ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
CANCER
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
Get to Know the Pap Test
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Successful Weight Loss Shows Unique Brain Patterns
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
EYE CARE, VISION
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Swine Flu May Have Infected More Than 100,000 Americans
The Yearly Flu Shot Debate
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Add your Article

Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The number of U.S. children allergic to foods such as peanuts, milk and fish is rising rapidly.

At the same time, researchers are working on new approaches to treating these allergies, according to two reports to be presented Monday at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's annual meeting, in Seattle.

An estimated 3 million children under 18 had a food allergy in 2007, an 18 percent increase since 1997, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The problem is even more than numbers," said Dr. Sami L. Bahna, a professor of pediatrics and medicine and chief of allergy and immunology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. "The severity of food allergies is going up."

There has been an increase in severe rashes; severe attacks of airway obstruction, called anaphylaxis; and intestinal problems, Bahna said.

What's more, the method of exposure that results in an allergic reaction is also changing, Bahna said. "People used to react by eating the food, but there are many people now that react by touching or smelling the food," he said.

Food allergies aren't the only allergies on the rise, Bahna said. "All the allergies are increasing -- asthma, hay fever, eczema," he said.

Several factors are contributing to the increase in allergies, the expert said. The first is the so-called "hygiene hypothesis," which holds that people in industrialized countries are living in increasingly sterile environments. As a result, their immune systems don't have to fight as many infections, so those systems can become hyperactive.

"When there is some degree of unhygienic conditions, the immune system from infancy adapts and develops to fight infection," Bahna said. "Cleanliness, antibiotics, whether they are needed or not, and vaccinations are allowing the immune system to develop as if 'I don't need you,' " he said.

Other reasons include the increased use of antacids among children, which prevents stomach acid from doing its job, and the increased use of multivitamins, which is associated with an increase in allergies, Bahna said.

Also, eating more highly allergenic foods such as fish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs and soy, as well as the increasing rates of childhood obesity, contribute to the rise in allergies, Bahna said. And, eating out hikes the risk for food allergies because you don't have total control over what you're eating. The ingredients in processed foods can also trigger allergic reactions, according to Bahna.

Allergic reactions can be severe -- even deadly. Current treatment is limited to avoidance of problematic foods and treating the symptoms of the reaction, Bahna said. But new treatments may be on the way.

Dr. Robert A. Wood, director of pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was scheduled to discuss potential new treatments for food allergies at the meeting on Monday. These include anti-IgE antibodies, a Chinese herbal remedy and immunotherapy.

Anti-IgE therapy disrupts the sequence of events that causes an allergic reaction. The treatment appears to work in about 75 percent of patients. Its drawbacks are that it must be given continuously and it does not work in the patient who is too allergic. There are also concerns about its safety and cost, Wood said.

A first clinical trial of the Chinese herbal formula FAHF-2 is also underway, Wood said. In experiments with mice, scientists found that peanut allergy was significantly reduced using this remedy.

The most promising approach appears to be immunotherapy, which is something Wood is involved in developing. In this treatment, tolerance is increased by giving patients increasing amounts of an allergen over time.

"This is sort of the allergy-shot model," he said, adding that several small studies have been promising. "We are cautiously optimistic that we are on the right path," he said.

Another presentation scheduled for the meeting looked at adults allergic to red meat. Researchers discovered that an IgE antibody to the carbohydrate galactose-a-1,3-galactose, which was found in patients who develop an allergy to beef, pork or lamb, seemed to explain the reaction.

Another study to be presented found that schools in one district in Greenville, S.C., had different action plans to deal with allergic reactions to food. The researchers found that fewer than 50 percent of the children with food allergies were on an action plan, however.

More information

To learn more about food allergies, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Robert A. Wood, M.D., professor, pediatrics and international health, and director, pediatric allergy and immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore; Sami L. Bahna, M.D., Dr.Ph., professor, pediatrics and medicine, chief of allergy and immunology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport; Nov. 10, 2008, presentations, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting, Seattle

Last Updated: Nov. 10, 2008

Copyright 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at www.eholistic.com