In the US, the allergy is the sixth in the list of chronic diseases. It affects more than 50 million US residents, combating the consequences of an allergy costs an annual budget of 18 billion dollars. The causes of the appearance of allergic conditions are not fully understood and often they do not depend on the lifestyle of a person. So scientists managed to trace the relationship between the risk of developing allergies and the season in which a person was born.
According to scientists, those people who were born in the autumn months, during a lifetime, have a high risk of developing eczema.
For the experiment, scientists from the University of Southampton (Great Britain) conducted an epigenetic scan on DNA samples of people born on the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of Britain.
The term epigenetics refers to any process that changes the activity of genes without changing the very DNA sequence. These processes lead to changes that can be transmitted to other cells. Although epigenetic processes are a natural part of the functions of our body, they can cause negative consequences for health if they occur incorrectly.
"Epigenetic tags are attached to DNA," explains Professor John Holloway, the author of the study, "They can influence gene expression (the process by which specific genes are activated to produce the desired protein) for many years, maybe even in the next generation" .
After measuring whole blood with epigen all over the DNA in 367 participants, the researchers found that DNA methylation was associated with the birth season, and it retained its presence 18 years later.
"These are really interesting results," said Professor Holloway. "We know that the birth season has an impact on people throughout their life. For example, as a rule, people born in autumn and winter have an increased risk of developing allergic diseases, such as asthma. Nevertheless, until now we do not know how and at the expense of what risks can be so long. "
Professor Holloway adds that the study linked DNA methylation with the birth season and the risk of allergies, but the doctor warns that the results are of clinical importance and they should not be considered a recommendation to change the date of conception. "
The co-author of the study, Dr. Gabriel Lockett adds that this may look like a horoscope for the seasons, but now there is scientific evidence of how this "horoscope" can work. The markers found in this study can help establish the dependence of the birth season and other diseases, not just allergies.
Researchers believe that additional studies are required, such as the temperature, the number of sunny days and the diet for specific diseases, depending on the season of birth.
The results of this research were published in the specialized edition of Allergy.