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.

Related Articles


"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 November 28, 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 November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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