Food allergies and asthma in children are a big deal. Parents worry about their children having a fatal reaction to a peanut, or whether they won’t have their inhalers on hand if they have a nasty asthma attack at school. Physicians have been busy trying to figure out what causes food allergies and asthma, as well as how to treat it.
Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user sadalit
At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology in New Orleans, it was announced at a press conference that too much folate during pregnancy could be a cause of allergies. This was news to me, but apparently it is a cause of concern and worthy of a study.
At the meeting’s featured poster session, there was additional information showing that higher plasma folate levels in pregnant women was significantly associated with an increased risk of their children developing asthma at 3 years of age.
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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.
From the joint annual meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Do you smoke? That’s now reason enough for you to receive the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, according to the latest recommendations–approved just last week–from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/acip/default.htm.
I heard some some buzz about this new recommendation while covering the joint annual meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, affectionately known as ICAAC/IDSA.
Dr. Pekka Nuorti of the CDC dropped this potential bombshell into his talk about tools to prevent pneumococcal disease in adults.
Dr. Nuorti conducted a study published in 2000 which found that smokers accounted for more than half of the pneumococcal disease cases in adults younger than 65 years. The new indication for the vaccine represents a risk-based approach to reducing pneumococcal disease, compared to an age-based approach, he noted. In addition, ACIP is now recommending the vaccine for all adults with asthma. The previous recommendation was age-based, and simply recommended vaccination for all adults aged 65 years and older.
This change would increase the number of people who would need the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, and the question and answer session here at ICAAC/IDSA included questions about the possible need for boosters for younger adults, and whether those who are exposed to secondhand smoke eventually would become targets for vaccination. Also, a new pneumococcal vaccine for adults may be available in less than 5 years, so is it worth it to vaccinate large numbers of adults, only to possibly re-vaccinate them in the near future? And what if someone has only recently quit smoking?
Dr. Nuorti was just the messenger, and he didn’t have the answers to these questions, which will likely be ongoing. Certainly members of this audience, which included clinicians and research scientists, were debating the pros and cons of these new indications among themselves.