Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Children's Allergies Linked to Parents' Depression

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, parents who have major depression or panic disorder are more likely to have children who suffer from asthma and other allergy based conditions. The study of biological children supports the idea of shared genetic liability. At Columbia University, using a sample of 9,240 parent-child pairs, researchers assessed the link between childhood allergy disorders and parents with major depression, generalized anxiety disorders and panic attacks. The allergic disorders included respiratory allergies, hay fever, wheezing, eczema, asthma, and food allergies. Out of a total of 8,686 biological pairs and 554 non-biological pairs, thirty one percent of the children and nineteen percent of the adults had allergic disorders. There were six percent of parents diagnosed with major depression, three percent had panic attacks, and another three percent had the generalized anxiety disorder. The association between the two was seen only in the biological pairs. Further analysis showed that the association occurred statistically significant only in mothers.

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