Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mother's Prenatal Stress Predisposes Their Babies To Asthma And Allergy, Study Shows

Date:
May 19, 2008
Source:
American Thoracic Society
Summary:
Women who are stressed during pregnancy may pass some of that frazzlement to their fetuses in the form of increased sensitivity to allergen exposure and possibly future asthma risk, according to new research from Harvard Medical School.

Women who are stressed during pregnancy may pass some of that frazzlement to their fetuses in the form of increased sensitivity to allergen exposure and possibly future asthma risk, according to researchers from Harvard Medical School who presented their findings at the American Thoracic Society's 2008 International Conference in Toronto on May 18.

"While predisposition to asthma may be, in part, set at birth, the factors that may determine this are not strictly genetic. Certain substances in the environment that cause allergies, such as dust mites, can increase a child's chance of developing asthma and the effects may begin before birth," said Rosalind J. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Mother's stress during pregnancy can also influence the babies developing immune system. While animal studies suggest that the combination of stress and allergen exposure during pregnancy may magnify the effects on the immune system, this is the first human study to examine this directly. The researchers analyzed levels of maternal stress and mother's exposure to dust mite allergen in their homes while pregnant with respect to cord blood IgE expression--a marker of the child's immune response at birth-- in 387 infants enrolled in the Asthma Coalition on Community, Environment, and Social Stress (ACCESS) project in Boston.

They found increased levels of IgE expression in cord blood among infants whose mothers experienced higher level stress even when exposed to relatively low levels of dust mite during pregnancy. This indicates that mother's stress during pregnancy magnified the effect of dust exposure on the child's immune system such that the child's immune response at birth may be altered even with lower levels of dust exposure in the home. The results held true regardless of the mother's race, class, education or smoking history.

"This research adds to a growing body of evidence that links maternal stress such as that precipitated by financial problems or relationship issues, to changes in children's developing immune systems, even during pregnancy," said Dr. Wright. "This further supports the notion that stress can be thought of as a social pollutant that, when 'breathed' into the body, may influence the body's immune response similar to the effects of physical pollutants like allergens, thus adding to their effects."

While these findings are important, Dr. Wright noted that only with continued follow-up of these children will they know if these effects will result in increased asthma risk. Moreover, it will be important to replicate these findings in larger populations to give a clearer picture of the relationship between prenatal maternal stress, allergen exposure and subsequent childhood asthma development.

"It is notable that these findings were obtained in a U.S. urban population, which may be more likely to be simultaneously exposed to multiple factors, including stress and indoor allergens. More studies like this may help explain why asthma occurs more frequently in these high-risk groups," said Junenette Peters, Sc.D., postdoctoral research fellow who presented these results.

In the meantime, the findings suggest that when such exposures--prenatal stress, allergen exposure-- occur together, there is a magnified increase in risk, which supports the assessment of maternal psychological well-being along with other environmental factors as part of a prenatal health program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Thoracic Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Thoracic Society. "Mother's Prenatal Stress Predisposes Their Babies To Asthma And Allergy, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080518122143.htm>.
American Thoracic Society. (2008, May 19). Mother's Prenatal Stress Predisposes Their Babies To Asthma And Allergy, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080518122143.htm
American Thoracic Society. "Mother's Prenatal Stress Predisposes Their Babies To Asthma And Allergy, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080518122143.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins