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05-07-2011 | Immunology | Article

Anthroposophic lifestyle ‘reduces allergic sensitization during infancy’


Free abstract

MedWire News: Children born to families following an anthroposophic lifestyle have a reduced risk for immunoglobulin (Ig)E sensitization during the first 2 years of life, scientists have discovered.

An anthroposophic lifestyle, which is characterized by, for example, home deliveries, an organic diet, restricted antibiotic, antipyretic, and vaccination usage, and other factors that influence allergy risk, has been linked to reduced risk for allergy in children in several cross-sectional studies.

To examine how specific factors associated with an anthroposophic lifestyle might affect allergy risk, Fredrik Stenius, from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues conducted the Assessment of Lifestyle and Allergic Disease During Infancy (ALADDIN) study, in which children and their parents were administered repeated questionnaires and had biologic samples taken.

In all, 82 children from anthroposophic families, 120 children from partly anthroposophic families, and 100 children from non-anthroposophic families took part in the study. Blood samples were obtained from children and their parents at birth, and at 6, 12, and 24 months.

There were no significant differences in parental allergic sensitization and reported allergy-related symptoms among the three groups. Children from anthroposophic families were more likely than other children to be breastfed exclusively at 2 and 6 months of age, were less often given vitamin supplementation, were more likely to wear wool next to the skin, and were more likely to live on a farm with animals.

The team reports in the journal Allergy that there was no significant difference in total IgE levels in cord blood, and during the first 2 years of life, among the three groups. However, at each follow-up, sensitization was most prevalent in children from non-anthroposophic families.

Children from anthroposophic families had an overall decreased risk for sensitization during the first 2 years of life compared with non-anthroposophic and partly anthroposophic children, at odds ratios of 0.25 and 0.31, respectively. This persisted after adjusting for gender of the child, parental sensitization, maternal smoking during pregnancy, number of siblings or other children living with the family, exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months of age, living on a farm with animals during pregnancy, and parental education.

"Several lifestyle factors that have been related to the development of allergic diseases differed between families with an anthroposophic, partly anthroposophic, and non-anthroposophic lifestyle during pregnancy, delivery, and the first 2 years of life of the child," the researchers say.

"We also show that the anthroposophic lifestyle is associated with a reduced risk of allergic sensitization during this period."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Liam Davenport

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