Sunday, June 09, 2013
Babies who eat FISH are less likely to develop allergies in later life
The usual correlational faith. Given the prevalence of a fish oil religion, it was preobably middle class parents who spent a lot on fish. And they are healthier anyway
Babies regularly fed fish in their first year of life are much less likely to develop common allergies when they get older, new research shows.
Scientists who monitored babies' diets found many of those that ate plenty of fish early in life were much more likely to still be free of allergies 12 years later, when the study ended.
Their chances of developing eczema dropped by 22 per cent, and hay fever by 26 per cent.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest giving fish to infants as little as two or three times a month may be enough to substantially reduce their risks.
Eczema affects an estimated one in eight children in the UK. It can cause red, itchy skin condition that can be very distressing and there are few very effective treatments.
In the worst cases, children have to be bandaged with cotton dressings from head to foot.
Hay fever, meanwhile, is thought to affect up to one in five youngsters. Both conditions are also linked with an increased risk of asthma.
Although previous research has suggested early exposure to fish in the diet could have a protective effect up to the age of four, researchers wanted to see if the benefits lasted even longer.
Experts at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, tracked 3,285 babies to study their dietary intake at the ages of one, two, four, eight and 12.
They also looked at how many went on to develop allergies.
The results showed fish plays a big part in dietary patterns among Swedish infants, with 80 per cent consuming it at least twice a month.
Among these children, the risk of allergies dropped significantly compared to others that rarely or never ate fish.
However, the study did not examine exactly which type of fish had the most potent affect.
In a report on their findings researchers said: 'Regular fish consumption in infancy may reduce the risk of allergic disease up to the age of 12.'
HRT IS safe to combat menopause, say experts: After decade of controversy, benefits now thought to outweigh risks
More vindication of what I said from the beginning
Taking medication to reduce the symptoms of the menopause is safe according to medical experts.
They say hundreds of thousands of women have suffered unnecessarily as a result of the decade-long controversy over the effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Fresh guidance from the British Menopause Society is seeking to reassure patients, saying the benefits of HRT outweigh any potential risk for women in their 50s.
They say GPs should prescribe the treatment to any woman who has unpleasant menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and mood changes. HRT is also known to provide bone protection in later life.
However, the debate is likely to rage on as The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists continues to advise HRT only for women with serious menopausal symptoms for the shortest time possible.
After five years doctors are not expected to continue prescribing it without discussing potential risks.
Uptake of HRT halved after two studies linked it to an increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer. An estimated one million women in the UK stopped having the treatment.
Consultant Endocrinologist Dr Helen Buckler, from the University of Manchester, said the emerging consensus was that the benefits of HRT outweighed the risks for most women, and that GPs should consider the updated BMS advice when treating the condition.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, she said the two studies linking HRT to breast cancer and heart disease were scientifically unreliable.
She said: 'The new advice is HRT should be used for a slightly wider age, if need be. If a woman has symptoms affecting the quality of her personal or professional life, then the benefits outweigh the risk.'
The scare began in 2002, when the US Women's Health Initiative study was halted three years early because researchers claimed women using HRT were at higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease and strokes.
This contradicted previous – and later – research which suggested it guarded against heart problems.
How the debate has raged
HRT is normally prescribed to menopausal women in their 50s, but in the WHI study, it was also given to women in their 60s and 70s who had gone through the menopause more than a decade earlier.
Shortly afterwards the UK Million Women Study, part funded by Cancer Research, said HRT doubled breast cancer risk, but a review last year said it was 'unreliable and defective'.
Cancer Research advice remains that there is still convincing evidence that women who take HRT have an increased risk of breast cancer. But Dr Buckler said the charity was 'out of step' and its approach had tended to 'put women off' taking the treatment.
Some younger doctors have never prescribed HRT because they wrongly believe the risks outweigh the benefits, experts have warned.
Jessica Harris, of Cancer Research UK, said there was 'convincing evidence' that women who take HRT have an increased risk of breast cancer, but that risk returns to normal around five years after stopping using it.
The BMS guidance is also opposed to the 'arbitrary' five year limit on treatment, and says it should be continued if symptoms persist.
The BMS – a registered charity and medical foundation – receives no government funding. Its medical advisory council comprises leading international experts in post reproductive health management, who draw up guidelines for health professionals.
Posted by jonjayray at 1:05 AM