Can We Prevent Food Allergy by Manipulating the Timing of Food Exposure?
Division of Allergy and Immunology and Center for Immunology and Microbial Diseases, Albany Medical College, 47 New Scotland Avenue MC # 151, Albany, NY 12208, USA.Immunology and allergy clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 1.82). 02/2012; 32(1):51-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.iac.2011.11.007
Prevention of food allergies by maternal and infant feeding practices serves as a simple, inexpensive approach to address the growing number of subjects with food allergies in comparison with any emerging interventional therapies for existing food allergies, such as oral immunotherapy. This article provides a careful evaluation of the rationale and existing data on the effect of timing of the introduction of food allergens (during pregnancy, lactation, and early childhood) on the development of specific food allergies.
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ABSTRACT: There is an increasing awareness of food allergies in the community. Dermatologists frequently see patients with atopic eczema, where parents are extremely concerned about the role of food allergy. Advice given to parents regarding the timing of introduction of solid foods has changed markedly over the past decade. Whereas previous advice advocated delaying the introduction of solid foods until the infant's gastrointestinal system had matured, recent studies suggest that the introduction of solids from around 4 to 6 months may actually prevent the development of allergies. Studies on maternal dietary restrictions during pregnancy and lactation have led researchers to believe that antigen avoidance does not play a significant role in the prevention of atopic disease. Breastfeeding exclusively for 4 to 6 months has multiple benefits for mother and child, however, it does not convincingly prevent food allergies or decrease atopic eczema. New evidence suggests that the use of hydrolysed formulas does not delay or prevent atopic eczema or food allergy. This article aims to highlight current evidence and provide an update for dermatologists on the role of food exposure in the development of atopic disease, namely atopic eczema.
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