Breastfeeding may not protect children from allergies
SAN ANTONIO — Breastfeeding did not appear to have any effect on immunoglobulin E sensitization to environmental allergens among children with symptoms of rhinitis, according to study results presented at the 2015 American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting.
“We found no significant difference in having a positive skin prick test in kids who were ‘ever breastfed’ versus being formula fed,” Quindelyn Cook, MD, a resident in the department of pediatrics at University of Chicago Medical Center, told Healio.com/Allergy. “The groups also had similar rates of asthma, eczema, and food allergy.”
Cook and colleagues conducted a retrospective chart review of new patient referrals (n =194) of children aged 4 to 18 years at a pediatric allergy clinic at an academic medical center from 2009 to 2013. The researchers assessed the association of breastfeeding and immunoglobulin E sensitization to environmental allergens in patients with symptoms of rhinitis.
Infant feeding history was collected from new patient questionnaires. Positive skin-prick tests to environmental allergens served as the primary outcome.
Secondary outcomes included asthma, atopic dermatitis, and food allergy.
Sixty parents reported feeding their child formula and 134 reported breastfeeding their child at least once.
Researchers observed no statistically significant difference between groups with regard to positive skin prick tests (P = .137), asthma (P = .594), atopic dermatitis (P = .39) or and food allergy (P = .396).
Although the findings suggest breastfeeding is good for infants, the study did not address exclusivity of breastfeeding, Cook said.
“Therefore, this cannot be generalized to the general population,” Cook told Healio.com/Allergy. “Larger studies need to be done to determine how these results might apply to the larger population.” – by Ryan McDonald
Cook Q, et al. Poster 278. Presented at: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting; Nov. 5-9; San Antonio.
Disclosure: Cook reports no relevant financial disclosures.