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Helicobacter pylori May Lower Asthma and Allergy Risks

Association stronger in children

MONDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Children who acquire the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori before age 10 may have a lower risk of allergy and asthma than other children, researchers report in the April 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Yu Chen, Ph.D., of the New York University Cancer Institute in New York City, and colleagues analyzed the connection between allergen-specific skin sensitization, allergy and asthma status in 7,663 adults, comparing results for those who tested seropositive for two strains of H. pylori with those who tested negative for the bacterium.

The researchers found that exposure to H. pylori was associated with a reduced risk of asthma (odds ratio 0.79). For those who tested seropositive for the cagA strain of the bacterium, the risk of developing asthma by age 15 (OR, 0.63) was lower than that of developing asthma as adults (OR, 0.97).

The bacterium was also linked to a reduced risk of allergic rhinitis, particularly in children (OR, 0.55), and fewer pollen and mold sensitivities and allergies in the past year.

"These observations support the hypothesis that childhood acquisition of H. pylori is associated with reduced risks of asthma and allergy," the authors conclude.

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