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3X more allergy to peanuts if child born with low UV – Feb 2011

Season of birth and childhood food allergy in Australia.

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011 Feb 22. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01151.x.
Mullins RJ, Clark S, Katelaris C, Smith V, Solley G, Camargo Jr CA.
John James Medical Centre, Deakin, ACT, Australia Medical School, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia Clinical Immunology,
Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia Division of General Internal Medicine,
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia Rose Cottage Medical Centre, Launceston,
Tasmania, Australia Watkins Medical Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Department of Emergency Medicine, and Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology,
Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Background:? Recent studies suggest a possible role for low ultraviolet radiation exposure and low vitamin D status as a risk factor for food allergy. We hypothesized that children born in autumn/winter months (less sun exposure) might have higher food allergy rates than those born in spring/summer.

Methods:? We compared IgE-mediated food allergy rates by season of birth in 835 children aged 0-4?yr assessed 1995-2009 in a specialist referral clinic, using population births as controls. To address potential concerns about generalizability, we also examined national prescriptions for adrenaline autoinjectors (2007) and infant hypoallergenic formula (2006-2007).

Results:? Although live births in the general ACT population showed no seasonal pattern (50% autumn/winter vs. 50% spring/summer), autumn/winter births were more common than spring/summer births among food allergy patients (57% vs. 43%; p?<?0.001). The same seasonal pattern was observed with peanut (60% vs. 40%; p?<?0.001) and egg (58% vs. 42%; p?=?0.003). Regional UVR intensity was correlated with relative rate of overall food allergy (?, -1.83; p?=?0.05) and peanut allergy (?, -3.27; p?=?0.01). National data showed that autumn/winter births also were more common among children prescribed EpiPens (54% vs. 46%; p?<?0.001) and infant hypoallergenic formula (54% vs. 46%; p?<?0.001).

Conclusions:? The significantly higher rates of food allergy in children born autumn/winter (compared to spring/summer), the relationship between relative food allergy rates and monthly UVR, combined with national adrenaline autoinjector and infant hypoallergenic formula prescription data, suggest that ultraviolet light exposure/vitamin D status may be one of many potential factors contributing to childhood food allergy pathogenesis.


Article by the Australian Allergy Center

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