ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
CANCER
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
CAREGIVING
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Milk Destroys Antioxidant Benefits in Blueberries
Marinades Help Keep Grilled Meat Safe
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Population-Based Strategy Urged to Cut U.S. Obesity Rate
Staying Slim Is Good for the Environment
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
FITNESS
Barefoot Best for Running?
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Biomarkers May Help Measure Rate of Decline in Dementia
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
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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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