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The flowers that bloom in the spring.

The flowers that bloom in the spring

Spring may bring birthdays to allergy sufferers as well as sneezing and runny noses. According to a report by three Italian physicians in the April ANNALS OF ALLERGY, people allergic to pollen are more likely to have been born during grass pollen season than are people with allergies to other substances.

They studied people in the Turin area who were known to be prone to allergies--207 people with pollinosis (better known in the United States as hay fever) and 97 with house dust allergies --and found a statistically significant association between pollinosis and springtime birth.

The connection could be a secondary association, the researchers note: There is a genetic component to allergies and it's possible, for example, that allergic parents may avoid conceiving in the fall for some reason. Or it could be attributable to lasting effects of pollen on the immune system of newborns, who have not yet developed the ability to neutralize airborne allergens.

The report is a new entry in a field that already contains a lot of contradictory information. "The literature is split right down the middle,' says David B.K. Golden, an allergy specialist at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. The Italian researchers' numbers, he says, "are certainly supportive of their conclusions, but more extensive research will be required to reach a conclusion.'
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Title Annotation:pollen allergies linked to spring births
Publication:Science News
Date:May 17, 1986
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