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WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 -- A study showed that parents sucking on baby"s pacifier might lower the child"s risk of developing allergies.
The study, presented at the on-going American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meeting in Seattle, found that those babies had a lower level of the antibody that was linked to the development of allergies and asthma.
The researchers suggested that parents might be passing healthy oral bacteria in their saliva that would affect the early development of their child"s immune system.
"Although we can"t say there"s a cause and effect relationship, we can say the microbes a child is exposed to early on in life will affect their immune system development," said Eliane Abou-Jaoud, a Henry Ford allergist fellow and the study"s lead author.
The children whose pacifiers were cleaned by their parents sucking on the pacifier had lower IgE levels around 10 months of age through 18 months of age, according to the study.
IgE is a type of antibody that has been found in mammals and is linked to the development of allergies and asthma.
The study, funded by Henry Ford Health System, involved 128 mothers who were asked about how they cleaned their baby"s pacifier: sterilizing it in boiling water or dishwasher, cleaning it with soap and water and sucking on it.
Among the three methods, 30 mothers sterilized it, 53 cleaned it with soap and water and nine sucked on the pacifier.
Researchers compared the babies" IgE levels at birth, six months and 18 months for each cleaning method, and found a significantly lower level IgE level for babies at 18 months whose mothers sucked on the pacifier to clean it.
Additional analyses indicated the differences were first seen at about 10 months, according to the study.