SUNBEAM: Systems Biology of Early Atopy
Doctors at Johns Hopkins are teaming up with our OB partners to understand the risk factors for development of childhood food allergies and eczema.
We hope to identify root causes from the environment, diet, hereditary factors and the body’s immune system to be able to better predict, prevent, and treat these allergic conditions.
How Common Are Food Allergies in Children?
- Around 6 million children in the US are affected by food allergies. That is 1 in 13 children.
- Most are diagnosed by their first birthday.
- Currently, there is no reliable way to predict which children will suffer from food allergies.
How Common is Eczema in Children?
Eczema is a skin disease, thought to be related to allergies. It affects about 13% of US children.
How Can I Get Involved?
As a study participant, you and your baby will get extra care that may help evaluate for allergies and can improve your baby’s health.
- Pregnant (any stage)
- 18+ years old
- Delivering at Howard County General Hospital
- Sample collections from mom, baby, and their environment
- Questionnaires on health, diet, and environment
- Allergy testing
Frequently Asked Questions
SUNBEAM is an abbreviation for the official study title: Systems Biology of Early Atopy. Basically, it means that researchers are observing pregnant women and their babies, looking for factors that put young children at higher risk for food allergies and eczema.
We would like to learn what risk factors are associated with eczema and food allergies in young children. This knowledge will be helpful to researchers, pediatricians, and families in the future in order to identify new methods of prevention of these diseases.
There may or may not be a direct benefit to you and your child from being in the study. The evaluation for food allergy that is part of this study may benefit your child by identifying food allergy or providing reassurance about lack of food allergy.
Yes. Since you will need to dedicate time to visits and questionnaires throughout the study, you will be compensated for your time.
The study begins before the birth of your child. We will collect a few samples from your baby after birth. We will then see your child at the clinic when your child is 2, 5, 12, 24 and 36 months old. The whole study will last until your baby turns 3 years of age.
These visits will involve a thorough allergy evaluation and sample collections of parent(s) and child. We will also ask you to complete questionnaires at home, related to you and your child’s health, diet, and environment.
By participating in the SUNBEAM research study, you will have the opportunity to help researchers better understand the risk factors for food allergies and eczema. To be eligible, you must be:
- Pregnant (any stage)
- 8 years old or older
- Planning to give birth at Howard County General Hospital
- The child’s biological father’s participation is preferred but not required
If you think you, or someone you know might be eligible, speak with your doctor, consider participating, and spread the word!