ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
CANCER
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
CAREGIVING
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
Dementia Underestimated in Developing Countries
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
FITNESS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Vitamin D Best Taken With Largest Meal of Day, Study Finds
Swine Flu May Pose Problems for Pregnant Women
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
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Just Say No to Nuts During Pregnancy

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- If you've got a strong family history of food allergies or allergic asthma, you might want to think twice before munching a handful of nuts when you're pregnant.

That's because recent research has found that regular consumption of nut products during pregnancy raises the odds of having a child with asthma symptoms by nearly 50 percent.

The study, published in the July 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found "consistent positive associations between maternal nut product consumption, such as peanut butter, during pregnancy and wheeze, dyspnea (shortness of breath), steroid use, doctor-diagnosed asthma and persistent wheeze in children from 1 to 8 years of age," said study author Saskia Willers, a doctoral candidate at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

As many as 4 percent of American children have food allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Slightly more than 1 percent of people in the United States -- or about 3 million -- are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts.

Most allergies develop as a result of repeated "sensitization" to an allergen in susceptible individuals, and each time the body is exposed to the allergen, the reactions tend to increase. It's already recommended that children under 3 not be given nuts or nut products, because their immune systems are still developing and may be more susceptible to allergens, explained Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, chief of allergy and immunology at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit.

"If you say avoid nuts in children, and for nursing mothers because peanut protein can be transferred through milk, do we need to take it a step further and limit nuts during pregnancy?" said Appleyard.

To try to answer that question, Willers and her colleagues reviewed information gathered from interviews of more than 4,000 pregnant women -- 1,327 with a history of allergy or asthma and 2,819 with no such history. The women were asked about their diets, and their children were followed from birth to 8 years of age to assess whether or not diet impacted the risk of developing asthma.

They found no association between maternal consumption of vegetables, fish, eggs, milk or milk products and the development of asthma, according to the study. The researchers also found no association between rare or regular consumption of nuts and the development of asthma symptoms.

However, daily consumption of nut products increased the odds that a child would have wheezing by 42 percent, shortness of breath by 58 percent and steroid use to ease asthma symptoms by 62 percent, compared to children born to mothers who rarely consumed nuts. Overall, the odds of developing asthma symptoms for a child whose mother ate nuts daily were 47 percent higher, according to the study.

But, Willers said, it's too soon to recommend a complete nut ban during pregnancy. "The associations we found are pretty strong, only we are the first to find these effects, so they need to be confirmed by other studies before recommending the avoidance of peanuts and nuts during pregnancy," she said.

Appleyard agreed. "This subject definitely needs further investigation. And, if you can pass on the antibodies that cause nut allergy from mother to fetus, why not other allergies as well?" she asked.

However, she did suggest that women with a strong family history of food allergy may want to limit the amount of nut products they consume during pregnancy.

More information

To learn more about peanut allergy, visit the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.



SOURCES: Saskia Willers, M.Sc., doctoral candidate, Utrecht University, the Netherlands; Jennifer Appleyard, M.D., chief, allergy and immunology, St. John Hospital and Medical Center, Detroit; July 15, 2008, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Last Updated: July 15, 2008

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