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"Preventing Childhood Allergies"
The prevalence of so-called 'atopic' diseases - food allergies, asthma, hay fever, eczema - appear to be increasing year by year around the world, doubling, tripling, even quadrupling.
Here's asthma rates over the years. Here's hospitalizations for food allergies among American children over just a few years.
What's going on?
Well, we had a little new insight recently. Eczema - atopic dermatitis - is a red, itchy, bumpy rash that can develop into thick, scaly or leathery lesions.
Researchers in Japan wondered if the westernization of the Japanese diet could account for the dramatic rise in incidence?
In the first study of its kind, they found that higher maternal intake of meat during pregnancy was significantly associated with an increased risk of both suspected and physician-diagnosed eczema.
They suggest that certain components of meat may affect the fetal immune system. They thought maybe it was the saturated fat, but that didn't pan out. Maybe it was the cooked meat carcinogens. Bottom line, they don't know what it could be about the meat.
They were surprised that fish did not reduce the incidence of the disease, given the anti-inflammatory nature of the long chain omega-3 fatty acids.
They suggest maybe it's the mercury and dioxins that have accumulated in fish that might be counteracting the omega-3 advantages.