A pregnant woman.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Many varieties of allergies could be prevented among newborns, according to an international study that included doctors at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center.
Between 25% and 40% of Israelis of all ages suffer from some kind of allergy, including to types of plants and trees, food, animal fur, pollen, metals and medicines.
Exposure to the allergen can trigger many reactions, from bloating and swelling to digestive symptoms and even life-threatening conditions.
Treatment varies according to the allergy and ranges from various medications to avoiding allergens entirely. But the study being conducted in 15 countries including Israel could change the picture, said Dr.
Eduardo Shahar, head of Rambam’s immunology and allergy unit.
Allergies tend to have a distinct hereditary component, with some of them appearing at younger ages and some erupting at later stages of life.
The research examines the effect of a hypoallergenic probiotic (beneficial bacteria) supplement for babies at high risk for developing allergies.
It is hoped that the study will be able to prevent future allergic reactions in these infants,” Shahar said. “Similar work done in various parts of the world indicates that there will be solution to this problem. The new study examines whether feeding a baby a milk substitute containing friendly bacteria can produce resistance in toddlers prone to developing allergies later in life.”
Women who are pregnant and have first-degree relatives suffering from allergies (children, siblings or parents) are invited to join the study. It should be noted that the study will also include mammalian animal babies as a control group, and the infants participating in the study will be given one of the research products. To participate in the study, call: (04) 777-2281, Sunday to Tuesday, or Thursday, from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. One can also leave a message at another time.