It is known that there is an increase in the prevalence of allergy and that allergic diseases have a negative impact on individuals' health-related quality of life (HRQL). However, research in this field is mainly focused on individuals with verified allergy, i.e. leaving out those with self-reported allergy-like conditions but with no doctor-diagnosis. Furthermore, studies on food hypersensitivity and quality of life are scarce. In order to receive information about the extent to which adolescent females and males experience allergy-like conditions and the impact of these conditions on their everyday life, the present study aimed to investigate the magnitude of self-reported allergy-like conditions in adolescence and to evaluate their HRQL. Special focus was put on food hypersensitivity as a specific allergy-like condition and on gender differences.
In connection with lessons completed at the children's school, a study-specific questionnaire and the generic instrument SF-36 were distributed to 1488 adolescents, 13–21 years old (response rate 97%).
Sixty-four per cent of the respondents reported some kind of allergy-like condition: 46% reported hypersensitivity to defined substances and 51% reported allergic diseases (i.e. asthma/wheezing, eczema/rash, rhino-conjunctivitis). A total of 19% reported food hypersensitivity. Females more often reported allergy-like conditions compared with males (p < 0.001). The adolescents with allergy-like conditions reported significantly lower HRQL (p < 0.001) in seven of the eight SF-36 health scales compared with adolescents without such conditions, regardless of whether the condition had been doctor-diagnosed or not. Most adolescents suffered from complex allergy-like conditions.
The results indicate a need to consider the psychosocial impact of allergy-like conditions during school age. Further research is needed to elucidate the gender differences in this area. A team approach addressing better understanding of how allergy-like conditions impair the HRQL may improve the management of the adolescent's health problems, both in health-care services and in schools.
Health-related quality of life; hypersensitivity; allergic disease; food hypersensitivity; adolescence; gender
Our aim was to investigate the factors that affect health related quality of life (HRQL) in adult Swedish food allergic patients objectively diagnosed with allergy to at least one of the staple foods cow’s milk, hen’s egg or wheat. The number of foods involved, the type and severity of symptoms, as well as concomitant allergic disorders were assessed.
The disease-specific food allergy quality of life questionnaire (FAQLQ-AF), developed within EuroPrevall, was utilized. The questionnaire had four domains: Allergen Avoidance and Dietary Restrictions (AADR), Emotional Impact (EI), Risk of Accidental Exposure (RAE) and Food Allergy related Health (FAH). Comparisons were made with the outcome of the generic questionnaire EuroQol Health Questionnaire, 5 Dimensions (EQ-5D). The patients were recruited at an outpatient allergy clinic, based on a convincing history of food allergy supplemented by analysis of specific IgE to the foods in question. Seventy-nine patients participated (28 males, 51 females, mean-age 41 years).
The domain with the most negative impact on HRQL was AADR, assessing the patients’ experience of dietary restrictions. The domain with the least negative impact on HRQL was FAH, relating to health concerns due to the food allergy. One third of the patients had four concomitant allergic disorders, which had a negative impact on HRQL. Furthermore, asthma in combination with food allergy had a strong impact. Anaphylaxis, and particularly prescription of an epinephrine auto-injector, was associated with low HRQL. These effects were not seen using EQ-5D. Analyses of the symptoms revealed that oral allergy syndrome and cardiovascular symptoms had the greatest impact on HRQL. In contrast, no significant effect on HRQL was seen by the number of food allergies.
The FAQLQ-AF is a valid instrument, and more accurate among patients with allergy to staple foods in comparison to the commonly used generic EQ-5D. It adds important information on HRQL in food allergic adults. We found that the restrictions imposed on the patients due to the diet had the largest negative impact on HRQL. Both severity of the food allergy and the presence of concomitant allergic disorders had a profound impact on HRQL.
Food allergy; Adults; Health-related quality of life; Instrument; Questionnaire
Many common foods including cow's milk, hen's egg, soya, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and wheat may cause food allergies. The prevalence of these immune-mediated adverse reactions to foods ranges from 0.5% to 9% in different populations. In simple terms, the cornerstone of managing food allergy is to avoid consumption of foods causing symptoms and to replace them with nutritionally equivalent foods. If poorly managed, food allergy impairs quality of life more than necessary, affects normal growth in children, and causes an additional economic burden to society. Delay in diagnosis may be a further incremental factor. Thus, an increased awareness of the appropriate procedures for both diagnosis and management is of importance. This paper sets out to present principles for taking an allergy-focused diet history as part of the diagnostic work-up of food allergy. A short overview of guidelines and principles for dietary management of food allergy is discussed focusing on the nutritional management of food allergies and the particular role of the dietitian in this process.
Anaphylaxis is an important, potentially life-threatening paediatric emergency. It is responsible for considerable morbidity and, in some cases, death. Poor outcomes may be associated with an inability to differentiate between milder and potentially more severe reactions and an associated reluctance to administer self-injectable adrenaline. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of a 24-h telephone access to specialist paediatric allergy expert advice in improving the quality of life of children and their families with potentially life-threatening food allergy (ie, anaphylaxis) compared with usual clinical care.
Methods and analysis
Children aged less than 16 years with food allergy and who carry an adrenaline autoinjector will be recruited from the Paediatric Allergy Clinic at Cork University Hospital, Ireland and baseline disease-specific quality of life will be ascertained using the validated Food Allergy Quality of Life Questionnaire (FAQLQ). Participants will be randomised for a period of 6 months to the 24-h telephone specialist support line or usual care. The primary outcome measure of interest is a change in FAQLQ scores, which will be assessed at 0, 1 and 6 months postrandomisation. Analysis will be on an intention-to-treat basis using a 2×3 repeated measures within-between analysis of variance. Although lacking power, we will in addition assess the impact of the intervention on a range of relevant process and clinical endpoints.
Ethics and dissemination
This trial protocol has been approved by the Clinical Research Ethics Committee of the Cork Teaching Hospitals. The findings will be presented at international scientific conferences and will be reported on in the peer-reviewed literature in early 2013.
Accident & Emergency medicine; Immunology; Paediatrics; Paediatric A&E and ambulatory care
Peanut allergy is relatively common, typically permanent, and often severe. Double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge is considered the gold standard for the diagnosis of food allergy–related disorders. However, the complexity and potential of double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge to cause life-threatening allergic reactions affects its clinical application. A laboratory test that could accurately diagnose symptomatic peanut allergy would greatly facilitate clinical practice.
We sought to develop an allergy diagnostic method that could correctly predict symptomatic peanut allergy by using peptide microarray immunoassays and bioinformatic methods.
Microarray immunoassays were performed by using the sera from 62 patients (31 with symptomatic peanut allergy and 31 who had outgrown their peanut allergy or were sensitized but were clinically tolerant to peanut). Specific IgE and IgG4 binding to 419 overlapping peptides (15 mers, 3 offset) covering the amino acid sequences of Ara h 1, Ara h 2, and Ara h 3 were measured by using a peptide microarray immunoassay. Bioinformatic methods were applied for data analysis.
Individuals with peanut allergy showed significantly greater IgE binding and broader epitope diversity than did peanut-tolerant individuals. No significant difference in IgG4 binding was found between groups. By using machine learning methods, 4 peptide biomarkers were identified and prediction models that can predict the outcome of double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenges with high accuracy were developed by using a combination of the biomarkers.
In this study, we developed a novel diagnostic approach that can predict peanut allergy with high accuracy by combining the results of a peptide microarray immunoassay and bioinformatic methods. Further studies are needed to validate the efficacy of this assay in clinical practice.
Epitope mapping; peptide microarray; peanut allergy; bioinformatics; machine learning; allergy diagnosis; epitope biomarker
The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is in the process of developing its Guideline for Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis, and this systematic review is one of seven inter-linked evidence syntheses that are being undertaken in order to provide a state-of-the-art synopsis of the current evidence base in relation to epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and clinical management, and impact on quality of life, which will be used to inform clinical recommendations. The aim of this systematic review will be to determine which validated instruments can be employed to enable assessment of the impact of, and investigations and interventions for, food allergy on health-related quality of life.
Seven bibliographic databases were searched from their inception to September 30, 2012 for disease-specific HRQL questionnaires that were specifically designed for use with patients/carers and any articles relating to the description, development and/or the validation of the above identified HRQLs. There were no language or geographic restrictions. We will assess the development of the instruments identified and their performance properties including: validity; generalizability; responsiveness; managing missing data; how variation in patient demography was managed; and cross-cultural and linguistic adaptation, using a previously reported quality assessment tool.
Using appropriately developed and validated instruments is critical to the accurate evaluation of HRQL in people with food allergy. This review will systematically appraise the evidence on the subject and help to identify any gaps.
Food allergy; IgE-mediated; QOL; Quality of life
Cow's milk allergy (CMA) is the most frequent food allergy in childhood; the trend of CMA is often characterized by a progressive improvement to achieve tolerance in the first 4 to 5 years of life.
It has been observed that specific IgE (sIgE) towards cow's milk proteins decrease when the age increases.
Although food allergy can be easily diagnosed, it is difficult to predict the outcome of the oral food challenge (OFC), that remains the gold standard in the diagnosis of food allergy, by allergometric tests.
We considered 44 children with CMA diagnosed through OFC who returned to our Allergy and Immunology Pediatric Department between January to December 2010 to evaluate the persistence of allergy or the achievement of tolerance.
On the basis of the history, we performed both allergometric skin tests and OFC in children that were still following a milk-free diet, whereas only allergometric skin tests those that had already undergone spontaneous introduction of milk protein at home without presenting symptoms.
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the persistence of CMA or the acquisition of tolerance and the results of the end point prick test (EPT).
Results and Discussion
The OFC with cow's milk was performed on 30 children, 4 children were excluded because of a history of severe reactions to cow's milk, and 10 because they had spontaneously already taken milk food derivates at home without problems. 16/30 (53%) children showed clinical reactions and the challenge was stopped, 14/30 (47%) did not have any reaction.
Comparing the mean wheal diameter of every EPT's dilution between the group of allergic children and the tolerant ones, we obtained a significant difference (p < 0.05) for the first 4 dilutions.
We have also calculated sensitivity (SE), specificity (SP), the positive predictive value (PPV) and the negative predictive value (NPV) for each EPT dilution.
EPT is a safe and cheap test, easy to be executed and that could provide good prediction of the outcome of OFC; so it might be used to avoid OFC-induced anaphylaxis in children affected by CMA. It can also help avoiding dietetic restrictions in tolerant children who show sensitization towards cow's milk proteins.
Cow's milk proteins allergy; end point prick test; food oral challenge; tolerance
The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is in the process of
developing its Guideline for Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis, and this protocol
of a systematic review is one of seven inter-linked evidence syntheses that
are being undertaken in order to provide a state-of-the-art synopsis of the
current evidence base in relation to epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and
clinical management and impact on quality of life, which will be used to
inform the formulation of clinical recommendations.
The aims of the systematic review will be to understand and describe the
epidemiology of food allergy, i.e. frequency, risk factors and outcomes of
patients suffering from food allergy, and to describe how these
characteristics vary by person, place and time.
A highly sensitive search strategy has been developed to retrieve articles
that have investigated the various aspects of the epidemiology of food
allergy. The search will be implemented by combining the concepts of food
allergy and its epidemiology from electronic bibliographic databases.
This systematic review will provide the most up to date estimates of the
frequency of food allergy in Europe. We will attempt to break these down by
age and geographical region in Europe. Our analysis will take into account
the suitability of the study design and the respective study biases that
could affect exposure and outcome. We will examine the different methods to
diagnose food allergy and the associated measures of occurrence.
Food allergy; IgE-mediated; Risk; Anaphylaxis; Epidemiology; Prevalence; Incidence
The literature on diagnostic tests for food allergy currently lacks clear consensus regarding the accuracy and safety of different investigative approaches. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is in the process of developing its Guideline for Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis, and this systematic review is one of seven inter-linked evidence syntheses that are being undertaken in order to provide a state-of-the-art synopsis of the current evidence base in relation to epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis and clinical management, and impact on quality of life, which will be used to inform the formulation of clinical recommendations. The aim of this systematic review will be to assess the diagnostic accuracy of tests aimed at supporting the clinical diagnosis of IgE-mediated food allergy.
The following databases from inception to September 30, 2012 will be searched for studies of diagnostic tests: Cochrane Library (Wiley&Sons); MEDLINE (OVID); Embase (OVID); CINAHL (Ebscohost); ISI Web of Science (Thomson Web of Knowledge); TRIP Database (web http://www.tripdatabase.com); and Clinicaltrials.gov (NIH web). These database searches will be supplemented by contacting an international panel of experts. Studies evaluating APT, SPT, specific-IgE, and component specific-IgE in participants of any age with suspected food allergy will be included. The reference standard will be DBPCFC in at least 50% of the participants. Studies will be quality assessed by using the QUADAS-2 instrument. We will report summary statistics such as sensitivity, specificity, and/or likelihood ratios. We will use the hierarchical summary ROC (HSROC) model to summarize the accuracy of each test and to compare the accuracy of two or more tests.
Decisions on which tests to use need to be guided by availability of tests, populations being cared for, risks, financial considerations and test properties. This review will examine papers from around the world, covering children and adults with suspected food allergy in varying populations and concentrated on four type of tests: APT, SPT, specific-IgEs, and component specific-IgEs.
Food allergy; IgE-mediated; Diagnosis; Diagnostic tests
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.
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.
Investigate whether season of birth is associated with food allergy.
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.
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.
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.
Food allergy; season of birth; epidemiology; UVB; vitamin D
Double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge, DBPCFC, the gold standard for diagnosing food allergy, is time-consuming and potentially dangerous. A basophil allergen threshold sensitivity test, CD-sens, has shown promising results as a diagnostic tool in food allergy.
To evaluate the reproducibility of oral peanut challenge and compare the outcome to CD-sens in peanut-sensitized children.
Twenty-seven children (4–19 years) underwent a DBPCFC followed by a single-blind oral food-challenge. The peanut challenges (1 mg to 5 g) were evaluated by severity scoring. Blood samples were drawn for CD-sens before the two first challenges.
Thirteen children (48%) did not react at any of the challenges. Fourteen reacted at both peanut challenges but not to placebo. Only two of these children reacted at the same threshold dose and with the same severity score. All other children scored differently or reacted at different doses. For children with a positive challenge the geometric mean of the ratio of the doses was 1.834 (p = 0.307) and the arithmetic mean of the difference between the severity scores was 0.143 (p = 0.952). No association was obtained between the two peanut challenges regarding severity score (rs = 0.11, p = 0.71) or threshold dose (rs = 0.35, p = 0.22). Among the children positive in peanut challenge, 12 were positive in CD-sens. Two were low-responders and could not be evaluated. Geometric mean of the ratio of CD-sens values in children with a positive challenge was 1.035 (p = 0.505) but unlike for the severity score and the threshold dose the association between the two CD-sens values was strong (rs = 0.94, P<0.001).
For a positive/negative test the reproducibility is 100% for both peanut challenge and CD-sens. However, a comparison of the degree of allergen threshold sensitivity between the two tests is not possible since the threshold dose and severity scoring is not reproducible.
Food insecurity is associated with poor nutritional and clinical outcomes among people living with HIV/AIDS. Few studies investigate the link between food insecurity, dietary diversity and health-related quality of life among people living with HIV/AIDS.
We investigated whether household food access and individual dietary diversity are associated with health-related quality of life among people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda.
We surveyed 902 people living with HIV/AIDS and their households from two clinics in Northern Uganda. Health-related quality of life outcomes were assessed using the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS)-HIV Survey. We performed multivariate regressions to investigate the relationship between health-related quality of life, household food insecurity and individual dietary diversity.
People living with HIV/AIDS from severe food insecurity households have mean mental health status scores that are 1.7 points lower (p<.001) and physical health status scores that are 1.5 points lower (p<.01). Individuals with high dietary diversity have mean mental health status scores that were 3.6 points higher (p<.001) and physical health status scores that were 2.8 points higher (p<.05).
Food access and diet quality are associated with health-related quality of life and may be considered as part of comprehensive interventions designed to mitigate psychosocial consequences of HIV.
Food allergy is defined as an adverse immunologic response to a dietary protein. Food-related reactions are associated with a broad array of signs and symptoms that may involve many bodily systems including the skin, gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, and cardiovascular system. Food allergy is a leading cause of anaphylaxis and, therefore, referral to an allergist for appropriate and timely diagnosis and treatment is imperative. Diagnosis involves a careful history and diagnostic tests, such as skin prick testing, serum-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) testing and, if indicated, oral food challenges. Once the diagnosis of food allergy is confirmed, strict elimination of the offending food allergen from the diet is generally necessary. For patients with significant systemic symptoms, the treatment of choice is epinephrine administered by intramuscular injection into the lateral thigh. Although most children “outgrow” allergies to milk, egg, soy and wheat, allergies to peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish are often lifelong. This article provides an overview of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, management and prognosis of patients with food allergy.
OBJECTIVES: The authors present preliminary results on health-related outcomes of a randomized trial of telehealth interventions designed to reduce the incidence of secondary conditions among people with mobility impairment resulting from spinal cord injury (SCI). METHODS: Patients with spinal cord injuries were recruited during their initial stay at a rehabilitation facility in Atlanta. They received a video-based intervention for nine weeks, a telephone-based intervention for nine weeks, or standard follow-up care. Participants are followed for at least one year, to monitor days of hospitalization, depressive symptoms, and health-related quality of life. RESULTS: Health-related quality of life was measured using the Quality of Well-Being (QWB) scale. QWB scores (n = 111) did not differ significantly between the three intervention groups at the end of the intervention period. At year one post discharge, however, scores for those completing one year of enrollment (n = 47) were significantly higher for the intervention groups compared to standard care. Mean annual hospital days were 3.00 for the video group, 5.22 for the telephone group, and 7.95 for the standard care group. CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary evidence suggests that in-home telephone or video-based interventions do improve health-related outcomes for newly injured SCI patients. Telehealth interventions may be cost-saving if program costs are more than offset by a reduction in rehospitalization costs, but differential advantages of video-based interventions versus telephone alone warrant further examination.
Cow's milk is the most common food allergen in infants and the diagnosis of cow's milk allergy is difficult, even with the use of several diagnostic tests. Therefore, elimination diets and challenge tests are essential for the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder. The aim of this study is to report the clinical presentation and nutritional status of children evaluated by pediatric gastroenterologists for the assessment of symptoms suggestive of cow's milk allergy.
An observational cross-sectional study was performed among 9,478 patients evaluated by 30 pediatric gastroenterologists for 40 days in 5 different geographical regions in Brazil. Clinical data were collected from patients with symptoms suggestive of cow's milk allergy. The nutritional status of infants (age ≤ 24 months) seen for the first time was evaluated according to z-scores for weight-for-age, weight-for-height, and height-for-age. Epi-Info (CDC-NCHS, 2000) software was used to calculate z-scores.
The prevalence of suspected cow's milk allergy in the study population was 5.4% (513/9,478), and the incidence was 2.2% (211/9,478). Among 159 infants seen at first evaluation, 15.1% presented with a low weight-for-age z score (< -2.0 standard deviation - SD), 8.7% with a low weight-for-height z score (< -2.0 SD), and 23.9% with a low height-for-age z score (< -2.0 SD).
The high prevalence of nutritional deficits among infants with symptoms suggestive of cow's milk allergy indicates that effective elimination diets should be prescribed to control allergy symptoms and to prevent or treat malnutrition.
Venom allergy is a rare but life-threatening disease and may have a considerable impact on the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of patients, especially children. This paper presents development of the HRQoL scale for children and adolescents with Hymenoptera venom allergy (HVA).
The study sample consisted of 71 children, born between 1992 and 2000, who presented with a history of insect sting reaction when referred for consultation in the allergy center of Polish-American Children’s Hospital, Krakow, Poland, during the period from 2000 to 2010. The initial pool of 60 items - divided into 6 domains - was prepared. The items with intercorrelations higher than 0.7 were removed from each domain and then principal component analysis was conducted for each domain separately, to provide a one-dimensional subscale for each domain. Reliability of the subscales was assessed using Cronbach alpha coefficient in terms of Classical Test Theory and with rho coefficient in terms of Item Response Theory. The multidimensionality of the scale was tested using multi-trait scaling.
Three to four items from each domain were subsequently selected to constitute six subscales. Rho coefficients for all the subscales reached 0.8, similar results were achieved with the Cronbach alpha coefficients. Multi-trait method showed that the majority of the items indicated stronger correlations with their own subscales than with other subscales, which proves that our constructed subscales measure different dimensions of HRQoL.
The presented scale comprises high validity and reliability subscales measuring six dimensions of HRQoL related to Hymenoptera venom allergy in children and adolescents. Such information may be useful in everyday clinical practice.
Development; Validity; Reliability; Health-related quality of life; Scale; Hymenoptera venom; Allergy
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.
food allergy; diagnosis; treatment; asthma
To develop and validate a food allergy educational program.
Materials developed through focus groups, parental and expert review were submitted to 60 parents of newly referred children having a prior food allergy diagnosis and an epinephrine autoinjector. The main outcome was correct demonstration of an autoinjector.
The correct number of autoinjector activation steps increased from 3.4 to 5.95 (of 6) after training (p<.001) and was 5.47 at 1 year (p<.05). The mean score for comfort with using the autoinjector (7 point Likert scale) before the curriculum was 4.63 (somewhat comfortable) and increased to 6.23 after the intervention (p<.05) and remained elevated at 1 year (6.03). Knowledge tests (maximum 15) increased from a mean score of 9.2 to 12.4 (p<.001) at the initial visit and remained at 12.7 at 1 year. The annualized rate of allergic reactions fell from 1.77 (historical) the year prior, to 0.42 (p<.001) after the program. On a 7 point Likert-scale, all satisfaction categories remained above a favorable mean score of 6: straight-forward, organized, interesting, relevant, and recommend to others.
This food allergy educational curriculum for parents, now available online at no cost, showed high levels of satisfaction and efficacy.
food allergy; anaphylaxis; education
Parents of children with food allergy, primary care physicians, and members of the general public play a critical role in the health and well-being of food-allergic children, though little is known about their knowledge and perceptions of food allergy. The purpose of this paper is to detail the development of the Chicago Food Allergy Research Surveys to assess food allergy knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among these three populations.
From 2006–2008, parents of food-allergic children, pediatricians, family physicians, and adult members of the general public were recruited to assist in survey development. Preliminary analysis included literature review, creation of initial content domains, expert panel review, and focus groups. Survey validation included creation of initial survey items, expert panel ratings, cognitive interviews, reliability testing, item reduction, and final validation. National administration of the surveys is ongoing.
Nine experts were assembled to oversee survey development. Six focus groups were held: 2/survey population, 4–9 participants/group; transcripts were reviewed via constant comparative methods to identify emerging themes and inform item creation. At least 220 participants per population were recruited to assess the relevance, reliability, and utility of each survey item as follows: cognitive interviews, 10 participants; reliability testing ≥ 10; item reduction ≥ 50; and final validation, 150 respondents.
The Chicago Food Allergy Research surveys offer validated tools to assess food allergy knowledge and perceptions among three distinct populations: a 42 item parent tool, a 50 item physician tool, and a 35 item general public tool. No such tools were previously available.
Physical health-related quality of life scores have been, inconsistently, associated with breast cancer prognosis. This analysis examined whether change in physical health scores were related to outcomes in women with a history of breast cancer.
2343 breast cancer survivors in a randomized diet trial provided self-reported assessment of physical health-related quality of life at baseline and year 1. Based on change in physical health score, participants were grouped into subpopulations of decreased physical health, no/minimal changes, and increased physical health. Cox regression analysis assessed whether change in physical health (from baseline to year 1) predicted disease-free and overall survival; hazard ratio (HR) was the measure of association.
There were 294 additional breast cancer events and 162 deaths among women followed for 7.3 years. Improvements in physical health were associated with younger age, lower BMI, being employed, not receiving tamoxifen, lower physical activity, and lower baseline physical and mental health. There was no association of change in physical health with additional breast cancer events or mortality among women diagnosed ≤ 2 years before study enrollment. However, among women who entered the study >2 years post diagnosis, the HR for increased compared to decreased physical health was 0.38 (95% CI, 0.16 to 0.85) for all-cause mortality.
These results appear to support testing an intervention to improve physical health in breast cancer patients among patients after the acute stage of treatment.
breast cancer; physical health; survival; mortality
Season of birth has been reported as a risk factor for food allergy, but the mechanisms by which it acts are unknown.
Two populations were studied; 5862 children from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III, 1514 well-characterized food allergic children from the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Allergy Clinic (JHPAC). Food allergy was defined as self report of an acute reaction to a food (NHANES), or as milk, egg and peanut allergy. Logistic regression compared fall or non-fall birth between (1) food allergic and non-allergic subjects in NHANES, adjusted for ethnicity, age, income and sex, and (2) JHPAC subjects and the general Maryland population. For NHANES, stratification by ethnicity and for JHPAC, eczema, was examined.
Fall birth was more common among food allergic subjects in both NHANES (OR: 1.91, 95%CI: 1.31–2.77) and JHPAC/Maryland (OR: 1.31, 95%CI: 1.18–1.47). Ethnicity interacted with season (OR 2.34, 95%CI 1.43–3.82 for Caucasians, OR 1.19, 95%CI 0.77–1.86 for non-Caucasians, p=0.04 for interaction), as did eczema (OR 1.47, 95%CI 1.29–1.67 with eczema, OR 1.00, 95%CI 0.80–1.23 without eczema, p=0.002 for interaction).
Fall birth is associated with increased risk of food allergy, and this risk is greatest among those most likely to have seasonal variation in vitamin D during infancy (Caucasians) and those at risk for skin barrier dysfunction (subjects with a history of eczema), suggesting that vitamin D and the skin barrier may be implicated in seasonal associations with food allergy.
food allergy; season of birth; eczema; vitamin D
Food allergy is an important public health problem affecting 5% of infants and children in Korea. Food allergy is defined as an immune response triggered by food proteins. Food allergy is highly associated with atopic dermatitis and is one of the most common triggers of potentially fatal anaphylaxis in the community. Sensitization to food allergens can occur in the gastrointestinal tract (class 1 food allergy) or as a consequence of cross reactivity to structurally homologous inhalant allergens (class 2 food allergy). Allergenicity of food is largely determined by structural aspects, including cross-reactivity and reduced or enhanced allergenicity with cooking that convey allergenic characteristics to food. Management of food allergy currently focuses on dietary avoidance of the offending foods, prompt recognition and treatment of allergic reactions, and nutritional support. This review includes definitions and examines the prevalence and management of food allergies and the characteristics of food allergens.
Food allergy; Allergens; Cross reactions; Disease management
Data from many studies have suggested a rise in the prevalence of food allergies during the past 10 to 20 years. Currently, no curative treatments for food allergy exist, and there are no effective means of preventing the disease. Management of food allergy involves strict avoidance of the allergen in the patient's diet and treatment of symptoms as they arise. Because diagnosis and management of the disease can vary between clinical practice settings, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) sponsored development of clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy. The guidelines establish consensus and consistency in definitions, diagnostic criteria, and management practices. They also provide concise recommendations on how to diagnose and manage food allergy and treat acute food allergy reactions. The original guidelines encompass practices relevant to patients of all ages, but food allergy presents unique and specific concerns for infants, children, and teenagers. To focus on those concerns, we describe here the guidelines most pertinent to the pediatric population.
food allergy; food hypersensitivity; infants; children; guidelines; anaphylaxis
Optimal functioning of the immune system is crucial to human health, and nutrition is one
of the major exogenous factors modulating different aspects of immune function. Currently,
no single marker is available to predict the effect of a dietary intervention on different
aspects of immune function. To provide further guidance on the assessment and
interpretation of the modulation of immune functions due to nutrition in the general
population, International Life Sciences Institute Europe commissioned a group of experts
from academia, government and the food industry to prepare a guidance document. A draft of
this paper was refined at a workshop involving additional experts. First, the expert group
defined criteria to evaluate the usefulness of immune function markers. Over seventy-five
markers were scored within the context of three distinct immune system functions: defence
against pathogens; avoidance or mitigation of allergy; control of low-grade (metabolic)
inflammation. The most useful markers were subsequently classified depending on whether
they by themselves signify clinical relevance and/or involvement of immune function. Next,
five theoretical scenarios were drafted describing potential changes in the values of
markers compared with a relevant reference range. Finally, all elements were combined,
providing a framework to aid the design and interpretation of studies assessing the
effects of nutrition on immune function. This stepwise approach offers a clear rationale
for selecting markers for future trials and provides a framework for the interpretation of
outcomes. A similar stepwise approach may also be useful to rationalise the selection and
interpretation of markers for other physiological processes critical to the maintenance of
health and well-being.
Biomarkers; Immune function; Validation; Guidance; Criteria