The 2010 Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) took place Nov. 11 to 16 in Phoenix and attracted over 3,000 participants from around the world. The conference highlighted advances in allergy, asthma, and immunology research, procedures, and technologies. Presentations focused on allergies to food, medications, and chemicals as well as the use of immunotherapy and steroids for the treatment of asthma.
"There is a continued drive in asthma to a better understanding why certain asthma patients behave in a certain way. There has been a long-standing hypothesis that asthma is multiple diseases in one, and now many refer to discussing types of asthma as the different phenotypes of asthma," said John J. Oppenheimer, M.D., chair of the ACAAI Abstract Review Committee. "This new drive in considering asthma phenotypes will hopefully aid us in choice of asthma therapy in the future. In the meantime, the importance of this issue has been highlighted in the recent BADGER (Best Add-on Therapy Giving Effective Responses) study, where it was found that children who were not controlled despite use of inhaled corticosteroids responded differently to add-on options. Although the largest group improved with the addition of a long-acting beta-agonist, others did better with [an] increase in their inhaled corticosteroid dose, while others did better with the addition of a leukotriene-receptor antagonist."
During a media briefing, Luz M. Fonacier, M.D., of Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., discussed the potential causes of contact dermatitis, explaining that, individuals regularly come in contact with products that can cause the condition and if these are identified and avoided, symptoms be may resolved. Fonacier discussed symptoms associated with cosmetic allergies as well as those associated with metals, jewelry, and tattoos.
"Rashes from allergic contact dermatitis to cosmetics, metals, or hair dye are not uncommon. Although short-term treatment may include over-the-counter topical corticosteroids, the long-term treatment and cure of this dermatitis is to identify the cause and avoid the exposure. Different cosmetics may have the same substances the patient is allergic to and just changing from one brand to another will not resolve the rash," Fonacier said. "It is important that the patient sees an allergist or a dermatologist and [has] a patch test done to identify the specific chemical they are allergic to. They can then be provided a comprehensive list of products that are free of their identified allergen."
During another media briefing, focusing on immunotherapy, Linda S. Cox, M.D., of the University of Miami School of Medicine, discussed the advantages of immunotherapy as well as novel modes of immunotherapy administration such as sublingual or epicutaneous.
"Immunotherapy is the only treatment modality that gets at the cause of the allergy, as it targets the underlying signaling mechanisms associated with the allergy, not just masking or controlling symptoms. Immunotherapy specifically targets the immune response and provides a long-term benefit to patients with allergies even after treatment is halted," Cox said. "Immunotherapy may also prevent asthma, especially in patients with allergic rhinitis. In addition, in patients just developing allergies, immunotherapy may help to prevent the progression to additional allergies, onset of new allergies, or worsening of allergies."
Lewis H. Ziska, Ph.D., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Md., discussed the effects of rising carbon dioxide levels and climate changes on plant biology and public health.
"Lab and field studies have shown that, as carbon dioxide levels have increased, twice the amount of pollen has been produced per plant over the last 75 years. Our projection, if carbon dioxide levels continue to increase at the same rate, is that the pollen levels will double again in 30 to 50 years from now," Ziska said. "Our work may influence clinical issues by changing the way we see the interaction between climate change, plant biology, and public health -- specifically by helping to quantify how rising carbon dioxide, warmer temperatures, and a longer growing season my alter the occurrence of allergic rhinitis and associated asthma. Better forecasting and understanding of how climate change triggers allergies can lead to more effective public health measures and improved quality of life for seasonal allergy sufferers."
ACAAI: Many Children, Adults Unable to Identify Nut Types
TUESDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Children and adults -- regardless of their peanut and tree nut allergy status -- appear to have difficulty correctly identifying most nuts, according to a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 11 to 16 in Phoenix.
ACAAI: Amoxicillin Allergy More Commonly Found in Children
MONDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Children are more likely than adults to test positive to amoxicillin allergy on penicillin skin testing (PST), according to a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 11 to 16 in Phoenix.
ACAAI: Influenza Vaccines May Vary in Allergen Amounts
MONDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals with egg or gelatin allergies should not assume that because they previously tolerated the H1N1 influenza or seasonal influenza (SI) vaccine, future tolerance is guaranteed, as vaccines vary in the amount of allergenic components they contain, according to a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 11 to 16 in Phoenix.
ACAAI: Drug Combo Tied to Higher Costs in Mild Asthma
MONDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with mild asthma, the combined use of an inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta agonist (ICS/LABA) -- which is prevalent -- is associated with higher costs and no clinical benefit, according to a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 11 to 16 in Phoenix.
ACAAI: IgE Antibody Levels Significantly Up
MONDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- IgE antibody levels, which are associated with allergic reactions, have increased significantly among both men and women in the United States, according to a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 11 to 16 in Phoenix.
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