What role does the built environment play in the development of allergic diseases?
- Research Opportunity
- Number of Honour Places Available
- Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
|Doctor Rachel Petersfirstname.lastname@example.org||Personal web page|
|Doctor Suzanne Mavoaemail@example.com||Personal web page|
Summary A research project is available for a student to assess whether urban characteristics such as urban density and backyard features, are associated with the risk of food allergy and other allergic diseases. This project would suit a student with an interest in epidemiology, allergy or the use of GIS data in health research.
Melbourne has the highest prevalence of food allergy internationally and 40-50% of children in Melbourne have experienced symptoms of an allergic disease in their preschool years. The rise in allergic diseases is a relatively recent phenomena and may be related to modern lifestyle factors. According to the hygiene hypothesis, lack of exposure to microbes in early life influences the development of the immune system, potentially skewing it towards the allergic phenotype. Studies have shown that children growing up in farm environments have lower risk of allergic diseases than children who grow up in cities. However, few studies have examined the role between the urban built environment, and the development of food allergy and other allergic diseases. The HealthNuts study presents a unique opportunity to address this research question. HealthNuts is a population-based, longitudinal study of allergic diseases. The cohort consists of 5300 infants recruited at 12-months of age and has been followed-up at ages 4 and 6. Objective measures of allergic diseases including food allergy, eczema and asthma have been collected. The cohort is also linked to derived measures of urban environment characteristics created using geographic information systems (GIS). A research project is available for a student to assess whether urban characteristics such as urban density and backyard features, are associated with the risk of food allergy and other allergic diseases. This project would suit a student with an interest in epidemiology, allergy or the use of GIS data in health research. The student will work with supervisors to undertake statistical analysis and potentially some additional GIS analysis and mapping.
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Research NodeRoyal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
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