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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
8.  An introduction to immunology and immunopathology 
In basic terms, the immune system has two lines of defense: innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is the first immunological, non-specific (antigen-independent) mechanism for fighting against an intruding pathogen. It is a rapid immune response, occurring within minutes or hours after aggression, that has no immunologic memory. Adaptive immunity, on the other hand, is antigen-dependent and antigen-specific; it has the capacity for memory, which enables the host to mount a more rapid and efficient immune response upon subsequent exposure to the antigen. There is a great deal of synergy between the adaptive immune system and its innate counterpart, and defects in either system can provoke illness or disease, such as autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiency disorders and hypersensitivity reactions. This article provides a practical overview of innate and adaptive immunity, and describes how these host defense mechanisms are involved in both health and illness.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-S1-S1
PMCID: PMC3245432  PMID: 22165815
9.  Atopic dermatitis 
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common, chronic skin disorder that can significantly impact the quality of life of affected individuals as well as their families. Although the pathogenesis of the disorder is not completely understood, it appears to result from the complex interplay between defects in skin barrier function, environmental and infectious agents, and immune abnormalities. There are no specific diagnostic tests for AD; therefore, the diagnosis is based on specific clinical criteria that take into account the patient’s history and clinical manifestations. Successful management of the disorder requires a multifaceted approach that involves education, optimal skin care practices, anti-inflammatory treatment with topical corticosteroids and/or topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs), the use of first-generation antihistamines to help manage sleep disturbances, and the treatment of skin infections. Systemic corticosteroids may also be used, but are generally reserved for the acute treatment of severe flare-ups. Topical corticosteroids are the first-line pharmacologic treatments for AD, and evidence suggests that these agents may also be beneficial for the prophylaxis of disease flare-ups. Although the prognosis for patients with AD is generally favourable, those patients with severe, widespread disease and concomitant atopic conditions, such as asthma and allergic rhinitis, are likely to experience poorer outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-S1-S4
PMCID: PMC3245437  PMID: 22166055
10.  Food allergy 
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.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-S1-S7
PMCID: PMC3245440  PMID: 22166142
11.  Eosinophilic esophagitis 
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an atopic condition of the esophagus that has become increasingly recognized over the last decade. Diagnosis of the disorder is dependent on the patient’s clinical manifestations and histologic findings on esophageal mucosal biopsies. Patients with eosinophilic esophagitis should be referred to both an allergist and gastroenterologist for optimal management, which may include dietary modifications, pharmacologic agents such as corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers and biologics as well as mechanical dilatation of the esophagus. The epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of EoE are discussed in this review.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-S1-S8
PMCID: PMC3245441  PMID: 22165816

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