a mush or stew to their children.

Given that both U.S. and European recommendations on the subject have recently been revised, added McMahan, "this gives researchers a really good opportunity to start following this and see if makes a difference or not."

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more on eczema in children.



SOURCES: Bernt Alm, M.D., Ph.D., pediatrician, The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; Sandra McMahan, M.D., assistant professor, internal medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and allergist/immunologist, Scott & White; Aug. 15, 2008, Archives of Disease in Childhood

Last Updated: Sept. 26, 2008

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