(SNN) - If the snuffling, sniffing and sneezing associated with allergies is getting you down, you can take some comfort in a new discovery by researchers at Ohio State University. According to a recent report by Judith Schwartzbaum, associate professor of epidemiology at that institution, allergy sufferers are far less likely to be affected by a certain type of brain tumour known as glioma. This type of brain cancer accounts for 60% of all brain cancers in the US, and, although statistics weren’t available for Canada, it is acknowledged as being the most pervasive form of the disease in this country, as well.
As part of the study, Schwartzbaum analyzed blood from patients that had been stored decades earlier, for allergy-related antibodies. Included in the analysis was stored blood from current glioma victims. The analysis indicated that female allergy sufferers received the best protection with the statistics revealing those women with allergies had whopping 50% lower risk of developing glioma within the twenty years following the blood sample being taken. Although not as pronounced, men still had a 20% less chance of getting glioma if they had the allergy antibody markers in their blood, too.
“This is our most important finding,” stated Schwartzbaum. “The longer before glioma diagnosis that the effect of allergies is present, the less likely it is that the tumor is suppressing allergies. Seeing this association so long before tumor diagnosis suggests that antibodies or some aspect of allergy is reducing tumor risk.”
“It could be that in allergic people, higher levels of circulating antibodies may stimulate the immune system, and that could lower the risk of glioma,” she added. “Absence of allergy is the strongest risk factor identified so far for this brain tumor, and there is still more to understand about how this association works.”
Professor Schwartzbaum, is also an investigator in Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research team is highly regarded in the oncology field and is financially supported by the US National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health in addition to a Research Enhancement and Assistance Program grant from Ohio State.
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