Aarthi Janakiraman Research Director Chemicals And Advanced Materials At Techvision Sheds Light On Food Allergies And Considers If This Is An Epidemic In The Making
Food allergies have been rapidly increasing during the last five years, leading to various governmental and non-profit agencies comparing it to epidemics. While there are various causes of allergic reactions to people , recent statistics showcase that food allergies are the leading cause of allergic reactions compared to others such as hay fever, insect allergies, etc. It has become a public issue with research from the Food Allergy Patient and Family Registry in the year 2019 showcasing that around 32 million Americans have some type of food allergy. CDC statistics state that in the U.S. alone, around 5 million children younger than eighteen develop allergies in a year this translates to one in thirteen children having some form of food allergy.
The situation is similar in Europe and the UK. NHS statistics showcase a doubling of the number of people who are hospitalised as a result of allergic reactions in the last five years. The Food Standards Agency estimates that over 2 million people in the UK have some form of food allergy. The situation is similar across the world, with a rise in food allergies reported in countries like Australia, Southeast Asia, etc. in the last five years leading to increasing economic burden due to cost of treatments, missed time towards work, etc. Apart from the economic burden, food allergies adversely impact an individuals quality of life.
The Allergy Epidemic: Is A Cure On The Way
A spiralling health crisis threatens countless children and makes parents lives intolerableand nobody understands whats causing it. But hope could be round the corner
Sarah Knight was stressed. She was home with a six-month-old baby, breastfeeding, adjusting to her new responsibilities as a mother. She was doing her best, but something seemed off. Her son Will was suffering from eczema, acid reflux and, more alarmingly, didnt seem to be putting on weight. She and her husband Ian had been taking him back and forth to the local surgery pretty regularly, for one reason or another. Theyd been referred to a paediatrician, and started topping-up his feeds with a bottle. But Will refused, spitting the milk back out. It was driving Sarah crazy.
Recently, Will had developed little white lumps round his mouth. It didnt look right to Sarah. Maybe it was an allergy. Could babies even be allergic to milk? She wasnt sure. The health visitor, ever reassuring, said to just keep doing what they were doing. Theyd get there in the end. But a week later, after bottle time, she was so alarmed by the growing lumps that she bundled him into his buggy and wheeled him straight to the local clinic. Really? she thought. Can this really be normal?By the time they arrived, Will was bright red and the lumpshives, as she knows to call them nowwere the size of 50p coins. Within minutes, he was struggling to breathe.
Illustration by Dave Bain
Reprogramming The Nervous System
After identifying the allergen, the NAET practitioner works on correcting the source of the blockage or imbalance in the body thats causing the allergy. This is done by correcting the misperception of the autonomic nervous system, which enables the body to heal itself by restoring an unrestricted flow of energy a sort of corrective reprogramming that harmonizes and therefore normalizes the reaction to an allergen. This technique moves the treatment of allergies out of the world of biology and into the world of physics.
The treatment is performed by applying acupressure to specific meridian points the Back Shu Points along the patients spine. At the same time, the identified allergen is held next to the patient during and for several minutes after the treatment. Its best to treat each allergen separately when first learning the technique. As pets are always allergic to multiple allergens, repeated visits are necessary. In the case of autoimmune disease, the tissue being attacked can be used with an allergy elimination treatment as an example, a dog with autoimmune hemolytic anemia can be treated with his own blood in a glass tube.
Visit naet.com for more information.
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Prevention Of Allergy By Reducing Exposure To Allergens
An obvious way to prevent allergic disease in high-risk individuals, or to prevent or reverse symptoms, is to restrict contact with an offending allergen. In some cases separation of a sensitized individual from an offending allergen can produce a dramatic effect, but in other circumstances the results are less impressive. This is particularly the case for house dust mite avoidance. Some workers argued strongly that encasement of bedding with dust mite impermeable materials, together with measures to reduce dust mite exposure in the bedroom and living area of the house, would have a major impact in reducing sensitization and subsequent development of allergic disease, as well as reducing symptoms in those already sensitized. However, primary prevention studies in infants22 and the use of reasonable dust mite avoidance strategies in adults have proved disappointing.23,24 In children with dust mite related asthma and eczema, mite reduction strategies have been reported to be more successful.25,26
Other Factors Or Changes That Have Been Suggested As Playing A Role In The Increase In Asthma
The list of explanations for the increase in asthma is not short . Most of these could be relevant to the increase but only a small number could have played a major role. Typical examples include: broad spectrum antibiotics air pollution global warming obesity, and acetaminophen.
Broad spectrum antibiotics were widely available by 1965 and although their use has increased steadily, the major changes occurred very early in the epidemic. Clearly, it is possible that use of antibiotics early in life has played a role in changing the fecal biome however, such changes tend to be transient, and most epidemiological studies on antibiotic use have only shown a modest effect on the prevalence of allergic disease, .
Increases in air pollution could well have played a role in asthma in places like Los Angeles. However, asthma has increased in many other areas where air pollution is an insignificant problem e.g. coastal towns in New Zealand, or in places where air pollution has progressively decreased e.g. London. There is good evidence about the possible effects of diesel particulates, both in relation to sensitization and as a cause of direct irritation of the lungs, . On the other hand, industrial pollution related to coal smoke is not a convincing cause of asthma. Indeed, in a town such as Katowice in Poland where the industrial pollution was very severe the children developed bronchitis but asthma was less common.
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Questions: Kari Nadeau On Advances In Food Allergy Prevention And Treatment
In a Q& A, immunologist Kari Nadeau discusses advances in food-allergy treatment and research, including a growing body of evidence that patients with several food allergies can be safely treated for all of them at once.
In the last decade, Stanford Medicine research has played a big role in advancing new therapies for food allergies in children and adults. Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and of pediatrics, spoke with science writer Erin Digitale about milestones in the field, including a newly approved drug for peanut allergy and a growing body of evidence that patients with several food allergies can be safely treated for all their allergies at once.
Nadeau, who directs the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University, co-wrote a book on food allergy that was published in September.
1. What do we know about the breadth and day-to-day impact of food allergies?
Nadeau: One in 12 children in the U.S., Europe, China, Korea and Japan have food allergies. Australia is higher, with 1 in 10. These are true doctors diagnoses of children who could go into potentially fatal anaphylactic shock from food. It really is a global epidemic.
And food allergy doesnt always begin in childhood. Two years ago, our team published a study surveying 40,000 U.S. adults: About 1 in 10 had a food allergy. Surprisingly, 50% of them did not know this until they were adults.
Ny Times Opinion Piece: A Cure For The Allergy Epidemic
Will the cure for allergies come from the cowshed? begins a terrific opinion piece in Sundays New York Times by Moises Velasquez-Manoff, author of An Epidemic of Absence. He makes yet another case in support of the hygiene hypothesis which posits that the absence of microbes in the food and environment of the developed world is robbing us of important agents that help train our immune systems as they develop.
The article highlights an Amish community in Indiana where the incidence of asthma and allergies is remarkably low. In this agrarian society, people are exposed to a wealth of microbes from the point of conception as their mothers work their farms. Later, the children learn to walk in the barns and eventually participate in farming chores, continuing their exposure to the microbes, mold and fungi that are endemic to the life style.
This continued exposure, dubbed the farm effect, is suspected of helping to train the immune system to self-regulate. The hypothesis is founded on the theory that humans evolved in the presence of these stimuli, and their absence in the developed world prevents our immune systems from maturing appropriately, thus leading to allergies.
The author makes the case for further study of the farm effect in the hope that key microbes can be identified to help researchers better understand the cause of allergies and develop effective treatments.
Velasquez-Manoffs piece is well worth the read. Find the article here.
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My Sons Skin Was Bleeding It Was Heartbreaking: The Truth Behind Britains Allergy Epidemic
The number of people being hospitalised after having a serious reaction to food continues to grow, but science is edging closer to answers
Zeke Payne was five months old when he developed severe eczema. He was also vomiting after milk feeds, which doctors attributed to reflux, a common problem in babies. But his mother, Anjuli Davies, 38, suspected there was more to it and consulted a private paediatrician.
She said the eczema was normal, nothing to worry about and would go away with age, says Davies, from Surrey. Instead, Zekes eczema grew far worse.
At one point his skin was literally bleeding. It was heartbreaking to see him in this state, his mother recalls.
She requested blood tests, the results of which showed possible allergies to a range of foods, including nuts, milk, sesame and eggs.
Zeke was finally referred to an allergist and began a series of food challenges to test his reactions. His allergies were confirmed.
Three years on, his mother lives in constant fear. Eating out is a minefield, as restaurants can rarely guarantee their kitchens are allergen-free. When a child at nursery brings in a birthday cake, Zeke is the only child who cant eat it. His mother sends him to parties with food from home. It just hangs over you the whole time, says Davies, who has to carry EpiPens and antihistamines everywhere they go.
Regional Outbreaks Of Asian Lady Beetle Allergy And Delayed Anaphylaxis To Red Meat
In the United States, there have been two regional outbreaks of allergic disease in the last ten years. One was caused by infestation of homes by the Asian lady beetle , which had been introduced to control aphids, . Interestingly, lady beetles had not previously been identified as a source of allergens. The diagnosis had to be made with locally or individually made extracts and thus it is difficult to know anything about the overall prevalence. The more recent outbreak has been of delayed anaphylaxis to red meat. In this case, the cause appears to be a major increase in tick bites from the lone star tick. This increase is best explained by the truly dramatic increase of deer in both rural and suburban areas of the east coast. At present, it is not clear how far this epidemic will go but it is occurring in Australia as well as Germany, France and Sweden. This novel form of delayed allergic reaction is already the commonest cause of anaphylaxis among adults presenting to clinics in Virginia. It is not clear how this epidemic could be controlled, because both larval and adult lone star ticks are remarkably enthusiastic about biting humans.
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Play More In The Dirt
One of the largest differences for these Amish children is that theyre continually, from a young age, exposed to a variety of microbes and bacteria .
There is no definitive proof that the lack of allergies in this population of children is directly tied to any particular exposure to microbes, but at least one study indicates that the greater the diversity of microbes that a person is exposed to, the less likely they are to develop allergies.
It seems that mainstream media is beginning to pay more and more attention to the microbes that are in our guts and that play a huge role in our lives and our health.
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The Food Allergy Epidemic
Two recent studies have revealed that 32 million Americans more than double what was previously believed are living with a potentially life-threatening food allergy.
The first study concluded that food allergies affect about 1 in 13 children in the United States. Those numbers are in line with conclusions from earlier studies. The second study revealed that an estimated 10% of the adult population has at least one current food allergy. That is virtually three times the amount that had been previously reported. The rise in food allergies has reached epidemic proportions.
However, there has also been positive news over the past several years. Increased awareness and funding have led to developments that give hope to families living with food allergy.
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The Relevance Of Decreased Physical Activity And Changed Breathing Patterns To The Rise In Pediatric Asthma
One of the most obvious effects of indoor entertainment was a progressive increase in the number of hours children spent sitting each day. There are a large number of secondary consequences of this change that include increased obesity, changes in diet, more exposure to indoor allergens, etc. However our main concern here is with the lungs. Any form of physical activity will lead to full expansion of the lungs, but in addition normal breathing includes periodic deep breaths or sighs. Studies on the effects of deep breathing have been of two major types:
Remarkably, regular exercise is not part of the standard treatment for asthma. This despite the fact that aerobic activity is recommended for cystic fibrosis, COPD and a wide range of cardiological conditions. Many studies have shown a positive effect of exercise on asthma or on BHR, but these have not been converted into a consistent recommendation about exercise as part of the treatment. In addition, it is not clear whether the primary effect of exercise would be to decrease the inflammation in the lungs or a physiological effect secondary to regular stretching of smooth muscle.
Immunological Basis For Asthma And Allergy
Sensitization to allergens usually starts at mucosal or dermal surfaces when the allergen is taken up by antigen presenting cells . In genetically susceptible individuals, selective peptides are generated by APCs and presented to naïve T lymphocytes in local lymphoid tissue16 which then multiply and differentiate into a subtype of T cells designated Th2-like.17 In addition to being implicated in the pathogenesis of allergy and asthma, Th2-like cells are fundamental to the development of an effective immune response against parasites.18 It would seem that in the Western world this arm of the immune response has been highjacked by environmental allergens, leading to specific sensitization and allergic disease. A second set of T lymphocytes designated Th1-like with capacity to secrete interferon negatively regulates the ability of Th2-like cells to develop. In babies born to families with a strong history of allergic disease, there exists a defect in the Th1 arm of the immune response with a consequent increase in Th2 responsiveness.19 More recently, additional T lymphocyte subsets designated regulatory T cells and Th3-like cells have been found to modify the extent of both Th1 and Th2 responses through their ability to secrete anti-inflammatory cytokines, transforming growth factor and interleukin 10, thereby adding a further level of complexity to T cell mediated immune regulation .20
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