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On the Association between Date of Birth and Pollen Sensitization: Is Age an Effect Modifier?

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An association between date of birth and development of allergy has been proposed by prior research. Yet, the presence of a dose-response relationship or any potential effect modification for this association has not been widely studied. The aims of our study were to investigate whether an association between birth during pollen season and symptomatic sensitization to pollens exists, whether this association is stronger for patients with high rather than low allergic reactivity to pollens, and whether this association is modified by the age of the patients. Among 3318 asthmatic and/or rhinitic outpatients, we selected 805 patients sensitized exclusively to pollens (78 with low reactivity [LR] and 727 with high reactivity [HR]) and 629 patients with negative skin-prick tests (SPT) (control group). The association between being born during pollen season (February-July) and each of the pollen reactivity levels was assessed by estimating the odds ratios (OR). HR pollinosis patients were more likely than SPT negative patients of being born in February-July (OR 1.38, 95% Confidence Intervals (CI) 1.11-1.71). The likelihood of having been born in pollen season significantly increased across the levels of reactivity to pollens (HR > LR > SPT negative). These findings were valid only among patients with an early onset of symptoms. Although the OR for being born in pollen season was 1.91 (95% CI 1.32-2.77) for HR pollinosis patients with onset of symptoms ≤ 15 years, it was 1.13 (95% CI 0.87-1.48) for those with later onset of symptoms (test of homogeneity: p = 0.026). Our results suggest that the exposure to allergenic pollens in the first months of life increases the risk of developing clinically relevant sensitization to them, particularly in the first 15 years of life.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-09-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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