Early introduction of cooked egg may prevent egg allergy

January 01, 0001

Early introduction of cooked egg may prevent egg allergy

Infant feeding guidelines have long recommended delaying introduction of solids and allergenic foods to prevent allergy in high-risk infants, despite a paucity of evidence. The researchers from Australia aimed to determine whether confirmed egg allergy in 12-month-old infants is associated with (1) duration of breast-feeding and (2) ages of introducing egg and solids. In a population-based cross-sectional study (HealthNuts) parents reported on infant feeding and potential confounding factors before skin prick testing for egg white. Egg- sensitized infants were then offered an egg oral food challenge. A total of 2589 infants (73% response) participated.

Compared with introduction at 4 to 6 months, introducing egg into the diet later was associated with higher risks of egg allergy (adjusted odds ratios, ORs, 1.6 and 3.4 for introduction at 10-12 and after 12 months, respectively). These findings persisted even in children without risk factors (OR, 3.3; 10-12 months). At age 4 to 6 months, first exposure as cooked egg reduced the risk of egg allergy compared with first exposure as egg in baked goods (OR, 0.2). Duration of breast- feeding and age at introduction of solids were not associated with egg allergy.

The researchers concluded: "Introduction of cooked egg at 4 to 6 months of age might protect against egg allergy. Changes in infant feeding guidelines could have a significant effect on childhood egg allergy and possibly food allergy more generally."

This is helpful, but does not appear clear enough to alter behaviour.

For the full abstract, click here.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 126(4):807-813, October 2010
© 2010 Elsevier, Inc.
Can early introduction of egg prevent egg allergy in infants? A population-based study. Jennifer J. Koplin, Nicholas J. Osborne, Melissa Wake et al. Correspondence to Katrina Allen: [email protected]

Category: B. Blood/Blood Forming Organs/Immune Mechanisms, T. Keywords: egg, food allergy, solids, breast-feeding, infant diet, weaning, population-based study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 29 October 2010

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