Children’s allergies linked to parent of same sex
Allergic illnesses such as asthma and eczema gender-related
DOCTORS have discovered a child’s risk of developing an allergic disease is doubled if a parent of the same sex has suffered from it, new research has claimed.
Professor Hasan Arshad, a consultant in allergy and immunology at Southampton General Hospital, found allergies such as asthma and eczema were gender-related and not simply hereditary.
“We have known for decades that allergy runs in the family and many thought that maternal effect was greater than paternal effect due to a mothers’ closeness to her child.
“But we have discovered the inheritance is from mother to daughter and father to son,” Prof Arshad said.
His team assessed 1,456 patients recruited from birth 23 years ago and found the risk of asthma in boys was only increased if their fathers suffered from the condition while, if mothers had asthma, it doubled the risk in their daughters but not sons.
The research also showed maternal eczema led to a 50% increased risk of eczema in girls, while paternal eczema did the same for boys.
Leanne Metcalf, assistant director of research and practice at Asthma UK, said: “This study is exciting because it opens up interesting new avenues of research that could tell us more about the relative role of genes, environment and gender in terms of asthma risk, and enable us use this information to potentially prevent asthma in the future.”