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1.  Genetic variation in small proline rich protein 2B as a predictor for asthma among children with eczema 
Small proline rich protein 2B (SPRR2B) is a skin and lung epithelial protein associated with allergic inflammation in mice that has not been evaluated in human atopic diseases.
To determine whether single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in SPRR2B are associated with childhood eczema and with the phenotype of childhood eczema combined with asthma.
Genotyping for SPRR2B and filaggrin (FLG) was performed in 2 independent populations: the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy & Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS; N = 762; birth-age, 4 years) and the Greater Cincinnati Pediatric Clinical Repository (GCPCR;N = 1152; ages 5–10 years). Eczema and eczema plus asthma were clinical outcomes based on parental report and clinician’s diagnosis. Genetic analyses were restricted to whites and adjusted for sex in both cohorts and adjusted for environmental covariates in CCAAPS.
Variants in SPRR2B were not significantly associated with eczema in either cohort after Bonferroni adjustment. Children from both cohorts with the CC genotype of the SPRR2B rs6693927 SNP were at 4 times the risk for eczema plus asthma (adjusted odds ratio, 4.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.5– 10.9; P = .005 in CCAAPS; and adjusted odds ratio, 4.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.8 –9.1; P <.001 in the GCPCR), however. SNPs in SPRR2B were not in strong linkage disequilibrium with the R501X and del2282 FLG mutations, and these findings were independent of FLG.
An SNP in SPRR2B was predictive of asthma among white children with eczema from 2 independent populations. SPRR2B polymorphisms may serve as important predictive markers for the combined eczema plus asthma phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3759990  PMID: 22374195
2.  Active or Passive Exposure to Tobacco Smoking and Allergic Rhinitis, Allergic Dermatitis, and Food Allergy in Adults and Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001611.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis, Bahi Takkouche and colleagues examine the associations between exposure to tobacco smoke and allergic disorders in children and adults.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Allergic rhinitis, allergic dermatitis, and food allergy are extremely common diseases, especially among children, and are frequently associated to each other and to asthma. Smoking is a potential risk factor for these conditions, but so far, results from individual studies have been conflicting. The objective of this study was to examine the evidence for an association between active smoking (AS) or passive exposure to secondhand smoke and allergic conditions.
Methods and Findings
We retrieved studies published in any language up to June 30th, 2013 by systematically searching Medline, Embase, the five regional bibliographic databases of the World Health Organization, and ISI-Proceedings databases, by manually examining the references of the original articles and reviews retrieved, and by establishing personal contact with clinical researchers. We included cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies reporting odds ratio (OR) or relative risk (RR) estimates and confidence intervals of smoking and allergic conditions, first among the general population and then among children.
We retrieved 97 studies on allergic rhinitis, 91 on allergic dermatitis, and eight on food allergy published in 139 different articles. When all studies were analyzed together (showing random effects model results and pooled ORs expressed as RR), allergic rhinitis was not associated with active smoking (pooled RR, 1.02 [95% CI 0.92–1.15]), but was associated with passive smoking (pooled RR 1.10 [95% CI 1.06–1.15]). Allergic dermatitis was associated with both active (pooled RR, 1.21 [95% CI 1.14–1.29]) and passive smoking (pooled RR, 1.07 [95% CI 1.03–1.12]). In children and adolescent, allergic rhinitis was associated with active (pooled RR, 1.40 (95% CI 1.24–1.59) and passive smoking (pooled RR, 1.09 [95% CI 1.04–1.14]). Allergic dermatitis was associated with active (pooled RR, 1.36 [95% CI 1.17–1.46]) and passive smoking (pooled RR, 1.06 [95% CI 1.01–1.11]). Food allergy was associated with SHS (1.43 [1.12–1.83]) when cohort studies only were examined, but not when all studies were combined.
The findings are limited by the potential for confounding and bias given that most of the individual studies used a cross-sectional design. Furthermore, the studies showed a high degree of heterogeneity and the exposure and outcome measures were assessed by self-report, which may increase the potential for misclassification.
We observed very modest associations between smoking and some allergic diseases among adults. Among children and adolescents, both active and passive exposure to SHS were associated with a modest increased risk for allergic diseases, and passive smoking was associated with an increased risk for food allergy. Additional studies with detailed measurement of exposure and better case definition are needed to further explore the role of smoking in allergic diseases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The immune system protects the human body from viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Whenever a pathogen enters the body, immune system cells called T lymphocytes recognize specific molecules on its surface and release chemical messengers that recruit and activate other types of immune cells, which then attack the pathogen. Sometimes, however, the immune system responds to harmless materials (for example, pollen; scientists call these materials allergens) and triggers an allergic disease such as allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the inside of the nose; hay fever is a type of allergic rhinitis), allergic dermatitis (also known as eczema, a disease characterized by dry, itchy patches on the skin), and food allergy. Recent studies suggest that all these allergic (atopic) diseases are part of a continuous state called the “atopic march” in which individuals develop allergic diseases in a specific sequence that starts with allergic dermatitis during infancy, and progresses to food allergy, allergic rhinitis, and finally asthma (inflammation of the airways).
Why Was This Study Done?
Allergic diseases are extremely common, particularly in children. Allergic rhinitis alone affects 10%–30% of the world's population and up to 40% of children in some countries. Moreover, allergic diseases are becoming increasingly common. Allergic diseases affect the quality of life of patients and are financially costly to both patients and health systems. It is important, therefore, to identify the factors that cause or potentiate their development. One potential risk factor for allergic diseases is active or passive exposure to tobacco smoke. In some countries up to 80% of children are exposed to second-hand smoke so, from a public health point of view, it would be useful to know whether exposure to tobacco smoke is associated with the development of allergic diseases. Here, the researchers undertake a systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic) and a meta-analysis (a statistical approach for combining the results of several studies) to investigate this issue.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 196 observational studies (investigations that observe outcomes in populations without trying to affect these outcomes in any way) that examined the association between smoke exposure and allergic rhinitis, allergic dermatitis, or food allergy. When all studies were analyzed together, allergic rhinitis was not associated with active smoking but was slightly associated with exposure to second-hand smoke. Specifically, compared to people not exposed to second-hand smoke, the pooled relative risk (RR) of allergic rhinitis among people exposed to second-hand smoke was 1.10 (an RR of greater than 1 indicates an increased risk of disease development in an exposed population compared to an unexposed population). Allergic dermatitis was associated with both active smoking (RR = 1.21) and exposure to second-hand smoke (RR = 1.07). In the populations of children and adolescents included in the studies, allergic rhinitis was associated with both active smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke (RRs of 1.40 and 1.09, respectively), as was allergic dermatitis (RRs of 1.36 and 1.06, respectively). Finally food allergy was associated with exposure to second-hand smoke (RR = 1.43) when cohort studies (a specific type of observational study) only were examined but not when all the studies were combined.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide limited evidence for a weak association between smoke exposure and allergic disease in adults but suggest that both active and passive smoking are associated with a modestly increased risk of allergic diseases in children and adolescents. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by the use of questionnaires to assess smoke exposure and allergic disease development in most of the studies in the meta-analysis and by the possibility that individuals exposed to smoke may have shared other characteristics that were actually responsible for their increased risk of allergic diseases. To shed more light on the role of smoking in allergic diseases, additional studies are needed that accurately measure exposure and outcomes. However, the present findings suggest that, in countries where many people smoke, 14% and 13% of allergic rhinitis and allergic dermatitis, respectively, among children may be attributable to active smoking. Thus, the elimination of active smoking among children and adolescents could prevent one in seven cases of allergic rhinitis and one in eight cases of allergic dermatitis in such countries.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about allergic rhinitis, hay fever (including personal stories), allergic dermatitis (including personal stories), and food allergy (including personal stories)
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease provides information about allergic diseases
The UK not-for-profit organization Allergy UK provides information about all aspects of allergic diseases and a description of the atopic march
MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on allergic rhinitis and allergic dermatitis (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources about allergies, eczema, and food allergy (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3949681  PMID: 24618794
3.  The methodology of the GUSTO cohort study: a novel approach in studying pediatric allergy 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2012;2(2):144-148.
Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) is Singapore's largest birth cohort study to date. The main aim of GUSTO is to evaluate the role of developmental factors in the early pathways to metabolic compromise. Detailed data is collected for a range of environmental exposures in the parents and offspring, and allergic disorders are among a number of outcomes assessed in infancy and childhood. Under the Allergy domain of GUSTO, this integrated study will describe the epidemiology of allergic manifestations and different phenotypes in the Asian context and help shed light on the association of metabolic disease to allergy. Epigenetic mechanisms and associations with other childhood disorders will also be explored. The aim of this report is to focus on methodology of GUSTO, and to suggest similar approaches (i.e., integrated cohort studies on pediatric allergy) worldwide. Recruitment commenced in 2009 with a cohort of 1,163 pregnant mothers in their first trimester. The mothers and children were followed throughout pregnancy and follow-up will continue until the child reaches 3 years of age. Preliminary results showed that 39.8% of the mothers had a personal history of having at least one allergic disease, which included asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis. Further data collection and analyses are still ongoing. Allergy is a complex spectrum of disorders with numerous poorly-understood aspects. The ongoing GUSTO cohort study, with its longitudinal design and multi-disciplinary nature, may provide new insights into developmental influences on allergy. As a Singapore-based study, it will be the first integrated allergy cohort in Southeast Asia, of which recruitment started during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC3345328  PMID: 22701865
Cohort; Pediatric; Allergy; Methodology
4.  Developmental Profiles of Eczema, Wheeze, and Rhinitis: Two Population-Based Birth Cohort Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(10):e1001748.
Using data from two population-based birth cohorts, Danielle Belgrave and colleagues examine the evidence for atopic march in developmental profiles for allergic disorders.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
The term “atopic march” has been used to imply a natural progression of a cascade of symptoms from eczema to asthma and rhinitis through childhood. We hypothesize that this expression does not adequately describe the natural history of eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis during childhood. We propose that this paradigm arose from cross-sectional analyses of longitudinal studies, and may reflect a population pattern that may not predominate at the individual level.
Methods and Findings
Data from 9,801 children in two population-based birth cohorts were used to determine individual profiles of eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis and whether the manifestations of these symptoms followed an atopic march pattern. Children were assessed at ages 1, 3, 5, 8, and 11 y. We used Bayesian machine learning methods to identify distinct latent classes based on individual profiles of eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis. This approach allowed us to identify groups of children with similar patterns of eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis over time.
Using a latent disease profile model, the data were best described by eight latent classes: no disease (51.3%), atopic march (3.1%), persistent eczema and wheeze (2.7%), persistent eczema with later-onset rhinitis (4.7%), persistent wheeze with later-onset rhinitis (5.7%), transient wheeze (7.7%), eczema only (15.3%), and rhinitis only (9.6%). When latent variable modelling was carried out separately for the two cohorts, similar results were obtained. Highly concordant patterns of sensitisation were associated with different profiles of eczema, rhinitis, and wheeze. The main limitation of this study was the difference in wording of the questions used to ascertain the presence of eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis in the two cohorts.
The developmental profiles of eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis are heterogeneous; only a small proportion of children (∼7% of those with symptoms) follow trajectory profiles resembling the atopic march.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Our immune system protects us from viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens by recognizing specific molecules on the invader's surface and initiating a sequence of events that culminates in the death of the pathogen. Sometimes, however, our immune system responds to harmless materials (allergens such as pollen) and triggers allergic, or atopic, symptoms. Common atopic symptoms include eczema (transient dry itchy patches on the skin), wheeze (high pitched whistling in the chest, a symptom of asthma), and rhinitis (sneezing or a runny nose in the absence of a cold or influenza). All these symptoms are very common during childhood, but recent epidemiological studies (examinations of the patterns and causes of diseases in a population) have revealed age-related changes in the proportions of children affected by each symptom. So, for example, eczema is more common in infants than in school-age children. These findings have led to the idea of “atopic march,” a natural progression of symptoms within individual children that starts with eczema, then progresses to wheeze and finally rhinitis.
Why Was This Study Done?
The concept of atopic march has led to the initiation of studies that aim to prevent the development of asthma in children who are thought to be at risk of asthma because they have eczema. Moreover, some guidelines recommend that clinicians tell parents that children with eczema may later develop asthma or rhinitis. However, because of the design of the epidemiological studies that support the concept of atopic march, children with eczema who later develop wheeze and rhinitis may actually belong to a distinct subgroup of children, rather than representing the typical progression of atopic diseases. It is important to know whether atopic march adequately describes the natural history of atopic diseases during childhood to avoid the imposition of unnecessary strategies on children with eczema to prevent asthma. Here, the researchers use machine learning techniques to model the developmental profiles of eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis during childhood in two large population-based birth cohorts by taking into account time-related (longitudinal) changes in symptoms within individuals. Machine learning is a data-driven approach that identifies structure within the data (for example, a typical progression of symptoms) using unsupervised learning of latent variables (variables that are not directly measured but are inferred from other observable characteristics).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used data from two UK birth cohorts—the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and the Manchester Asthma and Allergy Study (MAAS)—for their study (9,801 children in total). Both studies enrolled children at birth and monitored their subsequent health at regular review clinics. At each review clinic, information about eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis was collected from the parents using validated questionnaires. The researchers then used these data and machine learning methods to identify groups of children with similar patterns of onset of eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis over the first 11 years of life. Using a type of statistical model called a latent disease profile model, the researchers found that the data were best described by eight latent classes—no disease (51.3% of the children), atopic march (3.1%), persistent eczema and wheeze (2.7%), persistent eczema with later-onset rhinitis (4.7%), persistent wheeze with later-onset rhinitis (5.7%), transient wheeze (7.7%), eczema only (15.3%), and rhinitis only (9.6%).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that, in two large UK birth cohorts, the developmental profiles of eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis were heterogeneous. Most notably, the progression of symptoms fitted the profile of atopic march in fewer than 7% of children with symptoms. The researchers acknowledge that their study has some limitations. For example, small differences in the wording of the questions used to gather information from parents about their children's symptoms in the two cohorts may have slightly affected the findings. However, based on their findings, the researchers propose that, because eczema, wheeze, and rhinitis are common, these symptoms often coexist in individuals, but as independent entities rather than as a linked progression of symptoms. Thus, using eczema as an indicator of subsequent asthma risk and assigning “preventative” measures to children with eczema is flawed. Importantly, clinicians need to understand the heterogeneity of patterns of atopic diseases in children and to communicate this variability to parents when advising them about the development and resolution of atopic symptoms in their children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about eczema (including personal stories), asthma (including personal stories), and rhinitis
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provides information about atopic diseases
The UK not-for-profit organization Allergy UK provides information about atopic diseases and a description of the atopic march
MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on eczema, wheezing, and rhinitis (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources about allergies, eczema, and asthma (in English and Spanish)
Information about ALSPAC and MAAS is available
Wikipedia has pages on machine learning and latent disease profile models (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC4204810  PMID: 25335105
5.  Genetic risk for asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis. 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1992;67(8):1018-1022.
In order to explore the genetic risk of a child with a family history of allergies developing asthma, allergic rhinitis, or atopic dermatitis, questionnaires filled in by 6665 families were analysed. The data were collected in a population based cross sectional survey of 9-11 year old schoolchildren living in Munich and southern Bavaria. The relation between asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis and the number of allergic first degree relatives, and the type of allergic disease was examined. Analyses were done separately for families with single or multiple allergic diseases. In families with one allergic parent the risk of the child developing asthma was increased by asthma in a parent, with an odds ratio (OR) of 2.6 (95% confidence interval 1.7 to 4.0) but not by parental allergic rhinitis with OR 1.0 (0.7 to 1.5) or atopic dermatitis, OR 1.0 (0.6 to 1.6). For allergic rhinitis the highest risk with OR 3.6 (2.9 to 4.6) was observed with allergic rhinitis of one parent, apparently lower for asthma of one parent, OR 2.5 (1.6 to 4.0) or atopic dermatitis, OR 1.7 (1.1 to 2.5). Children with parental atopic dermatitis had a high risk for atopic dermatitis, OR 3.4 (2.6 to 4.4), compared with children with parental asthma, OR 1.5 (1.0 to 2.2), or parental allergic rhinitis, OR 1.4 (1.1 to 1.8). Risk factors in families with combined allergies of two relatives (parents and siblings) were analysed separately for the different combinations. These results support the hypothesis that asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis are multifactorial diseases brought about by various familial and environmental influences.
PMCID: PMC1793604  PMID: 1520004
6.  Filaggrin gene defects and risk of developing allergic sensitisation and allergic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis 
Objective To investigate whether filaggrin gene defects, present in up to one in 10 western Europeans and North Americans, increase the risk of developing allergic sensitisation and allergic disorders.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources Medline, Embase, ISI Science Citation Index, BIOSIS, ISI Web of Knowledge, UK National Research Register, clinical, the Index to Theses and Digital dissertations, and grey literature using OpenSIGLE.
Study selection Genetic epidemiological studies (family, case-control) of the association between filaggrin gene defects and allergic sensitisation or allergic disorders.
Data extraction Atopic eczema or dermatitis, food allergy, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and anaphylaxis, along with relevant immunological variables relating to the risk of allergic sensitisation as assessed by either positive skin prick testing or increased levels of allergen specific IgE.
Data synthesis 24 studies were included. The odds of developing allergic sensitisation was 1.91 (95% confidence interval 1.44 to 2.54) in the family studies and 1.57 (1.20 to 2.07) in the case-control studies. The odds of developing atopic eczema was 1.99 (1.72 to 2.31) in the family studies and 4.78 (3.31 to 6.92) in the case-control studies. Three studies investigated the association between filaggrin gene mutations and allergic rhinitis in people without atopic eczema: overall odds ratio 1.78 (1.16 to 2.73). The four studies that investigated the association between filaggrin gene mutations and allergic rhinitis in people with atopic eczema reported a significant association: pooled odds ratio from case-control studies 2.84 (2.08 to 3.88). An overall odds ratio for the association between filaggrin gene mutations and asthma in people with atopic eczema was 2.79 (1.77 to 4.41) in case-control studies and 2.30 (1.66 to 3.18) in family studies. None of the studies that investigated filaggrin gene mutations and asthma in people without atopic eczema reported a significant association; overall odds ratio was 1.30 (0.7 to 2.30) in the case-control studies. The funnel plots suggested that publication bias was unlikely to be an explanation for these findings. No studies investigated the association between filaggrin gene mutations and food allergy or anaphylaxis.
Conclusions Filaggrin gene defects increase the risk of developing allergic sensitisation, atopic eczema, and allergic rhinitis. Evidence of the relation between filaggrin gene mutations and atopic eczema was strong, with people manifesting increased severity and persistence of disease. Filaggrin gene mutations also increased the risk of asthma in people with atopic eczema. Restoring skin barrier function in filaggrin deficient people in early life may help prevent the development of sensitisation and halt the development and progression of allergic disease.
PMCID: PMC2714678  PMID: 19589816
7.  Determinants of Allergic Rhinitis in Young Children with Asthma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97236.
In the preschool period, allergic rhinitis (AR) is infrequent and thus under-diagnosed. However, recent works have highlighted the occurrence of AR in toddlers although the causes of AR in this young population remain unknown. The objective of this study was to identify determinants of AR in young children with asthma.
We carried out a case-control study of 227 children with active asthma and enrolled in the Trousseau Asthma Program. AR and other allergic diseases (asthma, food allergy and eczema) were diagnosed by medical doctors using standardized questionnaires. Parental history of AR and asthma, biological markers of atopy (total IgE, blood eosinophilia, allergic sensitization towards food and aeroallergens) and environmental parameters were also collected.
Forty one of the children (18.1%) had AR. By univariate logistic regression analysis, AR was mainly associated with peanut sensitization (OR = 6.75; p = 0.002); food allergy (OR = 4.31; p = 0.026); mold exposure (OR = 3.81 p<0.01) and parental history of AR (OR = 1.42; p = 0.046). Due to the strong link between food allergy and peanut sensitization three models of multivariate logistic regression were performed and confirmed that AR is associated with peanut sensitization but also food allergy and mold exposure. A random forest analysis was also performed to explain AR. The results reinforced the logistic analysis that peanut sensitization and mold exposure were the principal determinants of AR.
Conclusions & Clinical Relevance
These results stress the importance of investigating AR in young children with asthma to potentially diagnose a particularly severe allergic asthmatic phenotype. Moreover, these data evoke the hypothesis that peanut could be an aeroallergen.
PMCID: PMC4022721  PMID: 24831804
8.  Ocular allergy in the Asia Pacific region 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2011;1(3):108-114.
Allergic conjunctivitis (AC) represents a spectrum of disorders, comprising seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC), perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC), atopic keratoconjunctivitis (AKC), vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) and giant papillary conjunctivitis. Of these ocular allergy types, SAC and PAC are the most common.The most striking difference within this group of ocular diseases is that SAC and PAC remain self-limited without ocular surface damage, while AKC and VKC can compromise the cornea, causing ulcers and scarring and can ultimately lead to vision loss. Data on AC in the Asia Pacific is scarce however some understanding of prevalence of the condition has been obtained from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) studies and more recently from the Allergies in Asia Pacific study as well as some information from individual country surveys. Unfortunately none of this data has been collected using validated survey instruments specifically designed for AC. Surveys such as ISAAC have been predominantly concerned with respiratory allergic symptoms with questions added that incorporate some ocular symptoms. These questionnaires do not detect individuals who may have AC in the absence of allergic rhinitis. Using hospital ophthalmology outpatient populations for prevalence studies of ocular allergy immediately introduces a bias towards the more severe, complex forms of the condition as patients with the milder forms of SAR and PAR will rarely present to a hospital outpatient clinic. There is a real need for the development of validated questionnaires specifically addressing ocular allergy. There are no widely accessible studies examining prevalence of the complex forms of ocular allergy (AKC, VKC) in Asia Pacific region. This review will provide an overview of ocular allergy, its classification, clinical presentation and differential diagnosis, and will also discuss what is known about the epidemiology of ocular allergy in the Asian Pacific region.
PMCID: PMC3206247  PMID: 22053306
Allergic conjunctivitis; Ocular allergy; Epidemiology; Asia Pacific; AKC; VKC; ISAAC studies
9.  Skin Prick Test Reactivity to Common Aero and Food Allergens among Children with Allergy 
Background: The prevalence of allergic diseases has risen in the last decades. The objective of this study was to determine the common allergens in children via the skin prick test.
Methods: This cross-sectional study recruited 313 allergic children (4 months to 18 years old) referred to the Asthma and Allergy Clinic of Children’s Medical Center in Tehran. A questionnaire containing demographic data and patient history was completed. The Skin Prick Test (SPT) was selected according to the patients’ history of food and/or aeroallergen sensitivity.
Results: Patients (62.4% male, 37.6% female) with symptoms of asthma (n=141, 57.1%), allergic rhinitis (n=50, 20.4%), atopic dermatitis (n=29, 11.7%), and urticaria (n=20, 8.1%) were studied. Positive skin prick test to at least one allergen was 58.1%. The most prevalent allergens were tree mix (26%), Alternaria alternata (26%), weed mix (23.6%), Dermatophagoides farinae (22.9%), Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (22.9%), milk (21.7%), eggs (20%), and wheat flour (18.3%). Also, common allergens in the patients with different symptoms of allergic disorders were as follows: asthma (tree mix, weed mix, and Dermatophagoides farinae); allergic rhinitis (Dermatophagoides farinae, tree mix, and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus); and atopic dermatitis (Alternaria alternata, Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, and cockroaches).
Conclusion: Identifying allergens in each area is necessary and has an important role in the diagnosis and management of allergic disorders and possibility of performing immunotherapy. In this study, the most common aeroallergens were tree mix, Alternaria alternata, and weed mix and also the most common food allergens were milk, eggs, and wheat. Considering these data, appropriate preventive strategies can decrease the cost and morbidity of therapeutic actions.
PMCID: PMC3895892  PMID: 24453391
Allergens; Children; Skin test
10.  Allergic diseases in subjects under 18 years living with HIV 
In recent decades there has been an increase in the prevalence of allergic disease. Manifestations of these diseases have allegedly been observed in people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), however, few studies have been directed at patients under 18 years old. In this context, the aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of allergic disease in patients under 18 years old, living with HIV, and to investigate the relationship between clinico-immunological characteristics of the HIV infection and atopy.
This is a cross-sectional epidemiological study involving patients under 18 years of age who were followed up by specialized HIV services in the Southern Region of the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil, from February to October 2012. Data collection tools included a questionnaire established by the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood (ISAAC), socio-demographic data, as well as laboratory test results obtained from the medical records. Blood samples were taken to measure total serum Immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels and a Radioallergosorbent Test (RAST) for the main aeroallergens. Analysis was performed using Student’s t test, chi-squared, Fisher’s exact and Mann–Whitney tests, wherever indicated, with p < 0.05 value considered significant.
29 individuals were evaluated. The prevalence of symptoms of allergic disease was 65.5% (95% CI 56.1-74.8), the most frequent being rhinitis 44.8% (95% CI 35.0-54.5), followed by asthma 37.9% (95% CI 28.3-47.4) and eczema 27.6% (95% CI 18.8-36.3). RAST was positive in 20.7% of the individuals. There was no significant difference in terms of total serum IgE between individuals with and without symptoms of allergic disease. Nevertheless, a high frequency of raised levels of total serum IgE (40.7%) and an association between raised IgE and clinical staging of disease were observed. A further association between CD8+ cell count and prevalence of symptomatic allergic disease (p = 0.014) was observed.
There was a high prevalence of reported allergic disease, as well as a high frequency of raised levels of total serum IgE. The association between CD8+ cell count and the prevalence of symptomatic allergic disease corroborates studies that demonstrated the role of such cells in the development of allergic disease.
PMCID: PMC4105162  PMID: 25050125
11.  Close Correlation between Season of Birth and the Prevalence of Bronchial Asthma in a Taiwanese Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80285.
Bronchial asthma (BA), atopic dermatitis (AD), and allergic rhinitis (AR) are common allergic diseases. Environmental factors were indicated to influence the development of allergic diseases.
To evaluate the correlation between the month of birth and the prevalence of allergic diseases in Taiwan.
Data from 104,455 children were collected from the National Insurance Research Database of Taiwan. Subjects were identified by at least two service claims for ambulatory care or one claim for inpatient care. All of the enrolled patients were aged 7∼15 years in 2010. In a bio-clinical data analysis, total immunoglobulin E (IgE) and ImmunoCAP™ allergen data (CAP) from mothers and infants were collected in a medical center in Taiwan. Correlations between children's allergic factors and the season of birth were assessed.
A significant difference in the prevalence of BA according to the month of birth (Χ2 = 18.2, p<0.001) was found in the Taiwanese population. The fewest schoolchildren with were born in May (7.21%), and the most were born in October (10.59%). However, no tendency for the prevalence of AD (Χ2 = 4.6, P = 0.204) or AR (Χ2 = 4.3 P = 0.229) was found. In addition, we found that children born in autumn (August to October) had a higher prevalence of BA compared to those born in spring (February to April) (odds ratio: 1.13; 95% confidence interval: 1.05∼1.21). In a bio-clinical data study, markers of maternal and childhood allergies including IgE and CAP were detected in a risk analysis section. Children who were born in autumn had higher levels of CAP and total IgE.
The findings of this study showed that the month of birth was closely correlated with the prevalence of BA and higher levels of CAP and IgE.
PMCID: PMC3835889  PMID: 24278271
12.  412 Incidence of Allergic Diseases on Children under 5 Years in Juarez Hospital Mexico 
The World Allergy Organization Journal  2012;5(Suppl 2):S148-S149.
Allergic diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis and allergic rhinitis are common disorders that have increased its prevalence over the past thirty years. Atopic diseases have a genetic basis, with expression of different phenotypes associated with chromosome 5 (5q23-25, IL-4, IL-5, IL-9, IL-13 and GM-CSF), 6 (molecules of class I and II human leukocyte antigen) 11 (11q13: β subunit of high affinity receptor for IgE) and 12 (12q: IFN-gamma, nitric acid synthase). Asthma is defined as a chronic inflammatory disease of airway and is the most common chronic disease in children characterized by wheezing. Wheezing may occur even once it is up to 50% of all infants and children under 3 years old and topic dermatitis affecting over 10% of children.
To define incidence and prevalence of asthma and others allergic diseases in population of less than 5 years of age in Juarez Hospital Mexico.
We evaluated 11,346 allergic patients on 4 years period (January 2007 to December 2010). Two thousand three hundred ninety six were ≤5 years (21.11%); 10.2% a year old or younger, 16.7% 2 years old, 18.5% had 3 years, 24.7% of 4 years and 30% 5 years old. Nine hundred ninety two patients (41.4%) were females and 1.404 (58.6%) male. One thousand two hundred thirty eight patients (51.7%) had only one diagnostic finding as most frequent cause of consultation allergic rhinitis (59.6%), followed by asthma (23%), atopic dermatitis (5.1%), prurigo by insect (4.3), immunodeficiency (1.2%) the rest had various pathologies such as contact dermatitis, gastro esophageal reflux, oral allergy syndrome, and others. The remaining patients 48.3% (1158) had more than one diagnostic. The most common associations were asthma and rhinitis 716 (30%), 72 patients (3%) with asthma and atopic dermatitis, 48 patients (2%) with some immune deficiency and asthma and/or rhinitis, 12 (0.5%) with prurigo and atopic dermatitis, 8 (0.3%) with urticaria and 11 patients (4.5%) with other diagnoses such as reflux or infections.
Allergic diseases are common on pediatric population and children under 5 years old asthma and rhinitis is theprincipal cause of consultation.
PMCID: PMC3513141
13.  Feasibility of Linking Population-Based Cancer Registries and Cancer Center Biorepositories 
Biopreservation and Biobanking  2012;10(5):416-420.
Purpose: Biospecimen-based research offers tremendous promise as a way to increase understanding of the molecular epidemiology of cancers. Population-based cancer registries can augment this research by providing more clinical detail and long-term follow-up information than is typically available from biospecimen annotations. In order to demonstrate the feasibility of this concept, we performed a pilot linkage between the California Cancer Registry (CCR) and the University of California, Davis Cancer Center Biorepository (UCD CCB) databases to determine if we could identify patients with records in both databases. Methods: We performed a probabilistic data linkage between 2180 UCD CCB biospecimen records collected during the years 2005–2009 and all CCR records for cancers diagnosed from 1988–2009 based on standard data linkage procedures. Results: The 1040 UCD records with a unique medical record number, tissue site, and pathology date were linked to 3.3 million CCR records. Of these, 844 (81.2%) were identified in both databases. Overall, record matches were highest (100%) for cancers of the cervix and testis/other male genital system organs. For the most common cancers, matches were highest for cancers of the lung and respiratory system (93%), breast (91.7%), and colon and rectum (89.5%), and lower for prostate (72.9%). Conclusions: This pilot linkage demonstrated that information on existing biospecimens from a cancer center biorepository can be linked successfully to cancer registry data. Linkages between existing biorepositories and cancer registries can foster productive collaborations and provide a foundation for virtual biorepository networks to support population-based biospecimen research.
PMCID: PMC4076995  PMID: 24845042
14.  Prevalence of Allergic Disorders among Primary School-Aged Children in Madinah, Saudi Arabia: Two-Stage Cross-Sectional Survey 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36848.
There are limited data on the epidemiology of allergic disorders in Saudi Arabia. Such data are needed for, amongst other things, helping to plan service provision at a time when there is considerable investment taking place in national healthcare development. We sought to estimate the prevalence of atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis and asthma in primary school children in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a two-stage cross-sectional survey of schoolchildren in Madinah. Children were recruited from 38 randomly selected schools. Questionnaires were sent to the parents of all 6,139 6–8 year old children in these schools. These parental-completed questionnaires incorporated questions from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), which had previously been validated for use in Arab populations. We undertook descriptive analyses, using the Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) to calculate 95% confidence intervals. The overall response rate was 85.9% (n = 5,188), 84.6% for girls and 86.2% for boys, respectively. Overall, parents reported symptoms suggestive of a history of eczema in 10.3% (95%CI 9.4, 11.4), rhinitis in 24.2% (95%CI 22.3, 26.2) and asthma in 23.6% (95%CI 21.3, 26.0) of children. Overall, 41.7% (95%CI 39.1, 44.4) of children had symptoms suggestive of at least one allergic disorder, with a substantial minority manifesting symptoms indicative of co-morbid allergic disease. Comparison of these symptom-based prevalence estimates with reports of clinician-diagnosed disease suggested that the majority of children with eczema and asthma had been diagnosed, but only a minority (17.4%) of children had been diagnosed with rhinitis. International comparisons indicated that children in Madinah have amongst the highest prevalence of allergic problems in the world.
Symptoms indicative of allergic disease are very common in primary school-aged children in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, with figures comparable to the highest risk regions in the world.
PMCID: PMC3355178  PMID: 22615824
15.  The associations between ADHD and asthma in Korean children 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:70.
The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the most common neuropsychiatric disorder in school children, and childhood allergic disease by evaluating their respective prevalence.
Subjects were comprised of first and second grade students in twenty two elementary schools in a city in the Republic of Korea. The mode of measurement for ADHD was based on DSM-IV from clinical interviews conducted by child psychiatrists. Along with the diagnostic interviews, we also used the epidemiological questionnaires, Computerized Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnostic System, the abbreviated Conner’s Parent Rating Scale (CPRS), and DuPaul’s ADHD Rating Scales. Allergic conditions, such as asthma, have been separately evaluated based on the questionnaire items whose validity and reliability were proved by the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children (ISAAC). All questionnaires were completed by the subjects’ parents.
The lifetime prevalence rate of asthma in ADHD patients was 36.6%, compared to a prevalence of 24.3% in control subjects. The lifetime prevalence rate of allergic rhinitis in ADHD patients was 59.0%, compared to a prevalence of 47.0% in control subjects. Statistically significant difference has been found between the two groups. In the logistic regression model of the ADHD and the control group, the relative risk of asthma was 1.60 times higher (confidence interval 1.301-1.964), the relative risk of allergic rhinitis was 1.38 times higher (confidence interval 1.124-1.681), which showed statistical significance.
The findings of this study suggest significant association between ADHD and childhood asthma and allergic rhinitis. Therefore, appropriate evaluation and treatment are needed for asthmatic children with attention-deficit symptoms, or allergic rhinitis with ADHD. Besides, further research is needed to determine the etiological approach towards ADHD, asthma, and allergic rhinitis.
PMCID: PMC3975298  PMID: 24606878
ADHD; Asthma; Allergic rhinitis; Children
16.  Analysis of Food Allergy in Atopic Dermatitis Patients – Association with Concomitant Allergic Diseases 
Indian Journal of Dermatology  2014;59(5):445-450.
A few reports demonstrate the comorbidity of food allergy and allergic march in adult patients.
Aims and Objectives:
To evaluate, if there is some relation in atopic dermatitis patients at the age 14 years and older who suffer from food allergy to common food allergens to other allergic diseases and parameters as bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, duration of atopic dermatitis, family history and onset of atopic dermatitis.
Materials and Methods:
Complete dermatological and allergological examination was performed; these parameters were examined: food allergy (to wheat flour, cow milk, egg, peanuts and soy), the occurrence of bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, duration of atopic dermatitis, family history and onset of atopic dermatitis. The statistical evaluation of the relations among individual parameters monitored was performed.
Food allergy was altogether confirmed in 65 patients (29%) and these patients suffer significantly more often from bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis. Persistent atopic dermatitis lesions and positive data in family history about atopy are recorded significantly more often in patients with confirmed food allergy to examined foods as well. On the other hand, the onset of atopic dermatitis under 5 year of age is not recorded significantly more often in patients suffering from allergy to examined foods.
Atopic dermatitis patients suffering from food allergy suffer significantly more often from allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, persistent eczematous lesions and have positive data about atopy in their family history.
PMCID: PMC4171910  PMID: 25284847
Bronchial asthma; atopic dermatitis; family history; food allergy; onset of atopic dermatitis; persistent eczematous lesions; allergic rhinitis
17.  Allergic and non-allergic rhinitis: relationship with nasal polyposis, asthma and family history 
Rhinitis and rhinosinusitis (with/without polyposis), either allergic or non-allergic, represent a major medical problem. Their associated comorbidities and relationship with family history have so far been poorly investigated. We assessed these aspects in a large population of patients suffering from rhinosinusal diseases. Clinical history, nasal cytology, allergy testing and direct nasal examination were performed in all patients referred for rhinitis/rhinosinusitis. Fibre optic nasal endoscopy, CT scan and nasal challenge were used for diagnosis, when indicated. A total of 455 patients (60.7% male, age range 4-84 years) were studied; 108 (23.7%) had allergic rhinitis, 128 (28.1%) rhinosinusitis with polyposis, 107 (23.5%) non-allergic rhinitis (negative skin test); 112 patients had associated allergic and non-allergic rhinitis, the majority with eosinophilia. There was a significant association between non-allergic rhinitis and family history of nasal polyposis (OR = 4.45; 95%CI = 1.70-11.61; p = 0.0019), whereas this association was no longer present when allergic rhinitis was also included. Asthma was equally frequent in non-allergic and allergic rhinitis, but more frequent in patients with polyposis. Aspirin sensitivity was more frequent in nasal polyposis, independent of the allergic (p = 0.03) or non-allergic (p = 0.01) nature of rhinitis. Nasal polyposis is significantly associated with asthma and positive family history of asthma, partially independent of the allergic aetiology of rhinitis.
PMCID: PMC3970223  PMID: 24711681
Allergic rhinitis; Non-allergic rhinitis; Nasal polyposis; Nasal cytology; Family history; Atopy
18.  Halting the Allergic March 
The prevalence of childhood allergic diseases, such as allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis, has increased exponentially. In Singapore, the prevalence of asthma at all ages exceeds 20%, and around 50% of Singaporean children show features of an underlying allergy. The exact environmental causes for the increase of allergic diseases have not yet been identified, but most researchers agree that a decreased bacterial load in young children may be one of the reasons for the increase. However, the causes of allergy are multiple, and the development of an allergic disease is the result of complex interactions between genetic constitution and environmental factors. In this review article, different aspects of allergic sensitization are covered, including prenatal and postnatal sensitization. The phenomenon of the "allergic march" (switching from one clinical expression of allergy to another) and its underlying mechanisms are discussed. The last part of this review article is on prevention and treatment of allergic diseases, including the role of bacterial products (probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics) and the role of immunotherapy, including sublingual immunotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3650954  PMID: 23283392
review; allergy; children; allergic march; probiotics; immunotherapy
19.  IgE mediated food allergy in Korean children: focused on plant food allergy 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2013;3(1):15-22.
Food allergy (FA) is a worldwide problem, with increasing prevalence in many countries, and it poses a clearly increasing health problem in Korea. In Korea, as a part of International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood (ISAAC), a series of nation-wide population studies for prevalence of allergic disease in children were carried out, with the Korean version of ISAAC in 1995, 2000, and 2010. From the survey, the twelve-month prevalence of FA showed no significant differences from 1995 to 2000 in both age groups (6-12 years-old, 6.5% in 1995 and 5.7% in 2000; 12-15 year-olds, 7.4% in 1995 and 8.6% in 2000). The mean lifetime prevalence of FA which had ever been diagnosed by medical doctor was 4.7% in 6-12 year-olds and 5.1% in 12-15 year-olds respectively in 2000. In Korean children, the major causes of FA are almost same as in other countries, although the order prevalence may vary, a prime example of which being that peanut and tree nut allergies are not prevalent, as in western countries. Both pediatric emergency department (ED) visits and deaths relating to food induced anaphylaxis have also increased in western countries. From a study which based on data from the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (KHIRA) from 2001 to 2007, the incidence of anaphylaxis under the age of 19 was 0.7-1 per 100,000 person-year, and foods (24.9%) were the most commonly identified cause of childhood anaphylaxis. In another epidemiologic study, involving 78889 patients aged 0-18 years who visited the EDs of 9 hospitals during June 2008 to Mar 2009, the incidence of food related anaphylaxis was 4.56 per 10,000 pediatric ED visits. From these studies, common causes of food related anaphylaxis were seafood, buckwheat, cow's milk, fruits, peanut and tree nuts. Although systematic epidemiologic studies have not reported on the matter, recently, plant foods related allergy has increased in Korean children. Among 804 children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, we reveals that the peanut sensitization rate in Korea reaches 18%, and that, when sensitized to peanut, patients showed a significant tendency to have co-sensitization with house dust mites, egg white, wheat, and soybean. The higher specific IgE to peanut was related to the likelihood of the patient developing severe systemic reactions. In another study, based on the data analysis of 69 patients under 4 years of age who had suspected peanut and tree nut allergy, 22 (31.9%) were sensitized to walnut (>0.35 kU/L, 0.45-27.4 kU/L) and 6 (8.7%) experienced anaphylaxis due to a small amount of walnut exposure. Furthermore, in this review, clinical and immunological studies on plant food allergies, such as buckwheat allergy, rice allergy, barley allergy, and kiwi fruit allergy, in Korean children are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3563016  PMID: 23403730
Food allergy; Korean children; Anaphylaxis; Plant food allergy
20.  292 The Relationship Between Maternal Atopy and Childhood Asthma 
The diagnostic difficulty of childhood asthma leads to widespread under-diagnosis, which negatively affects the quality of life of asthmatic children. The presence of atopy in children is often used as a clinical tool to assist in making the diagnosis. However, local studies have demonstrated that atopy occurs in fewer asthmatic children than previously thought. This brings into question the association between allergy and asthma. The purpose of this study was to determine if a family history of allergy is predictive of atopic asthma in children, by comparing allergy, history of asthma and allergic symptoms, in mothers of atopic versus non-atopic asthmatic children.
A random sample of children and their mothers attending the Children's Chest and Allergy Clinic at Steve Biko Academic Hospital were enrolled. Skin-prick testing or radioallergosorbent test results, of the children were obtained from the child's hospital records. Mothers completed a detailed questionnaire which included demographic details, a history of symptoms suggestive of ‘atopy’ and allergic diseases and a history of asthma. Skin prick testing was performed on the mothers.
100 children and their parents were enrolled. 64 mothers to atopic children were used as the study group and 36 mothers to non-atopic children were used as the control group. Of the 48 mothers with a positive skin prick test, 30 (64%) had atopic children (P = 0.836). Of the 16 mothers with asthma, 14 (88%) had atopic children (P = 0.045). Of the 70 mothers with a history of symptoms suggestive of an allergic disease, 45 (64%) had children with atopic asthma (P = 1.0). Of the 77 mothers who were considered to be allergic, 50 (65%) had children with atopic asthma (P = 0.806).
Both maternal skin prick positivity and a history of symptoms suggestive of allergic disease, are poor predictors of atopic asthma in children. This is true even in the mothers were considered to be allergic. However maternal asthma is a specific predictor of childhood atopic asthma with a good positive predictive and a high odds ratio. Further studies need to be conducted to compare the epidemiology of allergic asthma in different population groups.
PMCID: PMC3513181
21.  Aeroallergen Sensitization in Healthy Children: Racial and Socioeconomic Correlates 
The Journal of pediatrics  2007;151(2):187-191.
Allergic sensitization is very prevalent and often precedes the development of allergic disease. This study examined the association of race with allergic sensitization among healthy children with no family history of atopy.
Study design
275 children, predominantly from lower socioeconomic strata, from Cincinnati, OH aged 2 to 18 years without a family or personal history of allergic diseases, underwent skin prick testing to eleven allergen panels. The Pediatric Allergic Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire (PADQLQ) was used to examine the impact of sensitization on quality of life.
39% of healthy children were sensitized to ≥1 allergen panels. Multivariate logistic regression showed increased risk among African American children for any sensitization (OR 2.17; [95% CI; 1.23, 3.84]) and sensitization to any outdoor allergen (OR 2.96 [95% CI; 1.52, 5.74]). 86% of children had PADQLQ scores ≤1 (0 to 6 scale).
Allergic sensitization is prevalent even among children who do not have a personal or family history of asthma, allergic rhinitis, or atopic dermatitis, and who have no evidence of current even subtle effects from this sensitization on allergic-disease related quality of life. African American children are at greater risk for presence of sensitization, especially to outdoor allergens.
PMCID: PMC2013934  PMID: 17643776
Allergic sensitization; atopy; race; quality of life; child
22.  The Cohort for Childhood Origin of Asthma and allergic diseases (COCOA) study: design, rationale and methods 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:109.
This paper describes the background, aim, and design of a prospective birth-cohort study in Korea called the COhort for Childhood Origin of Asthma and allergic diseases (COCOA). COCOA objectives are to investigate the individual and interactive effects of genetics, perinatal environment, maternal lifestyle, and psychosocial stress of mother and child on pediatric susceptibility to allergic diseases.
The participants in COCOA represents a Korean inner-city population. Recruitment started on 19 November, 2007 and will continue until 31 December, 2015. Recruitment is performed at five medical centers and eight public-health centers for antenatal care located in Seoul. Participating mother-baby pairs are followed from before birth to adolescents. COCOA investigates whether the following five environmental variables contribute causally to the development and natural course of allergic diseases: (1) perinatal indoor factors (i.e. house-dust mite, bacterial endotoxin, tobacco smoking, and particulate matters 2.5 and 10), (2) perinatal outdoor pollutants, (3) maternal prenatal psychosocial stress and the child’s neurodevelopment, (4) perinatal nutrition, and (5) perinatal microbiome. Cord blood and blood samples from the child are used to assess whether the child’s genes and epigenetic changes influence allergic-disease susceptibility. Thus, COCOA aims to investigate the contributions of genetics, epigenetics, and various environmental factors in early life to allergic-disease susceptibility in later life. How these variables interact to shape allergic-disease susceptibility is also a key aim.
The COCOA data collection schedule includes 11 routine standardized follow-up assessments of all children at 6 months and every year until 10 years of age, regardless of allergic-disease development. The mothers will complete multiple questionnaires to assess the baseline characteristics, the child’s exposure to environmental factors, maternal pre- and post-natal psychological stress, and the child’s neurodevelopment, nutritional status, and development of allergic and respiratory illnesses. The child’s microbiome, genes, epigenetics, plasma cytokine levels, and neuropsychological status, the microbiome of the residence, and the levels of indoor and outdoor pollutants are measured by standard procedures.
The COCOA study will improve our understanding of how individual genetic or environmental risk factors influence susceptibility to allergic disease and how these variables interact to shape the phenotype of allergic diseases.
PMCID: PMC4099383  PMID: 24990471
Cohort study; Gene-environment interaction; Allergy; Microbiota; Nutritional Status; Psychologic stress
23.  Variants in a Novel Epidermal Collagen Gene (COL29A1) Are Associated with Atopic Dermatitis 
PLoS Biology  2007;5(9):e242.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disorder and a major manifestation of allergic disease. AD typically presents in early childhood often preceding the onset of an allergic airway disease, such as asthma or hay fever. We previously mapped a susceptibility locus for AD on Chromosome 3q21. To identify the underlying disease gene, we used a dense map of microsatellite markers and single nucleotide polymorphisms, and we detected association with AD. In concordance with the linkage results, we found a maternal transmission pattern. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the same families contribute to linkage and association. We replicated the association and the maternal effect in a large independent family cohort. A common haplotype showed strong association with AD (p = 0.000059). The associated region contained a single gene, COL29A1, which encodes a novel epidermal collagen. COL29A1 shows a specific gene expression pattern with the highest transcript levels in skin, lung, and the gastrointestinal tract, which are the major sites of allergic disease manifestation. Lack of COL29A1 expression in the outer epidermis of AD patients points to a role of collagen XXIX in epidermal integrity and function, the breakdown of which is a clinical hallmark of AD.
Author Summary
Atopic dermatitis (AD, eczema) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disorder and a major manifestation of allergic disease. Typically, AD first occurs in early childhood, often preceding the onset of allergic airways disease, such as asthma and hay fever. A family history of allergic disorders is the single strongest predictor for AD, showing that genetic factors play a major role in the disease development. We have previously mapped a disease locus for AD on Chromosome 3q21, Now we have used a dense map of microsatellite markers and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to find the underlying disease gene. We identified genetic markers in a subregion that showed association with AD, and replicated this finding in a large independent family cohort. The associated region contained a single gene, COL29A1, which encodes a novel collagen. We demonstrate that AD patients lack COL29A1 expression in the outer epidermis, implicating collagen XXIX in epidermal integrity and function. The gene expression pattern of COL29A1 in other organs, including the lung and the gut, suggests that this gene could have a role in a wider spectrum of allergic diseases and may provide a molecular link between AD and respiratory airways disease and food allergies.
The gene underlying atopic dermatitis susceptibility has been identified by gene mapping as expressing a novel collagen, whose expression is lacking in the outer epidermis of atopic dermatitis patients.
PMCID: PMC1971127  PMID: 17850181
24.  The Prevalence of Atopic Dermatitis, Asthma, and Allergic Rhinitis and the Comorbidity of Allergic Diseases in Children 
Childhood allergic diseases are a major concern because they lead to a heavy economic burden and poor quality of life. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of childhood atopic dermatitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and the comorbidity of allergic diseases in Seoul, Korea.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey between May and October 2010 to evaluate the prevalence of childhood allergic diseases, including atopic dermatitis, asthma, and allergic rhinitis, using a questionnaire from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood group. Each questionnaire was completed by the parent or guardian of a child.
In the 31,201 children studied, the prevalence of atopic dermatitis symptoms in the past 12 months was 19.3% in children 0 to 3 years of age, 19.7% in children 4 to 6 years of age, 16.7% in children 7 to 9 years of age, and 14.5% in children 10 to 13 years of age (p for trend < 0.001). The prevalence of asthma in these age groups was 16.5%, 9.8%, 6.5%, and 5.4%, respectively (p for trend < 0.001). The prevalence of allergic rhinitis in these age groups was 28.5%, 38.0%, 38.5%, and 35.9%, respectively (p for trend = 0.043). The percentage of subjects with both atopic dermatitis and asthma, both asthma and allergic rhinitis, or both atopic dermatitis and allergic rhinitis was 2.5%, 4.7%, and 8.7%, respectively. The prevalence of comorbid allergic diseases decreased with age (p for trend < 0.001).
Our study revealed that the prevalence of some allergic diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and asthma, was relatively high in very young children and that all of the principal allergic diseases in children often co-exist.
PMCID: PMC3282234  PMID: 22359737
Allergic diseases; Allergic rhinitis; Asthma; Atopic dermatitis; Children; Prevalence
25.  The NIDDK Central Repository at 8 years—Ambition, Revision, Use and Impact 
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Central Repository makes data and biospecimens from NIDDK-funded research available to the broader scientific community. It thereby facilitates: the testing of new hypotheses without new data or biospecimen collection; pooling data across several studies to increase statistical power; and informative genetic analyses using the Repository’s well-curated phenotypic data. This article describes the initial database plan for the Repository and its revision using a simpler model. Among the lessons learned were the trade-offs between the complexity of a database design and the costs in time and money of implementation; the importance of integrating consent documents into the basic design; the crucial need for linkage files that associate biospecimen IDs with the masked subject IDs used in deposited data sets; and the importance of standardized procedures to test the integrity data sets prior to distribution. The Repository is currently tracking 111 ongoing NIDDK-funded studies many of which include genotype data, and it houses over 5 million biospecimens of more than 25 types including serum, plasma, stool, urine, DNA, red blood cells, buffy coat and tissue. Repository resources have supported a range of biochemical, clinical, statistical and genetic research (188 external requests for clinical data and 31 for biospecimens have been approved or are pending). Genetic research has included GWAS, validation studies, development of methods to improve statistical power of GWAS and testing of new statistical methods for genetic research. We anticipate that the future impact of the Repository’s resources on biomedical research will be enhanced by (i) cross-listing of Repository biospecimens in additional searchable databases and biobank catalogs; (ii) ongoing deployment of new applications for querying the contents of the Repository; and (iii) increased harmonization of procedures, data collection strategies, questionnaires etc. across both research studies and within the vocabularies used by different repositories.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC3243603  PMID: 21959867

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