Predictors and Consequences of allergies that impact on children getting a healthy start to life:a prospective study [ 2008 - 2012 ]

Also known as: Allergic Diseases that impact oin children getting a healthy start to life

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Shyamali Dharmage (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Lyle Gurrin Dr Melanie Matheson Prof David Hill Prof John Hopper
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Brief description Allergic diseases prevent Australian children getting a healthy start to life by causing long term illnesses. This group of diseases includes asthma, hay fever, eczema and food allergies. Half of all Australian children are born into families with a history of these conditions and these children are at increased risk. Some of these children develop allergies while the others do not. It is also known that allergic conditions change over time, but we have no information on causes of these changes. For example some infants with eczema continue to have eczema or develop hay fever and asthma, while others do not. The aim of this study is to determine what factors cause allergies and what factors influence these changes. This will provide evidence to guide health policy and clinical practice. Looking at the different conditions in family members over time is a good way to answer these types of questions, because parents and siblings share similar exposures, but not all the same genes. This helps to disentangle the effects of the environment and genes. The Melbourne Atopic Cohort Study (MACS) is amongst the world�s major studies on the development of allergies. MACS commenced in 1991-94 by recruiting 620 babies prior to birth. Only infants born into families with a history of allergic disease were included. MACS is unique because all family members and the home environment were assessed at the time of birth of the child. These children have been followed regularly over the first ten years of their life. The MACS now provides a unique opportunity to conduct a family study that can examine genes, childhood environment and individual risk factors for allergies. This will also allow exploration of the impact of allergies on families and the health care system, and how we can reduce that impact. Such information will provide evidence to guide health care policy and clinical practice. Also, the current study will provide a platform for future studies to investigate the progression of allergies in this family cohort. This will be the world's only longitudinal family follow-up of allergies that spans all of childhood. It will assist in reducing the impact of these common conditions, and the findings will be original and significant not only in Australia but also internationally.

Funding Amount $AUD 893,559.29

Funding Scheme NHMRC Strategic Awards

Notes A Healthy Start to Life (for All Australians)

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