Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Childhood Food Allergies Caused by a Combination of Genetic and Environmental Factors

Researches have found a link to child food allergies and genetic factors along with environmental factors. A specific combination of environmental factors and genetic factors can trigger infant and childhood food allergies. In order to trigger these allergies a child would have to have genetics that change the skin absorbency, have been exposed to infant wipes that leave soap on the skin, and have been exposed to allergens such as dust or food allergens. Joan Cook-Mills is a professor of allergy-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and was the lead researcher on this study. She explained ways to prevent these environmental factors, which when combine with the genetic factors can cause childhood allergies. She said to, “Reduce baby’s skin exposure to the food allergens by washing your hands before handling the baby. Limit use of infant wipes that leave soap on the skin. Rinse soap off with water like we used to do years ago.” The soap in the wipes disrupts the skin barrier. This link between environmental and genetic factors that causes food allergies was discovered through clinical evidence of food allergies in humans and tests were done using neonatal mice models. The clinical evidence showed 35% of the children that were looked at who were looked at with food allergies, also had dermatitis. Dermatitis is caused by three different gene mutations that reduce the skin barrier. This study is helping to understand food allergies and how they develop which is important to know for developing more responsive medicine. Cook-Mills’ goal is to discover interventions that will more effectively respond to signals and block the development of food allergies.


  1. This is extremely interesting! Food allergies in children have increased so much since even our age group were in kindergarten. So many toddlers now have gluten allergies, peanut allergies, and lactose allergies.

  2. It's fun to read that sometimes old traditional ways work better than the modern way. Simple and nature ingredients, like soap and water, should be used more than the chemically induced wipes that are commonly used today. Interesting article!