Archive for April, 2015

Hygiene Hypothesis & Dishwashing

The Hygiene Hypothesis is raised again, this time in regard to sanitized dinnerware.

If you remember, the Hygiene Hypothesis determines that children exposed to innocuous bacteria are less likely to develop allergies; children raised on farms, children who eat foods purchased directly from farms, or eat fermented foods.

handwashing dishes to reduce allergiesA study released in February now adds dishwashing practices to that list.  Parents who wash their dishes by hand, rather than in dishwasher, may also be lowering their children’s chances of developing allergies.

Following 1,000 young Swedish children, researchers monitored certain parental behaviors like; fed their children foods from farms, such as eggs, meat,  unpasteurized milk,  fed children fermented foods (probiotic bacteria) and lastly if they washed their dishes by hand or used a dishwasher.

The researchers then recorded if the children had allergies including asthma, eczema and hay fever.

Children in households where dishes were always washed by hand had half the rate of allergies, that rate diminished even more if the children ate fermented foods and foods purchased directly from local farms.

These findings, interesting to discuss are associative, not cause and effect. It is not clear that washing dishes by hand leads to fewer allergies. The Hygiene Hypothesis has been bantered around for a number of years, and the research to identify cause and effect has yet to be established.

The sanitizing effect of dishwashers serves well to reduce germs and bacteria found on dishware.  And while this is an interesting finding, it has yet to be confirmed.

If you have questions regarding an allergic condition, I invite you to come in for a consultation. For more on allergy triggers, visit my website and click on Common Allergies.

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Childhood Stress Linked to the Development of Allergies

A study recently published in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology showed correlated link between childhood stress and an increased risk of developing allergies later on in life by a research group in Germany who had conducted long-term research.

Over 3,000 newborn children were recruited between 1997 and 1999. Parents were interviewed about lifestyle-related factors. Blood tests were drawn. A total of 565 children were examined up to the age of six, and for 234 participants, blood analyses of stress and immune parameters were carried out.

Blood samples drawn from 234 6yo showed that children who experienced stressful situations like moving or being separated from parents had  higher levels neuropeptide vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) in their blood suggesting that the neuropeptide could be influencing the regulation of immune responses.

Stressful events occurring during childhood are increasingly suspected of playing a crucial role in the later development of asthma and allergic skin disorders. For children, stressful situations can include the serious illness of a family member to seemingly harmless situations such as moving house.

Stress has been known to exhibit influence over the development of allergies. Unknown is the mechanism behind the phenomenon. This investigation during early childhood can play a large role in understanding the correlation between immune and stress markers.

Keep in mind, that the even though there were a comparatively small number of children affected, the results can still provide valuable insight into what exactly happens to the body through stress. More studies are required and are currently in process.

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