Tag Archives: allergy

Seeking Global Accord on Allergy

Four major professional allergy organizations have launched a new effort to raise worldwide awareness of allergic diseases.

The International Collaboration on Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology (iCAALL) is a project of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), and the World Allergy Organization (WAO). The leaders of each group announced the new initiative at a press briefing held during the AAAAI’s annual meeting in Orlando. An editorial introducing the initiative is online and will be published in the April issue of the Journalof Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

“The world has experienced a tremendous increase in the prevalence of allergic diseases and asthma over the last 50 years,” EAACI president Dr. Cezmi Akdis said, noting that asthma currently affects 8%-12% of the developed world, and allergic rhinitis, approximately 20%-25%. Asthma care costs more than 20 billion Euros today and is expected to jump to 200 billion Euros in 2050. Yet, current research funding is only about 2%-3% of that devoted to diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.

“We need better treatments and tailored care. We need more and more research … I am confident that iCAALL will result in a greater awareness about allergies, asthma, and immunologic diseases all around the world, resulting in prevention, cure, and better patient care, which is only possible by increased allocation of resources for research,” Dr. Akdis said.

According to WAO president Dr. Ruby Pawankar, “Allergies and asthma are no longer diseases of just the developed world … It’s a huge problem in the industrializing and the developing world.” She pointed out that allergic disease has been absent from the recent World Health Organization/United Nations focus on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), highlighted by a high-level meeting last September.

“The WHO and UN have made efforts toward giving more attention to NCDs. However, the area of allergy and asthma and clinical immunologic diseases needs to get to the stage to be represented at the WHO and UN.” To that end, WAO has issued a White Book on allergic disease with reports from 62 member countries, Dr. Pawankar said.

Dr. Wesley Burks described the iCAALL centerpiece initiative, a series of International Consensus (ICON) reports. The first ICON, on food allergy, is already online. It includes breastfeeding in the first 4-6 months as a key recommendation for reducing the risk for allergic disease. Food allergy is rising worldwide; in China, for example, food allergy has almost doubled from 3.9% 10 years ago to 7.7% today. “In a country thought not to have a lot of food allergy, that’s a significant change,” said Dr. Burks, president-elect of AAAAI.

Dr. Stanley Fineman, ACAAI president, outlined the plans for dissemination of upcoming ICONs: One on pediatric asthma is to be released at the EAACI Congress  in June in Geneva; the next, on angioedema, at the ACAAI meeting in November in Anaheim, Calif.; and then one on eosinophilic disorders at the WAO’s International Scientific Conference in December in Hyderabad, India.

Dr. Dennis K. Ledford, outgoing AAAAI president and iCAALL chair, said that other initiatives will incorporate additional means for disseminating research and increasing support for research. “It’s an evolving collaborative, happening as we speak.”

-Miriam E. Tucker (@MiriamETucker on Twitter)

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Filed under Allergy and Immunology, Emergency Medicine, Epidemiology, Family Medicine, Gastroenterology, IMNG, Infectious Diseases, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Primary care, Uncategorized

Video of the Week: Tips for Allergy Patch Testing

In this week’s hot video, our Sherry Boschert talks with Dr. Patricia Engasser about being patient when it comes patch testing. Sherry caught up with Dr. Engasser at the annual meeting of the Pacific Dermatologic Association in Pasadena, California.

The patch test is a biologic test. It needs to be interpreted carefully. Some weak reactions are important.

Dr. Engasser, who is a dermatologist in private practice in Menlo Park, California, recommends repeating the patch test for weak results to ensure reproducibility.

For more of the latest dermatology news and videos, visit Skin & Allergy News.

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Not Safe to Sit on the Sofa?

from the annual meetings of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Contact Dermatitis Society, Miami Beach

Courtesy flickr user Perfecto Insecto used with common license

Dermatologists in Europe have linked more than 1,000 cases of a new dermatitis to furniture shipped from a Chinese manufacturer, and more recently, reports of rashes from shoes and clothing from China are coming out of Spain and Italy as well.

So what’s causing people to suddenly break out  in this sometimes patchy, often widespread and painful rash? Turns out it’s dimethyl fumarate (DMF). How does this allergen get into the furniture, the clothing and the shoes? The DMF comes in tiny packets–similar to the  “Warning–Do Not Eat”  packets used to keep products dry during shipping. The time it takes to ship these products is enough for the vapors to silently permeate the new couches, chairs, and clothing.

The European Union banned DMF-containing products in May 2009,  accoring to an EU legislation blog.

“We have not seen (sofa dermatitis) yet  in the U.S., but we are probably going to start seeing this, and should be aware of it,” Dr. Joseph Fowler, Jr., a dermatologist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, said during a media briefing at the AAD meeting.

‘Did you just buy a new couch or clothes from China?’ might be a good question a patient with a mysterious dermatitis.  Most ‘sofa dermatitis’ cases are linked, literally, to the Chinese manufacturer Linkwise. The good news is many patients quickly improve once their new purchase is discarded.

—Damian McNamara (on twitter @MedReporter)
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Filed under Allergy and Immunology, Dermatology, Family Medicine, IMNG, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, The Mole

Hot Topic: Do Infections Cause Asthma?

Courtesy of Flickr user Stephen Cummings (creative commons).

Courtesy of Flickr user Stephen Cummings (creative commons).

From the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Washington

You know you’ve hit the news story jackpot when the session you cover is packed. Fortunately, I didn’t end up sitting on the floor during a session on infection and asthma here at the AAAAI meeting, but it seems that a lot of allergists and pulmonologists really want to know what is the relationship between infection and asthma.  Do infections change the immune system in certain individuals, making them more likely to develop asthma or do those who go on to develop asthma have altered immune function to start with, making them more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections?  Right now, no one seems to have the answers.

—Kerri Wachter

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Filed under Allergy and Immunology, Infectious Diseases, Pulmonary Diseases and Sleep Medicine

Top Dog…at Least for Eczema

Top dog Wile E.
Top dog Wile E. (photo by Kerri Wachter)

From the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Washington

Possibly the most heated dispute in human history is: Which is the better pet? Cats or dogs?  I’m quite prepared to sing the praises of the canine companion but I’m sure there’s at least one reader out there prepared to do the same for feline friends.  For eons, dog and cat proponents have faced a stalemate.  Until now. 

Here at AAAAI 2009, Dr. Tolly Epstein and her colleagues presented data in a poster on predictors of eczema in children.  When they looked at the association of dog or cat sensitization and eczema in a sample of more than 600 children, they found a big difference between the two pets. 

According to the research, having a dog appears to confer a protective effect that dampens the positive association between sensitization to dog and eczema. In contrast, having a cat in the house appears to enhance the positive association between sensitization to cat and eczema. “Dog ownership appeared to promote tolerance to the effects of sensitization, while cat ownership in combination with sensitization was associated with eczema,” they wrote.

Bad kitty.

—Kerri Wachter
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Filed under Allergy and Immunology