Foetal growth rates 'can indicate child's asthma and allergy risks'
30 June 2011 00:00 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs
The rate at which a baby grows within the womb can offer an indicator of how likely they are to develop childhood allergies or asthma.
A study conducted by the University of Aberdeen discovered the link after taking foetal measurements from 1,500 pregnant women, before conducting follow-up assessments when the children reached the age of ten.
It was discovered that children with asthma at five and ten years were ten percent smaller in the womb than average, while larger babies had better lung function as they matured.
The research also found that children who experience unexpected changes to their growth rate in either direction are also likely to see their risk for eczema and hay fever being altered.
Dr Steve Turner, clinical senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen's department of child health, said: "Our study does give a better understanding of when asthma first begins in the many children who have symptoms throughout childhood."
According to Asthma UK figures, around 1.1 million children in Britain are currently being treated for the condition, or the equivalent of one in 11 youngsters.
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