Researchers, with help from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University in Boston, studied the immune system markers found in the blood from infants that were born of highly stressed mothers and those with lower stress levels. They looked at the umbilical cord blood to see if there were any differences in these markers for the two groups of children.
What they found was a noticeable difference in the immune system markers patterns. These differences may be linked to asthma and related issues later in life. According to the researchers, the high stress of urban life is linked to the high rates of asthma among African-American children.
Previous studies on animals found that stress during pregnancy could negatively effect the immune system of the children. The stress these animal mothers felt impacted their children by making them more likely to become ill and catch diseases. Now researchers are looking for similar links in human mothers and infants.
Further studies will be done to find a more exact links, as well as to see if there are other health issues that may be related to stress. The results of this study is published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. – Summer, staff writer
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