Early Behavior May Point to Later Atopic Disease in High-Risk Infants
The authors to this article make a wonderful hypothesis at the conclusion by suggesting that gut microflora may play a role in this relationship. It makes much sense to think that an imbalance of intestinal flora (most likely following antibiotic therapy) could lead to symptoms of colic. These gut alterations could unquestionably set the stages for abnormal responses to allergens; i.e. atopy and allergy.
Arch Dis Child 2001;84:349-350 Much “fussing” and crying in certain infants may predict subsequent development of atopic disease, Finnish researchers report. Dr. Marko Kalliomaki of Turku University Hospital, and colleagues note that it is important to detect atopic disease in infants because it may lead to “impaired growth and subsequent development of more permanent manifestations such as allergic rhinitis and asthma.” To determine whether behavior patterns in infants indicate impending atopic disease, the researchers studied 116 newborn infants who were considered at high risk for atopic disease. The subjects all had at least one close relative with atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis or asthma, and more than half (55%) had two or more such relatives. During two 7-day periods in the 7th and 12th weeks, parents recorded their child’s behavior using a 24-hour chart and diaries. Items covered included whether the infant was awake and content, fussing or crying. Evaluation at the age of 2 years indicated that the 44 infants (38%) who developed atopic disease, showed “significantly more fussing during the 7th, and colic-type cry during the 12th week than those who remained healthy.” Given these findings, Dr. Kalliomaki suggests that “excessive fussing and prolonged colic-type crying at an early age may predict manifestation of atopic disease later in early childhood.” The investigators speculate that gut microflora could be involved and suggest that its modulation “might help prevent allergy” and reduce such fussing and crying during the first 3 months of life.