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Peanut allergy higher in boys

7th February 2011

A study by researchers at Edinburgh Unversity has found that male children have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with a peanut allergy than females.

peanuts

The study, which was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, looked at information collected in 2005 from 400 GP practices.

The data also suggested that children from wealthier homes had a higher incidence of peanut allergies.

However, an allergy expert stated that this higher figure could be due to "inequality of access" to heathcare.

The study investigated the number of children diagnosed as allergic by GPs and involved almost three million patients' records.

The data showed that babies and younger boys were up to 30% more likely to be given a peanut allergy diagnosis in comparison to girls.

In older children, the records showed that by the time male and female patients were 15 years of age, they had around the same likelihood of receiving a peanut allergy diagnosis.

Once patients reached 24 years of age, females were more likely to be diagnosed with a peanut allergy.

Colin Simpson, a researcher on the project, said that other types of allergy were often higher in males than females.

He said:"There could be a link to the sex hormones, but we don't know for sure. The fact that at puberty there is a change could point to a link, but we need to do more work."

The data also showed children from the wealthiest homes had a diagnosis of 0.7 per 1,000 patients, compared with 0.4 per 1,000 in the poorest homes.

Dr Adam Fox, from the Evelina Children's Hospital in London, said: "It could be that those from more deprived backgrounds are not as good at getting their children diagnosed as those from the middle classes. We know that there is an inequality of access in health care."

 

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