The annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) was held from March 18 to 22 in San Francisco and attracted over 7,000 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in allergic and immunologic disease. The conference highlighted recent advances in allergy and immunology research, with presentations also focusing on other developments in allergy, asthma, and immunologic diseases.
In one study, Dan Dalan, M.D., of the Allergy & Asthma Care Center in Fargo, N.D., and colleagues found that predicted pollen information differed significantly from actual pollen counts. The investigators compared pollen levels (high to low), top three pollens, total counts, and indexes from 12 representative AAAAI National Allergy Bureau (NAB) stations in the United States and one in Canada to the corresponding daily reports from www.pollen.com, and www.theweathernetwork.com, for the 2009 and 2007 pollen seasons.
"Patients, primary care and allergy doctors often report to me their confusion when there are reports of particular pollens being high or present from weather stations and other online sources. When they look at NAB reports, they report something different," Dalan said. "I noticed this from our counting station here in Fargo, and so we formally analyzed these differences with several other NAB counting stations across the country and Canada. The study we reported summarizes these differences."
The investigators found that the predicted pollen information from these Web sites was different from actual counts derived from the 13 NAB stations.
"The NAB reports are actual counts and presence of pollens, whereas the other sites are predicted like the weather. There is a difference between the two sources, and it is important to know this information," Dalan added. "For patient care impact as well as current and future studies, it is best to use real and actual information, rather than predicted. It is important to continue to try to improve prediction models for future use, and the scientific community will strive to look for how we can do this."
In another study, Elizabeth L. Anderson, B.S.N., of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, and colleagues found that certain lung defects were significantly more present in girls compared to boys, independent of the presence of asthma. The investigators evaluated 43 children aged 9 to 11 years, including 17 with current asthma, from the Childhood Origins of Asthma project, an observational study of a high-risk birth cohort. Magnetic resonance imaging with NC100182-inhalation (hyperpolarized helium), an inert gas, was used to define the location and size of ventilation defects.
Compared to children without asthma, the investigators found that children with asthma had an increased number of areas of the lung with no airflow. The investigators also found that these lung defects were significantly more present in girls than boys, independent of whether they had asthma.
"These findings indicate that, prior to puberty, airflow to the lungs in girls is not as evenly distributed as it is in boys, even in children without asthma. In children with asthma, these abnormalities in airflow distribution are even more pronounced," a study co-author said in a statement. "We plan to repeat these studies once the children have reached puberty to determine whether or not these same relationships exist with the increase in lung size that occurs during adolescence."
Gary W.K. Wong, M.D., of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and colleagues found that the prevalence of food allergy appears to be lower in rural areas compared with more urban areas. The investigators enrolled 28,283 children, aged 6 to 11 years, from Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou city, and rural Shaoguan. A parent or guardian was asked to fill out two questionnaires, and a random case-control sample of 1,780 children was recruited for skin prick testing and to determine their specific levels of immunoglobulin E.
The investigators found that the rate of probable food allergy was 3.8 percent in Hong Kong, 2.6 percent in Beijing, and 1.8 percent in Guangzhou, compared with only 0.2 percent in rural Beijing and 0.1 percent in rural Shaoguan.
"All our subjects were of the same genetic background and our results clearly showed that food allergy is far less common in the rural populations. It is highly likely that there are important modifiable rural environmental factors protecting against the development of food allergies. Detailed studies of the rural environment to identify these protective factors will be our next step of research," Wong said in a statement.
AAAAI: Regimen Desensitizes Youth With Milk Allergy
WEDNESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- A new treatment approach that involves the use of omalizumab in combination with oral desensitization in children with milk allergies appears to improve milk tolerance with few allergic reactions, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from March 18 to 22 in San Francisco.
AAAAI: Asthma Tied to Higher Risk of Certain Diseases
TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Asthma appears to be associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus (DM) and coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from March 18 to 22 in San Francisco.
AAAAI: Combined OCPs Not Tied to Respiratory Issues
TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- The use of progestin-estrogen oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) in women prior to becoming pregnant does not appear to increase the risk of adverse respiratory outcomes in offspring, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from March 18 to 22 in San Francisco.
AAAAI: One-Third of Infants Outgrow Milk Allergy
MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- One-third of infants with a history of milk allergy appear to resolve their allergy within 30 months, though children with more severe atopic dermatitis (AD) appear to be less likely to outgrow egg or milk allergy, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from March 18 to 22 in San Francisco.
AAAAI: Birth Order Impacts Specific Allergy Risk
MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- First born children appear to have a higher risk of suffering from certain types of allergies than their siblings, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from March 18 to 22 in San Francisco.
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