Two factors thought to influence the risk of asthma are the promoting effect of sensitization to house dust mites and the preventive effect of increased omega-3 fatty acids. Although house dust mite allergen avoidance has been used as a preventive strategy in several trials, the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in the primary prevention of asthma and allergic disease is not known.
To measure the effects of dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and house dust mite allergen avoidance in children with a family history of asthma.
A total of 616 children at high risk of asthma were enrolled antenatally in a randomized controlled trial, and 526 children remained in the trial at age 3 years. The outcomes were symptoms of allergic disease and allergen sensitization.
There was a significant 10.0% (95% CI, 3.7-16.4) reduction in the prevalence of cough in atopic children in the active diet group ( P=.003; number needed to treat, 10) but a negligible 1.1% (95% CI, -7.1 to 9.5) reduction cough among nonatopic children. There was a 7.2% (95% CI, 10.11-14.3) reduction in sensitization to house dust mite in the active allergen avoidance group ( P=.05; number needed to treat, 14). No significant differences in wheeze were found with either intervention.
These results suggest that our interventions, designed to be used in simple public health campaigns, may have a role in preventing the development of allergic sensitization and airways disease in early childhood. This offers the prospect of reducing allergic disease in later life.
"Maternal fish oil supplementation in pregnancy has been shown to alter neonatal T-cell cytokine production  and to reduce asthma risk in the offspring . However, supplementation of infants with fish oil seems not to reduce allergic sensitisation or asthma  , although studies of asthma-related outcomes in older children are equivocal  . As allergic sensitisation occurs early in life, exposures at this time are most likely to influence immune development. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variation in exposure to polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) might influence the development of atopy, asthma, and wheeze. This study aimed to determine whether differences in PUFA concentrations in maternal plasma phosphatidylcholine are associated with the risk of childhood wheeze or atopy. For 865 term-born children, we measured phosphatidylcholine fatty acid composition in maternal plasma collected at 34 weeks' gestation. Wheezing was classified using questionnaires at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months and 6 years. At age of 6 years, the children underwent skin prick testing, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) measurement, and spirometry. Maternal n-6 fatty acids and the ratio of n-3 to n-6 fatty acids were not associated with childhood wheeze. However, higher maternal eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and total n-3 fatty acids were associated with reduced risk of non-atopic persistent/late wheeze (RR 0.57, 0.67 and 0.69, resp. P = 0.01, 0.015, and 0.021, resp.). Maternal arachidonic acid was positively associated with FENO (P = 0.024). A higher ratio of linoleic acid to its unsaturated metabolic products was associated with reduced risk of skin sensitisation (RR 0.82, P = 0.013). These associations provide some support for the hypothesis that variation in exposure to n-6 and n-3 fatty acids during pregnancy influences the risk of childhood wheeze and atopy.
"We measured atopy by using skin prick tests to inhalant allergens Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (HDM), Dermatophagoides farina (also HDM), cockroach, cat, Alternaria, Aspergillus, rye grass, and a grass mix (Hollister- Stier, Spokane, WA, USA), as previously described (Peat et al. 2004). Glycerol and histamine phosphate 10 mg/mL were used as negative and positive controls, respectively. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are long-standing concerns about adverse effects of gas appliances on respiratory health. However, the potential adverse effect of low-NOx (nitrogen oxide) unflued gas heaters on children's health has not been assessed.
Our goal was to compare the respiratory health effects and air quality consequences of exposure to low-NOx unflued gas heaters with exposure to non-indoor-air-emitting flued gas heaters in school classrooms.
We conducted a double-blind, cluster-randomized, crossover study in 400 primary school students attending 22 schools in New South Wales, Australia. Children measured their lung function and recorded symptoms and medication use twice daily. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and formaldehyde concentrations were measured in classrooms using passive diffusion badges.
NO2 concentrations were, on average, 1.8 times higher [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.6-2.1] and formaldehyde concentrations were, on average, 9.4 ppb higher (95% CI, 5.7-13.1) during exposure to unflued gas versus flued gas heaters. Exposure to the unflued gas heaters was associated with increased cough reported in the evening [odds ratio (OR) = 1.16; 95% CI, 1.01-1.34] and wheeze reported in the morning (OR = 1.38; 95% CI, 1.04-1.83). The association with wheeze was greater in atopic subjects. There was no evidence of an adverse effect on lung function.
We conclude that classroom exposure to low-NOx unflued gas heaters causes increased respiratory symptoms, particularly in atopic children, but is not associated with significant decrements in lung function. It is important to seek alternative sources of heating that do not have adverse effects on health.
Environmental Health Perspectives 10/2010; 118(10):1476-82. DOI:10.1289/ehp.1002186 · 7.98 Impact Factor
"Sylibin, a naturally occurring flavonoid, was shown to possess antiallergic activities that could be ascribed to a membrane-stabilizing activity on human basophils . Dietary supplementation with fish oil rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids seems to have a role in preventing the development of allergic sensitization and airways disease  and in attenuating allergen-induced asthmatic reactions . Pantescal ® (Bionap, Italy) is a new nutraceutical ingredient contained in different food supplements available on the European and USA markets which are recognized for their beneficial effects in relieving allergic symptoms. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Allergic diseases represent conditions affecting millions of individuals across the world. The objective of this study was to investigate the potential anti-allergic effects of a new nutraceutical ingredient, Pantescal (Bionap, Italy), contained in different food supplements. Pantescal is a mixture of plant extracts, such as Capparis spinosa, Olea europaea, Panax Ginseng and Ribes nigrum. The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled design. 60 patients allergic to common aeroallergens were chosen. Allergic patients were divided into two groups: one group was supplemented by Pantescal and the other, using a placebo formulation. Two in vitro tests were performed on blood samples taken from patients before and at 2 h, 2, 3 and 10 days after supplementation: cellular antigen stimulation test (CAST) was used to analyze the amount of sulphidoleukotrienes (SLT) production and flow-cytometric antigen stimulation test (FAST) to measure expression of basophil degranulation marker (CD63) was also performed. CAST showed that after 2 and 3 days, a slight decrease of SLT production was evident but only after 10 days did it become significant with a percentage of inhibition (P.I)=43.3%. FAST revealed that there were no statistical differences for the first 2 days after supplementation although there was an inhibitory trend in the supplemented patients. CD63 expression was significantly reduced after 10 days (P.I.=64.8%). This study suggests that Pantescal is effective in reducing allergic biomarkers such as CD63 protein and SLT in atopic subjects. The higher inhibitory effect on CD63 expression compared to SLT production allows us to hypothesize cell membrane stabilization as the main potential mechanism to explain the observed Pantescal protective effects.
International Immunopharmacology 10/2008; 8(13-14):1781-6. DOI:10.1016/j.intimp.2008.08.015 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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