A study by researchers of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), may shed light on why women suffer more frequent and more severe instances of anaphylaxis than men.
Anaphylaxis – a life threatening allergic reaction triggered by foods, medication, and animal stings and bites – occurs when immune cells release enzymes that cause tissues to swell and blood vessels to widen. Clinical studies have shown that women experience anaphylaxis more often than men, though the mechanism for this has not been clearly understood.
NIAID researchers found that female mice experienced more severe and longer lasting anaphylactic reactions than males. They discovered that Estradiol – a type of estrogen – enhances the effect of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), an enzyme that causes a number of symptoms of anaphylaxis.
A study of 102 patients enrolled from adult and pediatric clinics showed that only 16% used their epinephrine auto-injectors correctly. Of the remaining 84%, more than half missed 3 or more steps for proper administration.
The most common errors included:
- Failure to hold the unit in place for at least 10 seconds after triggering
- Failure to place the needle end of the device on the thigh, and
- Failure to depress the device forcefully enough to activate the injection.
A new study, lead by Dr David Stukus — an allergy specialist at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio — has found that many primary care physicians are not well versed in the causes and best treatments for allergies.
The results of a survey of over 400 internists and pediatricians were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) last week. What the researchers found was profoundly disturbing: misconceptions about allergies were common, especially when it came to food allergies.
Children suffering food-induced anaphylaxis (FIA) were less than half as likely to need hospitalization if they received epinephrine prior to visiting the hospital emergency department. This was the finding of a study published in September in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
The study, conducted at Hasbro Children’s Hospital/Rhode Island Hospital, reviewed the charts of 384 emergency department visits for FIA during a six year period beginning January 1, 2004. Of these, 234 (61%) received treatment with epinephrine prior to the visit (the “early” receivers of epinephrine.)
A study of 12 one year old babies with food allergies conducted at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Victoria, Australia has found preliminary evidence that children may acquire allergies prior to birth.
The study measured DNA methylation – a mechanism that determines how genes are switched on or off – in the babies’ blood samples. “We found several switches that were different in the children with food allergies that occurred in some important immune genes”, said Dr David Martino from the Institute.
As many of our readers are well aware, peanuts are the leading cause of severe food-related allergic reactions in the US. Though Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) and related treatments that expose the subject to flour containing small, but increasing amounts of peanut protein are showing promise, there is a danger of anaphylactic reaction throughout the therapy.
Researchers at North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute are experimenting with new therapy media that combine the traditional peanut flour used in OIT with plant polyphenols found in many fruits and vegetables. When the peanut protein in the flour is bound to polyphenols derived from plants like blackcurrant, cinnamon, cranberry and green tea, they appear to become much less allergenic in lab tests. Tests in mice with a cranberry derivative/peanut flour combination appeared to trigger the desired desensitization without the dangerous reactions that can occur.
A study presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), asserts that individuals who have outgrown a food allergy may be at risk of developing eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) to the same food.
“EoE is characterized by the presence of large numbers of white blood cells called eosinophils in the tissue of the esophagus, which causes inflammation or swelling of the esophagus,” said Jonathan M. Spergel, MD, PhD, FAAAAI, one of the study authors. “Foods like dairy products, egg, soy and wheat are main causes of EoE.”
The results of a 3 year study of the effectiveness of Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) for desensitization of peanut allergy in children was published today in the medical journal The Lancet.
The study, co-sponsored by the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, followed 85 children aged 7-16 with confirmed peanut allergy from January 2010 through March 2013.
According to US News and World Report, a study presented this week at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) described the case of a boy who was cured of his peanut allergy after a bone marrow transplant.
A pilot study conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital Division of Allergy and Immunology and Harvard Medical School shows promise that treatment combining the asthma drug Xolair® with oral desensitization therapy facilitates rapid desensitization in children with severe peanut allergies.
The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), followed 8 boys and 5 girls aged 8-16 years with histories of significant allergic reactions to peanuts.
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