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Calmer babies have fewer allergies

High levels of stress in babies increases their risk of developing allergies

Posted: 14 December 2011
by Kimberley Smith
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Baby stress could lead to allergies

Stressed babies are more likely to develop allergies as children, according to a new study.

Swedish researchers found that babies with low levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol in their saliva were less likely to develop allergies than those with higher amounts.

Allergies are on the rise in the west and the researchers believe environmental and lifestyle factors are behind the increase.

“Psychosocial factors and the stress hormone cortisol are associated with allergic diseases,” explained study leader Dr Fredrik Stenius. “Our study found that children with low salivary cortisol as infants have a lower prevalence of allergies during the first two years of life, compared to other children.”

The study did not explore what experiences cause babies to become stressed but we know even short separations from mum in the early few hours and days can be a factor.

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