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1.  Impact of primary food allergies on the introduction of other foods amongst Canadian children and their siblings 
Background
Food-allergic children frequently avoid other highly allergenic foods. The NIAID 2010 guidelines state that individuals with an IgE-mediated food allergy should avoid their specific allergens and physicians should help patients to decide whether certain cross-reactive foods also should be avoided. Patients at risk for developing food allergy do not need to limit exposure to foods that may be cross-reactive with the major food allergens. The purpose of this study was to determine if parents of food-allergic children are given advice regarding introduction of allergenic foods; if these foods are avoided or delayed; if there is anxiety when introducing new foods; and if introducing other allergenic foods leads to any allergic reaction. The study also determined if there was a similar pattern seen amongst younger siblings.
Methods
An online survey was administered between December 2011 and March 2012 via Anaphylaxis Canada’s website, available to Canadian parents and caregivers who are registered members of the organization and who have a child with a food allergy.
Results
644 parents completed the online survey. 51% of families were given advice regarding the introduction of other allergenic foods. 72% were told to avoid certain foods, and 41% to delay certain foods. 58% of parents did avoid or delay other highly allergenic foods, mainly due to a fear of allergic reaction. 69% of children did not have an allergic reaction when these foods were subsequently introduced. 68% of parents felt moderate or high levels of anxiety when introducing other foods. A similar pattern was seen amongst the younger siblings.
Conclusions
Canadian parents and caregivers of children with food allergies receive varied advice from health care professionals regarding the introduction of new allergenic foods, and feel moderate to high levels of anxiety. A similar pattern may be seen amongst younger siblings. While the majority of children in our study did not have an allergic reaction to a new food, a significant proportion of children did react. A more consistent approach to the advice given by health care professionals may decrease parental anxiety. Further research to support the 2010 NIAID guidelines may be necessary to clarify recommendations.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-10-26
PMCID: PMC4063690  PMID: 24949023
Food allergy; Siblings; Food introduction; Anxiety
2.  Food allergy knowledge, attitudes and beliefs: Focus groups of parents, physicians and the general public 
BMC Pediatrics  2008;8:36.
Background
Food allergy prevalence is increasing in US children. Presently, the primary means of preventing potentially fatal reactions are avoidance of allergens, prompt recognition of food allergy reactions, and knowledge about food allergy reaction treatments. Focus groups were held as a preliminary step in the development of validated survey instruments to assess food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of parents, physicians, and the general public.
Methods
Eight focus groups were conducted between January and July of 2006 in the Chicago area with parents of children with food allergy (3 groups), physicians (3 groups), and the general public (2 groups). A constant comparative method was used to identify the emerging themes which were then grouped into key domains of food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs.
Results
Parents of children with food allergy had solid fundamental knowledge but had concerns about primary care physicians' knowledge of food allergy, diagnostic approaches, and treatment practices. The considerable impact of children's food allergies on familial quality of life was articulated. Physicians had good basic knowledge of food allergy but differed in their approach to diagnosis and advice about starting solids and breastfeeding. The general public had wide variation in knowledge about food allergy with many misconceptions of key concepts related to prevalence, definition, and triggers of food allergy.
Conclusion
Appreciable food allergy knowledge gaps exist, especially among physicians and the general public. The quality of life for children with food allergy and their families is significantly affected.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-8-36
PMCID: PMC2564918  PMID: 18803842
3.  Exploring Perceptions and Experiences of Food Allergy among New Canadians from Asia 
Journal of Allergy  2014;2014:964504.
Introduction. In Canada, perceived prevalence of food allergy surpasses systematic estimates. Canadian immigrants have been found more likely to rate the risk of food allergy as “high” compared to nonimmigrants. Methods. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 3 key informants and 18 allergic individuals of East and Southeast Asian descent in order to capture their lived experience with food allergies. Results. Participants found food allergies to be more common in Canada than in Asia. Participants also agreed that having a food allergy is more manageable in Canada as a result of the policy environment (e.g., food labelling and school policies). In addition, participants had dealt with skepticism and disbelief about their food allergy in Asia, resulting in social exclusion and impacting quality of life. Discussion. Findings demonstrate the need to recognize the varied impacts and experiences of food allergy among new Canadians, given that immigrants represent a large and growing proportion of the Canadian population.
doi:10.1155/2014/964504
PMCID: PMC4065709  PMID: 24995022
4.  Early Life Eczema, Food Introduction, and Risk of Food Allergy in Children 
The effect of food introduction timing on the development of food allergy remains controversial. We sought to examine whether the presence of childhood eczema changes the relationship between timing of food introduction and food allergy. The analysis includes 960 children recruited as part of a family-based food allergy cohort. Food allergy was determined by objective symptoms developing within 2 hours of ingestion, corroborated by skin prick testing/specific IgE. Physician diagnosis of eczema and timing of formula and solid food introduction were obtained by standardized interview. Cox Regression analysis provided hazard ratios for the development of food allergy for the same subgroups. Logistic regression models estimated the association of eczema and formula/food introduction with the risk of food allergy, individually and jointly. Of the 960 children, 411 (42.8%) were allergic to 1 or more foods and 391 (40.7%) had eczema. Children with eczema had a 8.4-fold higher risk of food allergy (OR, 95% CI: 8.4, 5.9–12.1). Among all children, later (>6 months) formula and rice/wheat cereal introduction lowered the risk of food allergy. In joint analysis, children without eczema who had later formula (OR, 95% CI: 0.5, 0.3–0.9) and later (>1 year) solid food (OR, 95% CI: 0.5, 0.3–0.95) introduction had a lower risk of food allergy. Among children with eczema, timing of food or formula introduction did not modify the risk of developing food allergy. Later food introduction was protective for food allergy in children without eczema but did not alter the risk of developing food allergy in children with eczema.
doi:10.1089/ped.2010.0014
PMCID: PMC3281290  PMID: 22375277
5.  Is Food Insecurity Associated with HIV Risk? Cross-Sectional Evidence from Sexually Active Women in Brazil 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(4):e1001203.
Alexander Tsai and colleagues show that in sexually active women in Brazil severe food insecurity with hunger was positively associated with symptoms potentially indicative of sexually transmitted infection and with reduced odds of condom use.
Background
Understanding how food insecurity among women gives rise to differential patterning in HIV risks is critical for policy and programming in resource-limited settings. This is particularly the case in Brazil, which has undergone successive changes in the gender and socio-geographic composition of its complex epidemic over the past three decades. We used data from a national survey of Brazilian women to estimate the relationship between food insecurity and HIV risk.
Methods and Findings
We used data on 12,684 sexually active women from a national survey conducted in Brazil in 2006–2007. Self-reported outcomes were (a) consistent condom use, defined as using a condom at each occasion of sexual intercourse in the previous 12 mo; (b) recent condom use, less stringently defined as using a condom with the most recent sexual partner; and (c) itchy vaginal discharge in the previous 30 d, possibly indicating presence of a sexually transmitted infection. The primary explanatory variable of interest was food insecurity, measured using the culturally adapted and validated Escala Brasiliera de Segurança Alimentar. In multivariable logistic regression models, severe food insecurity with hunger was associated with a reduced odds of consistent condom use in the past 12 mo (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.67; 95% CI, 0.48–0.92) and condom use at last sexual intercourse (AOR = 0.75; 95% CI, 0.57–0.98). Self-reported itchy vaginal discharge was associated with all categories of food insecurity (with AORs ranging from 1.46 to 1.94). In absolute terms, the effect sizes were large in magnitude across all outcomes. Underweight and/or lack of control in sexual relations did not appear to mediate the observed associations.
Conclusions
Severe food insecurity with hunger was associated with reduced odds of condom use and increased odds of itchy vaginal discharge, which is potentially indicative of sexually transmitted infection, among sexually active women in Brazil. Interventions targeting food insecurity may have beneficial implications for HIV prevention in resource-limited settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
At the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, more men than women were infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, but currently half of all HIV-positive adults are women. Most women become infected with HIV through unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected male partner. Biologically, women are twice as likely to become infected through unprotected heterosexual intercourse as men. Moreover, women are often unable to negotiate condom use because of unequal gender relations—men can insist on unprotected sexual intercourse in many relationships. Another factor often related to unequal gender relations that may shape women's risk of exposure to HIV is food insecurity—limited or uncertain access to enough nutritionally adequate and safe food for an active, healthy life. Recent studies done in sub-Saharan Africa suggest that food insecurity can affect women's engagement in risky sexual behaviors such as unprotected sex, transactional sex (sexual relationships that involve the giving of goods or services such as free lodgings), and commercial sex work.
Why Was This Study Done?
Policymakers planning HIV prevention strategies in resource-limited settings need to know whether food insecurity affects sexual risk taking among women. If it increases risk taking, then interventions that target food insecurity should improve the effectiveness of HIV prevention strategies. However, little is known about food insecurity and sexual risk taking outside sub-Saharan Africa. In this cross-sectional study (a study that characterizes a population at a single point in time), the researchers investigate whether food insecurity is associated with risky sexual behavior among sexually active women in Brazil, a country where the number of new heterosexually transmitted HIV infections among women is increasing. Condom promotion is the mainstay of Brazil's HIV prevention strategy, but less than half of the population reports the use of a condom whenever sexual intercourse occurs (consistent condom use) or at last sexual intercourse (recent condom use), and a greater proportion of men than women report condom use, possibly because of unequal power relations between men and women.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained data on consistent condom use, recent condom use, and self-reported itchy vaginal discharge in the previous 30 days (used here as an indication that a woman may have a sexually transmitted infection) for 12,684 sexually active women from a national survey conducted in Brazil in 2006–2007. They then used multivariable logistic regression (a statistical method) to investigate the association between these outcomes and food insecurity, which was measured using the Escala Brasiliera de Insegurança Alimentar, an 18-item questionnaire that asks people to recall information about the quantity and quality of food available to them over the previous three months. Severe food insecurity with hunger (the most extreme category of food insecurity) was associated with an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for consistent condom use of 0.67. That is, women who reported severe food insecurity were two-thirds as likely to use a condom whenever they had sexual intercourse as women who were food secure, after adjustment for other factors that might have affected condom use. The probability of consistent condom use was 15% among women who were food secure but only 10.5% among women who had the worst food security. Severe food insecurity with hunger was also associated with a reduced odds of recent condom use (AOR = 0.75), whereas all categories of food insecurity increased the odds of a recent itchy vaginal discharge.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that severe food insecurity with hunger is associated with reduced condom use and with increased occurrence of symptoms that may indicate sexually transmitted disease among sexually active women in Brazil. Because the study looked at women at only a single time point, these findings do not show that food insecurity causes risky sexual behavior. Moreover, these findings may not be generalizable to other settings, and they do not distinguish between regular condom use with a regular partner and regular condom use with casual partners. Also, although the researchers investigated two hypothesized explanations—lack of control in sexual relations and chronic energy deficiency—neither of these factors could explain why food insecurity is associated with risky sexual behavior. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that interventions that target sexual risk reduction behaviors are unlikely to be optimally effective if food insecurity is not taken into account, and, thus, the researchers conclude, HIV prevention strategies in Brazil should include interventions that target food insecurity.
Additional Information
Please access these web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001203.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment (in several languages)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV and AIDS prevention, women, HIV, and AIDS, and HIV and AIDS in Brazil (in English and Spanish); personal stories of women living with HIV are available
HIV InSite provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS from the University of California at San Francisco
Additional patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through the charity website Healthtalkonline
A primer on food security from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is available
Information about the 2006–2007 Brazilian national survey on health in women and children is available in Portuguese; a profile of food security in Brazil is also available (some information in English but mainly in Portuguese)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001203
PMCID: PMC3323512  PMID: 22505852
6.  What are the beliefs of pediatricians and dietitians regarding complementary food introduction to prevent allergy? 
Background
The timing of complementary food introduction is controversial. Providing information on the timing of dietary introduction is crucial to the primary prevention of food allergy. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers dietary recommendations that were updated in 2008.
Objective
Identify the recommendations that general pediatricians and registered dietitians provide to parents and delineate any differences in counselling.
Methods
A 9-item survey was distributed to pediatricians and dietitians online and by mail. Information on practitioner type, gender, length of practice and specific recommendations regarding complementary food introduction and exposure was collected.
Results
181 surveys were returned with a 54% response rate from pediatricians. It was not possible to calculate a meaningful dietitian response rate due to overlapping email databases. 52.5% of all respondents were pediatricians and 45.9% were dietitians. The majority of pediatricians and dietitians advise mothers that peanut abstinence during pregnancy and lactation is unnecessary. Dietitians were more likely to counsel mothers to breastfeed their infants to prevent development of atopic dermatitis than pediatricians. Hydrolyzed formulas for infants at risk of developing allergy were the top choice of formula amongst both practitioners. For food allergy prevention, pediatricians were more likely to recommend delayed introduction of peanut and egg, while most dietitians recommended no delay in allergenic food introduction.
Conclusions
In the prophylaxis of food allergy, pediatricians are less aware than dietitians of the current recommendation that there is no benefit in delaying allergenic food introduction beyond 4 to 6 months. More dietitians than pediatricians believe that breastfeeding decreases the risk of atopic dermatitis. Practitioners may benefit from increased awareness of current guidelines.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-8-3
PMCID: PMC3337797  PMID: 22436326
Food allergy; Children; Survey; Prevention; Dietary advice
7.  Tick-induced allergies: mammalian meat allergy, tick anaphylaxis and their significance 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2015;5(1):3-16.
Serious tick-induced allergies comprise mammalian meat allergy following tick bites and tick anaphylaxis. Mammalian meat allergy is an emergent allergy, increasingly prevalent in tick-endemic areas of Australia and the United States, occurring worldwide where ticks are endemic. Sensitisation to galactose-α-1,3-galactose (α-Gal) has been shown to be the mechanism of allergic reaction in mammalian meat allergy following tick bite. Whilst other carbohydrate allergens have been identified, this allergen is unique amongst carbohydrate food allergens in provoking anaphylaxis. Treatment of mammalian meat anaphylaxis involves avoidance of mammalian meat and mammalian derived products in those who also react to gelatine and mammalian milks. Before initiating treatment with certain therapeutic agents (e.g., cetuximab, gelatine-containing substances), a careful assessment of the risk of anaphylaxis, including serological analysis for α-Gal specific-IgE, should be undertaken in any individual who works, lives, volunteers or recreates in a tick endemic area. Prevention of tick bites may ameliorate mammalian meat allergy. Tick anaphylaxis is rare in countries other than Australia. Tick anaphylaxis is secondarily preventable by prevention and appropriate management of tick bites. Analysis of tick removal techniques in tick anaphylaxis sufferers offers insights into primary prevention of both tick and mammalian meat anaphylaxis. Recognition of the association between mammalian meat allergy and tick bites has established a novel cause and effect relationship between an environmental exposure and subsequent development of a food allergy, directing us towards examining environmental exposures as provoking factors pivotal to the development of other food allergies and refocusing our attention upon causation of allergy in general.
doi:10.5415/apallergy.2015.5.1.3
PMCID: PMC4313755  PMID: 25653915
Mammalian meat; Ticks; Anaphylaxis; Alpha-gal; Cetuximab
8.  Food allergy knowledge, perception of food allergy labeling, and level of dietary practice: A comparison between children with and without food allergy experience 
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES
The prevalence of food allergies in Korean children aged 6 to 12 years increased from 10.9% in 1995 to 12.6% in 2012 according to nationwide population studies. Treatment for food allergies is avoidance of allergenic-related foods and epinephrine auto-injector (EPI) for accidental allergic reactions. This study compared knowledge and perception of food allergy labeling and dietary practices of students.
SUBJECTS/METHODS
The study was conducted with the fourth to sixth grade students from an elementary school in Yongin. A total of 437 response rate (95%) questionnaires were collected and statistically analyzed.
RESULTS
The prevalence of food allergy among respondents was 19.7%, and the most common food allergy-related symptoms were urticaria, followed by itching, vomiting and nausea. Food allergens, other than 12 statutory food allergens, included cheese, cucumber, kiwi, melon, clam, green tea, walnut, grape, apricot and pineapple. Children with and without food allergy experience had a similar level of knowledge on food allergies. Children with food allergy experience thought that food allergy-related labeling on school menus was not clear or informative.
CONCLUSION
To understand food allergies and prevent allergic reactions to school foodservice among children, schools must provide more concrete and customized food allergy education.
doi:10.4162/nrp.2015.9.1.92
PMCID: PMC4317486
Elementary students; food allergy; labeling; dietary practice
9.  493 The Prevalence of Food Allergy in Children under 2 Years in Three Cities in China 
The World Allergy Organization Journal  2012;5(Suppl 2):S173-S174.
Background
To estimate the prevalence and clinical features of food allergy in children aged 0 to 2 years.
Methods
From January to February, 2009 and January to May, 2010, all well-infants and young children between the age of 0-2 years attending routine health visits at the Department of Primary Child Care, in Chongqing, Zhuhai and Hangzhou were invited to participate the study. Parents completed questionnaires and all children were skin prick tested to a panel of 10 foods (egg white, egg yolk, cow milk, soybean, peanut, wheat, fish, shrimp, orange and carrot). Based on the results of SPT and medical history, the subjects should undergo the suspected food elimination and oral food challenge under medical supervision. Food allergy was confirmed by the food challenge test.
Results
There were 1,687 children recruited by the consent of their parents. Of 1,687 children approached, 1,604 (550 for Chongqing, 573 for Zhuhai and 481 for Hangzhou) fulfilled the study criteria for diagnosing food allergy. 100 children were confirmed to have challenge-proven food allergy in 3 cities (40 for Chongqing, 33 for Zhuhai and 27 for Hangzhou). The prevalence of food allergy in 0 to 2 years old children in Chongqing was 7.3%, in Zhuhai was 5.8% and in Hangzhou was 5.5%. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of food allergy in children under 2 years among the 3 cities, and the average prevalence for food allergy in children under 2 years was 6.2%. Egg was the most common allergen, followed by cow milk.
Conclusions
The prevalence of food allergy in 0 to 2 years old children in China was 5.5% to 7.3%. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of food allergy in children under 2 years among the 3 cities. Egg was the most common allergen, followed by cow milk.
doi:10.1097/01.WOX.0000411608.35185.f5
PMCID: PMC3512627
10.  Season of Birth is Associated with Food Allergy in Children 
Background
The prevalence of food allergy is rising and etiologic factors remain uncertain. Evidence implicates a role of vitamin D in the development of atopic diseases. Based on seasonal patterns of UVB exposure (and consequent vitamin D status), we hypothesized that food allergy patients are more often born in fall or winter.
Objective
Investigate whether season of birth is associated with food allergy.
Methods
We performed a multicenter chart review of all patients presenting to three Boston emergency departments (EDs) for food-related acute allergic reactions between 1/1/01 and 12/31/06. Months of birth among food allergy patients were compared to those of patients visiting the ED for reasons other than food allergy.
Results
We studied 1,002 food allergy patients. Among younger children with food allergy (age <5 years) – but not among older children or adults – 41% were born in spring/summer compared to 59% in fall/winter (P=0.002). This approximately 40/60 ratio differed from birth season of children treated in the ED for non-food allergy reasons (P=0.002). Children <5 years old born in fall/winter had a 53% higher odds of food allergy compared to controls. This finding was independent of the suspected triggering food and allergic comorbidities.
Conclusions
Food allergy is more common in Boston children who were born in the fall and winter seasons. We propose that these findings are mediated by seasonal differences in UVB exposure. These results add support to the hypothesis that seasonal fluctuations in sunlight and perhaps vitamin D may be involved in the pathogenesis of food allergy.
doi:10.1016/j.anai.2010.01.019
PMCID: PMC2941399  PMID: 20408340
Food allergy; season of birth; epidemiology; UVB; vitamin D
11.  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
Background
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.
Conclusions
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
Background
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001611.
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)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001611
PMCID: PMC3949681  PMID: 24618794
12.  Preventing Acute Malnutrition among Young Children in Crises: A Prospective Intervention Study in Niger 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(9):e1001714.
Céline Langendorf and colleagues conducted a pragmatic intervention study in Niger to assess whether distributions of supplementary foods in addition to household support by cash transfer effectively reduced malnutrition in children aged 6 to 23 months.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Finding the most appropriate strategy for the prevention of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in young children is essential in countries like Niger with annual “hunger gaps.” Options for large-scale prevention include distribution of supplementary foods, such as fortified-blended foods or lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNSs) with or without household support (cash or food transfer). To date, there has been no direct controlled comparison between these strategies leading to debate concerning their effectiveness. We compared the effectiveness of seven preventive strategies—including distribution of nutritious supplementary foods, with or without additional household support (family food ration or cash transfer), and cash transfer only—on the incidence of SAM and MAM among children aged 6–23 months over a 5-month period, partly overlapping the hunger gap, in Maradi region, Niger. We hypothesized that distributions of supplementary foods would more effectively reduce the incidence of acute malnutrition than distributions of household support by cash transfer.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a prospective intervention study in 48 rural villages located within 15 km of a health center supported by Forum Santé Niger (FORSANI)/Médecins Sans Frontières in Madarounfa. Seven groups of villages (five to 11 villages) were allocated to different strategies of monthly distributions targeting households including at least one child measuring 60 cm–80 cm (at any time during the study period whatever their nutritional status): three groups received high-quantity LNS (HQ-LNS) or medium-quantity LNS (MQ-LNS) or Super Cereal Plus (SC+) with cash (€38/month [US$52/month]); one group received SC+ and family food ration; two groups received HQ-LNS or SC+ only; one group received cash only (€43/month [US$59/month]). Children 60 cm–80 cm of participating households were assessed at each monthly distribution from August to December 2011. Primary endpoints were SAM (weight-for-length Z-score [WLZ]<−3 and/or mid-upper arm circumference [MUAC]<11.5 cm and/or bipedal edema) and MAM (−3≤WLZ<−2 and/or 11.5≤MUAC<12.5 cm). A total of 5,395 children were included in the analysis (615 to 1,054 per group). Incidence of MAM was twice lower in the strategies receiving a food supplement combined with cash compared with the cash-only strategy (cash versus HQ-LNS/cash adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 2.30, 95% CI 1.60–3.29; cash versus SC+/cash HR = 2.42, 95% CI 1.39–4.21; cash versus MQ-LNS/cash HR = 2.07, 95% CI 1.52–2.83) or with the supplementary food only groups (HQ-LNS versus HQ-LNS/cash HR = 1.84, 95% CI 1.35–2.51; SC+ versus SC+/cash HR = 2.53, 95% CI 1.47–4.35). In addition, the incidence of SAM was three times lower in the SC+/cash group compared with the SC+ only group (SC+ only versus SC+/cash HR = 3.13, 95% CI 1.65–5.94). However, non-quantified differences between groups, may limit the interpretation of the impact of the strategies.
Conclusions
Preventive distributions combining a supplementary food and cash transfer had a better preventive effect on MAM and SAM than strategies relying on cash transfer or supplementary food alone. As a result, distribution of nutritious supplementary foods to young children in conjunction with household support should remain a pillar of emergency nutritional interventions. Additional rigorous research is vital to evaluate the effectiveness of these and other nutritional interventions in diverse settings.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01828814
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Good nutrition during childhood is essential for health and survival. Undernourished children are more susceptible to infection and are more likely to die from common ailments such as diarrhoea than well-nourished children. Malnutrition can be chronic or acute. Chronic (long-term) malnutrition causes stunting. A stunted child has a low height for his or her age when compared to the World Health Organization Child Growth Standards, which chart the growth of a reference population. By contrast, acute malnutrition causes wasting. A wasted child has a low weight for his or her height. Acute malnutrition, which is responsible for more than 800,000 deaths among children under 5 years old every year (12.6% of all deaths in this age group), often follows earthquakes or other emergencies but also occurs in countries such as Niger that regularly experience a “hunger gap,” a shortage of food in the months before the annual harvest. Interventions designed to prevent acute malnutrition include distributions of supplementary food such as lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) and fortified cereal products (for example, super cereal plus [SC+]) targeting children and household support in the form of food or cash transfers, which allow households to buy their own food.
Why Was This Study Done?
Governments and donor agencies need to know which preventative strategy is most effective, particularly among children under 2 years old who are most vulnerable to acute malnutrition. Here, the researchers compare the effectiveness of seven preventative strategies—including the distribution of nutritious supplementary foods with and without additional household support (food or cash transfer) and cash transfer alone—on the incidence (occurrence) of moderate and severe acute malnutrition among children aged 6–23 months living in 48 villages in the Madarounfa district of Niger between August and December, 2011. Niger regularly experiences a hunger gap between June and October; 12.9% of the population of the Madarounfa district was at risk of severe food insecurity at the time of the study.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers allocated the villages to receive high or medium quantity LNS plus cash, SC+ plus cash or a family food ration, high quantity LNS only, SC+ only, or cash only; the cash transfer was sufficient to meet the energy needs of an average household. The interventions were distributed once a month to households that included at least one child measuring 60–80 cm in length at any time during the study period (length is used as a proxy for age when the precise age of children is unknown). Eligible children in each participating household were assessed for moderate and severe acute malnutrition as defined by the World Health Organization by measuring their weight, length, and mid-upper arm circumference at each distribution. The incidence of moderate acute malnutrition was about twice as high among children who received the cash-only intervention as among those who received any of the food supplement plus cash. For example, the incidence of moderate acute malnutrition was 3.33 cases per 100 child-months among children who received the SC+ plus cash intervention but 7.97 cases per 100 child-months among those who received the cash-only intervention. Moreover, the incidence of severe acute malnutrition was about three times higher among the children who received the SC+ only intervention than among those who received the SC+ plus cash intervention.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, in this region of Niger, interventions that combined the distribution of supplementary food and a cash transfer prevented acute malnutrition more effectively than strategies that relied on cash transfer or supplementary food distribution alone. Unmeasured differences between the groups that affect the incidence of malnutrition may be responsible for some of the differences between intervention groups, and the incidences of malnutrition may have been different if the study period had covered the whole hunger gap. Moreover, these findings may not be generalizable to other regions of Niger or to other countries that experience an annual hunger gap. Despite these limitations, which highlight the need for further research into the effectiveness of nutritional interventions, these findings suggest that the distribution of supplementary foods to young children in conjunction with household support should remain an important part of nutritional interventions during the hunger gap and other emergencies.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001714.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Marco Kerac and Andrew Seal
More information about this prospective intervention study is available from ClinicalTrials.gov
The charity UNICEF, which protects the rights of children and young people around the world, provides detailed statistics on child undernutrition; it has detailed information about malnutrition and the humanitarian situation in Niger; a 2012 article on malnutrition among children in Niger includes a personal story about a child with severe acute malnutrition in Maradi
The World Health Organization Child Growth Standards are available (in several languages)
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals provides information on ongoing world efforts to reduce hunger and child mortality
The World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide; its website provides information about malnutrition in Niger, including a visual presentation on wide-scale targeted food distribution in the country
“Starved for Attention” is an international multimedia campaign launched in 2010 by Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) and the VII Photo agency to rewrite the story of childhood malnutrition; information about MSF's work in Niger to tackle malnutrition is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001714
PMCID: PMC4152259  PMID: 25180584
13.  The impact of food allergy on asthma 
Food allergy is a potentially severe immune response to a food or food additive. Although a majority of children will outgrow their food allergies, some may have lifelong issues. Food allergies and other atopic conditions, such as asthma, are increasing in prevalence in Western countries. As such, it is not uncommon to note the co-existence of food allergy and asthma in the same patient. As part of the atopic march, many food allergic patients may develop asthma later in life. Each can adversely affect the other. Food allergic patients with asthma have a higher risk of developing life-threatening food-induced reactions. Although food allergy is not typically an etiology of asthma, an asthmatic patient with food allergy may have higher rates of morbidity and mortality associated with the asthma. Asthma is rarely a manifestation of food allergy alone, but the symptoms can be seen with allergic reactions to foods. There may be evidence to suggest that early childhood environmental factors, such as the mother’s and child’s diets, factor in the development of asthma; however, the evidence continues to be conflicting. All food allergic patients and their families should be counseled on the management of food allergy and the risk of developing co-morbid asthma.
PMCID: PMC3047906  PMID: 21437041
food allergy; diagnosis; treatment; asthma
14.  Food allergies in developing and emerging economies: need for comprehensive data on prevalence rates 
Although much is known today about the prevalence of food allergy in the developed world, there are serious knowledge gaps about the prevalence rates of food allergy in developing countries. Food allergy affects up to 6% of children and 4% of adults. Symptoms include urticaria, gastrointestinal distress, failure to thrive, anaphylaxis and even death. There are over 170 foods known to provoke allergic reactions. Of these, the most common foods responsible for inducing 90% of reported allergic reactions are peanuts, milk, eggs, wheat, nuts (e.g., hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, etc.), soybeans, fish, crustaceans and shellfish. Current assumptions are that prevalence rates are lower in developing countries and emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India which raises questions about potential health impacts should the assumptions not be supported by evidence. As the health and social burden of food allergy can be significant, national and international efforts focusing on food security, food safety, food quality and dietary diversity need to pay special attention to the role of food allergy in order to avoid marginalization of sub-populations in the community. More importantly, as the major food sources used in international food aid programs are frequently priority allergens (e.g., peanut, milk, eggs, soybean, fish, wheat), and due to the similarities between food allergy and some malnutrition symptoms, it will be increasingly important to understand and assess the interplay between food allergy and nutrition in order to protect and identify appropriate sources of foods for sensitized sub-populations especially in economically disadvantaged countries and communities.
doi:10.1186/2045-7022-2-25
PMCID: PMC3551706  PMID: 23256652
Food allergy; Food hypersensitivity; Nutrition; Developing countries
15.  Tree Nut Allergy, Egg Allergy, and Asthma in Children 
Clinical pediatrics  2010;50(2):133-139.
Background
Children with food allergies often have concurrent asthma.
Objective
The authors aimed to determine the prevalence of asthma in children with food allergies and the association of specific food allergies with asthma.
Methods
Parental questionnaire data regarding food allergy, corroborated by allergic sensitization were completed for a cohort of 799 children with food allergies. Multivariate regression analysis tested the association between food allergy and reported asthma.
Results
In this cohort, the prevalence of asthma was 45.6%. After adjusting for each food allergy, environmental allergies, and family history of asthma, children with egg allergy (odds ratio [OR] = 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3–3.2; P < .01) or tree nut allergy (OR = 2.0; 95% CI = 1.1–3.6; P = .02) had significantly greater odds of report of asthma.
Conclusion
There is a high prevalence of asthma in the food-allergic pediatric population. Egg and tree nut allergy are significantly associated with asthma, independent of other risk factors.
doi:10.1177/0009922810384720
PMCID: PMC3070157  PMID: 21098525
asthma; food allergy; food hypersensitivity; nut allergy; nut hypersensitivity; egg allergy; egg hypersensitivity; pediatrics; allergy; asthma epidemiology
16.  Food allergy in Asia: how does it compare? 
Asia Pacific Allergy  2013;3(1):3-14.
Asia is a populous and diverse region and potentially an important source of information on food allergy. This review aims to summarize the current literature on food allergy from this region, comparing it with western populations. A PubMed search using strategies "Food allergy AND Asia", "Food anaphylaxis AND Asia", and "Food allergy AND each Asian country" was made. Overall, 53 articles, published between 2005 and 2012, mainly written in English were reviewed. The overall prevalence of food allergy in Asia is somewhat comparable to the West. However, the types of food allergy differ in order of relevance. Shellfish is the most common food allergen from Asia, in part due to the abundance of seafood in this region. It is unique as symptoms vary widely from oral symptoms to anaphylaxis for the same individual. Data suggest that house dust mite tropomysin may be a primary sensitizer. In contrast, peanut prevalence in Asia is extremely low compared to the West for reasons not yet understood. Among young children and infants, egg and cow's milk allergy are the two most common food allergies, with prevalence data comparable to western populations. Differences also exist within Asia. Wheat allergy, though uncommon in most Asian countries, is the most common cause of anaphylaxis in Japan and Korea, and is increasing in Thailand. Current food allergy data from Asia highlights important differences between East and West, and within the Asian region. Further work is needed to provide insight on the environmental risk factors accounting for these differences.
doi:10.5415/apallergy.2013.3.1.3
PMCID: PMC3563019  PMID: 23403837
Food Allergy; Asia; West; Epidemiology; Prevalence; Shellfish
17.  Loss-of-function variants in the filaggrin gene are a significant risk factor for peanut allergy 
Background
IgE-mediated peanut allergy is a complex trait with strong heritability, but its genetic basis is currently unknown. Loss-of-function mutations within the filaggrin gene are associated with atopic dermatitis and other atopic diseases; therefore, filaggrin is a candidate gene in the etiology of peanut allergy.
Objective
To investigate the association between filaggrin loss-of-function mutations and peanut allergy.
Methods
Case-control study of 71 English, Dutch, and Irish oral food challenge–positive patients with peanut allergy and 1000 non peanut-sensitized English population controls. Replication was tested in 390 white Canadian patients with peanut allergy (defined by food challenge, or clinical history and skin prick test wheal to peanut ≥8 mm and/or peanut-specific IgE ≥15 kUL−1) and 891 white Canadian population controls. The most prevalent filaggrin loss-of-function mutations were assayed in each population: R501X and 2282del4 in the Europeans, and R501X, 2282del4, R2447X, and S3247X in the Canadians. The Fisher exact test and logistic regression were used to test for association; covariate analysis controlled for coexistent atopic dermatitis.
Results
Filaggrin loss-of-function mutations showed a strong and significant association with peanut allergy in the food challenge–positive patients (P = 3.0 × 10−6; odds ratio, 5.3; 95% CI, 2.8-10.2), and this association was replicated in the Canadian study (P = 5.4 × 10−5; odds ratio, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.4-2.6). The association of filaggrin mutations with peanut allergy remains significant (P = .0008) after controlling for coexistent atopic dermatitis.
Conclusion
Filaggrin mutations represent a significant risk factor for IgE-mediated peanut allergy, indicating a role for epithelial barrier dysfunction in the pathogenesis of this disease.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2011.01.031
PMCID: PMC3081065  PMID: 21377035
Atopic dermatitis; filaggrin; IgE; peanut allergy; risk factor; AD, Atopic dermatitis; ALSPAC, Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children; FLG, Filaggrin; OR, Odds ratio; SPT, Skin prick test; UK, United Kingdom
18.  Diagnosis and management of non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy in infancy - a UK primary care practical guide 
The UK NICE guideline on the Diagnosis and Assessment of Food Allergy in Children and Young People was published in 2011, highlighting the important role of primary care physicians, dietitians, nurses and other community based health care professionals in the diagnosis and assessment of IgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies in children. The guideline suggests that those with suspected IgE-mediated disease and those suspected to suffer from severe non-IgE-mediated disease are referred on to secondary or tertiary level care. What is evident from this guideline is that the responsibility for the diagnostic food challenge, ongoing management and determining of tolerance to cow’s milk in children with less severe non-IgE-mediated food allergies is ultimately that of the primary care/community based health care staff, but this discussion fell outside of the current NICE guideline. Some clinical members of the guideline development group (CV, JW, ATF, TB) therefore felt that there was a particular need to extend this into a more practical guideline for cow’s milk allergy. This subset of the guideline development group with the additional expertise of a paediatric gastroenterologist (NS) therefore aimed to produce a UK Primary Care Guideline for the initial clinical recognition of all forms of cow’s milk allergy and the ongoing management of those with non-severe non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy in the form of algorithms. These algorithms will be discussed in this review paper, drawing on guidance primarily from the UK NICE guideline, but also from the DRACMA guidelines, ESPGHAN guidelines, Australian guidelines and the US NIAID guidelines.
doi:10.1186/2045-7022-3-23
PMCID: PMC3716921  PMID: 23835522
Cow’s milk allergy; Primary care; Food allergy; Diagnosis; Management; Hypoallergenic formula
19.  Eczema 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:1716.
Introduction
Eczema, as defined by the World Allergy Organization (WAO) revised nomenclature in 2003, affects 15% to 20% of school children and 2% to 5% of adults worldwide. About 50% of people with eczema demonstrate atopy, with specific immunoglobulin E responses to allergens.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of topical medical treatments, and dietary interventions in adults and children with established eczema? What are the effects of breastfeeding, reducing allergens, or dietary interventions for primary prevention of eczema in predisposed infants? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to May 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 54 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: breastfeeding, controlling house dust mites, corticosteroids, dietary exclusion of eggs or cow's milk, elementary diets, emollients, essential fatty oils, few-foods diet, multivitamins, pimecrolimus, probiotics, pyridoxine, reducing maternal dietary allergens, tacrolimus, vitamin E, and zinc supplements.
Key Points
Eczema, as defined by the World Allergy Organization (WAO) revised nomenclature in 2003, affects 15% to 20% of school children worldwide and 2% to 5% of adults. Only about 50% of people with eczema demonstrate allergic sensitisation. Remission occurs in two-thirds of children by the age of 15 years, but relapses may occur later.
Emollients are generally considered to be effective for treating the symptoms of eczema. However, the few small short-term RCTs that have been done so far do not confirm this. Sufficiently powered long-term RCTs are needed to clarify the role of emollients in the treatment of eczema.
Corticosteroids improve clearance of lesions and decrease relapse rates compared with placebo in adults and children with eczema, although we don't know which is the most effective corticosteroid or the most effective dosing regimen. Topical corticosteroids seem to have few adverse effects when used intermittently, but if they are of potent or very potent strength, they may cause burning, skin thinning, and telangiectasia, especially in children.
The calcineurin inhibitors pimecrolimus and tacrolimus improve clearance of lesions compared with placebo and may have a role in people in whom corticosteroids are contraindicated. They also seem suitable for topical use in body areas where the skin is particularly thin, such as the face.
CAUTION: An association has been suggested between pimecrolimus and tacrolimus and skin cancer in animal models. Although this association has not been confirmed in humans, calcineurin inhibitors should be used only when other treatments have failed.
We don't know whether vitamin E or multivitamins reduce symptoms in adults with eczema or whether pyridoxine, zinc supplementation, exclusion diets, or elemental diets are effective in children with eczema, as there are insufficient good-quality studies. Probiotics do not seem to reduce symptoms in children with established eczema. Essential fatty acids, such as evening primrose oil, blackcurrant seed oil, or fish oil, do not seem to reduce symptoms in people with eczema.
We don't know whether control of house dust mites or maternal dietary restriction can prevent the development of eczema in children. Observational data suggest that exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3 months does not reduce eczema risk and there is no evidence to suggest that exclusive breastfeeding alleviates eczema symptoms, unless a child is allergic to cow's milk protein.Introduction of probiotics in the last trimester of pregnancy and during breastfeeding may reduce the risk of eczema in the baby, although it remains unclear whether both antenatal and postnatal supplementation together yields the strongest protective effect. It is equally unclear which strains of probiotics are most effective.
PMCID: PMC3217753  PMID: 21609512
20.  Predictive value of specific IgE for clinical peanut allergy in children: relationship with eczema, asthma, and setting (primary or secondary care) 
The usefulness of peanut specific IgE levels for diagnosing peanut allergy has not been studied in primary and secondary care where most cases of suspected peanut allergy are being evaluated. We aimed to determine the relationship between peanut-specific IgE levels and clinical peanut allergy in peanut-sensitized children and how this was influenced by eczema, asthma and clinical setting (primary or secondary care). We enrolled 280 children (0–18 years) who tested positive for peanut-specific IgE (> 0.35 kU/L) requested by primary and secondary physicians. We used predefined criteria to classify participants into three groups: peanut allergy, no peanut allergy, or possible peanut allergy, based on responses to a validated questionnaire, a detailed food history, and results of oral food challenges.
Fifty-two participants (18.6%) were classified as peanut allergy, 190 (67.9%) as no peanut allergy, and 38 (13.6%) as possible peanut allergy. The association between peanut-specific IgE levels and peanut allergy was significant but weak (OR 1.46 for a 10.0 kU/L increase in peanut-specific IgE, 95% CI 1.28-1.67). Eczema was the strongest risk factor for peanut allergy (aOR 3.33, 95% CI 1.07-10.35), adjusted for demographic and clinical characteristics. Asthma was not significantly related to peanut allergy (aOR 1.93, 95% CI 0.90-4.13). Peanut allergy was less likely in primary than in secondary care participants (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.25-0.86), at all levels of peanut-specific IgE.
The relationship between peanut-specific IgE and peanut allergy in children is weak, is strongly dependent on eczema, and is weaker in primary compared to secondary care. This limits the usefulness of peanut-specific IgE levels in the diagnosis of peanut allergy in children.
doi:10.1186/2045-7022-3-34
PMCID: PMC3852137  PMID: 24112405
Peanut allergy; Peanut-specific IgE; Peanut sensitization; Eczema; Asthma; Children; Teenagers
21.  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.
doi:10.5415/apallergy.2013.3.1.15
PMCID: PMC3563016  PMID: 23403730
Food allergy; Korean children; Anaphylaxis; Plant food allergy
22.  Demographic Predictors of Peanut, Tree Nut, Fish, Shellfish, and Sesame Allergy in Canada 
Journal of Allergy  2011;2012:858306.
Background. Studies suggest that the rising prevalence of food allergy during recent decades may have stabilized. Although genetics undoubtedly contribute to the emergence of food allergy, it is likely that other factors play a crucial role in mediating such short-term changes. Objective. To identify potential demographic predictors of food allergies. Methods. We performed a cross-Canada, random telephone survey. Criteria for food allergy were self-report of convincing symptoms and/or physician diagnosis of allergy. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to assess potential determinants. Results. Of 10,596 households surveyed in 2008/2009, 3666 responded, representing 9667 individuals. Peanut, tree nut, and sesame allergy were more common in children (odds ratio (OR) 2.24 (95% CI, 1.40, 3.59), 1.73 (95% CI, 1.11, 2.68), and 5.63 (95% CI, 1.39, 22.87), resp.) while fish and shellfish allergy were less common in children (OR 0.17 (95% CI, 0.04, 0.72) and 0.29 (95% CI, 0.14, 0.61)). Tree nut and shellfish allergy were less common in males (OR 0.55 (95% CI, 0.36, 0.83) and 0.63 (95% CI, 0.43, 0.91)). Shellfish allergy was more common in urban settings (OR 1.55 (95% CI, 1.04, 2.31)). There was a trend for most food allergies to be more prevalent in the more educated (tree nut OR 1.90 (95% CI, 1.18, 3.04)) and less prevalent in immigrants (shellfish OR 0.49 (95% CI, 0.26, 0.95)), but wide CIs preclude definitive conclusions for most foods. Conclusions. Our results reveal that in addition to age and sex, place of residence, socioeconomic status, and birth place may influence the development of food allergy.
doi:10.1155/2012/858306
PMCID: PMC3236463  PMID: 22187574
23.  Cow’s milk allergy: evidence-based diagnosis and management for the practitioner 
European Journal of Pediatrics  2014;174:141-150.
This review summarizes current evidence and recommendations regarding cow’s milk allergy (CMA), the most common food allergy in young children, for the primary and secondary care providers. The diagnostic approach includes performing a medical history, physical examination, diagnostic elimination diets, skin prick tests, specific IgE measurements, and oral food challenges. Strict avoidance of the offending allergen is the only therapeutic option. Oral immunotherapy is being studied, but it is not yet recommended for routine clinical practice. For primary prevention of allergy, exclusive breastfeeding for at least 4 months and up to 6 months is desirable. Infants with a documented hereditary risk of allergy (i.e., an affected parent and/or sibling) who cannot be breastfed exclusively should receive a formula with confirmed reduced allergenicity, i.e., a partially or extensively hydrolyzed formula, as a means of preventing allergic reactions, primarily atopic dermatitis. Avoidance or delayed introduction of solid foods beyond 4–6 months for allergy prevention is not recommended.
Conclusion: For all of those involved in taking care of children’s health, it is important to understand the multifaceted aspects of CMA, such as its epidemiology, presentation, diagnosis, and dietary management, as well as its primary prevention.
doi:10.1007/s00431-014-2422-3
PMCID: PMC4298661  PMID: 25257836
Allergy; Children; Infants; Pediatrics
24.  Role of selenium and zinc in the pathogenesis of food allergy in infants and young children 
Archives of Medical Science : AMS  2012;8(6):1083-1088.
Introduction
Selenium and zinc are indispensable microelements for normal functioning and development of the human body. They are cofactors of many enzymes of the antioxidative barrier (selenium – glutathione peroxidase; zinc – superoxide dismutase). The aim of the study was to evaluate the importance of selenium and zinc in the pathogenesis of food allergy in small children.
Material and methods
The study was performed in 134 children with food allergy, aged 1 to 36 months. The control group was composed of 36 children at the same age, without clinical symptoms of food intolerance. Each child had estimated serum levels of zinc and selenium. Furthermore, the authors evaluated activity of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) in erythrocyte lysates and serum. Tests were performed twice, before and after 6-month administration of elimination diet.
Results
The obtained results showed that children with food allergy had significantly lower concentrations of selenium, zinc and examined enzymes in comparison to children from the control group. Concentration of selenium and zinc as well as activity of examined enzymes increased after application of eliminative diet.
Conclusions
In children with allergy decreased concentrations of selenium and zinc, and lower values of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase which increased after elimination diet were affirmed. These observations suggest their role in pathogenesis of food allergy. Conducted observations indicate the need to monitor trace elements content in the diet in children with food allergy. The results showed that children with food allergy had a weakened antioxidative barrier.
doi:10.5114/aoms.2012.32420
PMCID: PMC3542500  PMID: 23319985
selenium; zinc; food allergy; small children
25.  Early complementary feeding and risk of food sensitization in a birth cohort 
Background
Exposure to solid food or cow's milk (complementary food) before age 4 months may confer immune protection (tolerance) or detriment (allergy).
Objective
We explored the relationship between introduction of complementary food <4 months and Immunoglobulin E (IgE) to egg, milk, and peanut allergen at 2 years in the WHEALS birth cohort of Detroit, Michigan, USA.
Methods
At infant age 1, 6, and 12 months, mothers were interviewed about feeding practices. Blood samples were collected at age 2 to 3 years to assess sensitization (IgE ≥ 0.35 IU/ml) to egg, milk or peanut.
Results
For the 594 maternal-infant pairs analyzed, maternal mean age was 29.7 years and 60.6% self-reported as African-American or Black. Infant exposure to complementary food < 4 months was reported by 39.7% of mothers. IgE>0.35 IU/ml for egg, milk, or peanut allergen at age 2 years was observed in 23.9% (95% Confidence Interval = 20.5–27.6%), 30.6% (26.9–34.5%), and 11.4% (8.9–14.3%) of children, respectively. The association between early feeding and sensitization was modified by parental history of asthma or allergy. In multivariable analysis, early feeding reduced the risk of peanut sensitization among children with a parental history; adjusted Odds Ratio=0.2 (0.1–0.7), p=0.007. The relationship also became significant for egg when a cut-off for IgE of > 0.70 IU/ml was used, aOR=0.5 (0.3–0.9), p=0.022.
Conclusion
In this cohort, complementary food introduced <4 months was associated with a reduced risk of peanut (and perhaps egg) sensitization by age 2–3 years, but only for children with a parental history of asthma or allergy.
Clinical Implications
Feeding practices represent a modifiable risk factor for prevention of allergy. Avoidance of food allergy through dietary manipulation remains controversial. Identifying factors related to food sensitization could inform allergy prevention.
Capsule Summary
Among children with a parental history of asthma or allergy, exposure to early complementary food reduces the risk of peanut and egg sensitization.
doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2011.02.018
PMCID: PMC3632345  PMID: 21458850
Food Allergy; food sensitization; infant feeding; birth cohort

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