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Peanut pregnancy link reopened

Monday November 1st, 2010

New findings today reopen claims that peanut allergy may be triggered when a pregnant woman consumes the nuts.

US researchers say they have found a strong link between a woman's eating habits during pregnancy and her baby being sensitive to nuts.

The findings will reopen a debate about how whether women should avoid nuts during pregnancy.

Britain's Food Standards Agency has said women only need to worry when they know they have peanut allergy.

The latest findings, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, are likely to face conflicting interpretations.

Researchers said they set out to establish whether peanuts were triggering allergic problems in babies.

Their findings come from tests on some 500 infants showing allergy problems, such as eczema or reactions to milk and eggs.

Some 140 were found to have "strong sensitivity" to peanuts - and the researchers say this was linked significantly to mothers recalling eating nuts during pregnancy.

The study was conducted at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA.

Researcher Professor Scott Sicherer said: "Researchers in recent years have been uncertain about the role of peanut consumption during pregnancy on the risk of peanut allergy in infants.

"While our study does not definitively indicate that pregnant women should not eat peanut products during pregnancy, it highlights the need for further research in order make recommendations about dietary restrictions."

He added: "Peanut allergy is serious, usually persistent, potentially fatal, and appears to be increasing in prevalence. Our study is an important step toward identifying preventive measures that, if verified, may help reduce the impact of peanut allergy."

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology October 29 2010

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Diet & Food | North America | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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