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American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Nov. 8-13, 2012

Last Updated: November 16, 2012.

The 2012 Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

The annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology was held from Nov. 8 to 13 in Anaheim, Calif., and attracted approximately 3,500 participants from around the world, including allergy and immunology specialists as well as other health care professionals. The conference featured presentations focusing on the latest advances in the prevention and treatment of asthma, food and medication allergies, immune dysfunction, and sleep apnea.

In one study, Sunday Clark, M.D., of the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues found that preventive anaphylaxis care for individuals with known allergies is important, and may reduce the risk of a severe anaphylactic episode.

"Among patients requiring emergency department care or a hospitalization for anaphylaxis, one-quarter had a severe anaphylactic reaction. Those who had filled a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector or visited an allergist/immunologist in the year before the index event were less likely to have a severe anaphylactic reaction," Clark said. "We hope that these results will raise awareness of the importance of preventive anaphylaxis care, including seeing an allergist/immunologist and having an epinephrine auto-injector."

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In another study, Jennifer Rumpel, M.D., of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and colleagues found genetic ancestry to be associated with the likelihood of a severe asthma attack, suggesting that there are genetic risk factors for asthma attacks.

"Our findings suggest that genes play a role in increasing the risk of asthma attacks, and that some of these genetic risk factors partition with African ancestry," Rumpel said. "The risk associated with genetic ancestry was higher in males as compared with females, suggesting that there are other environmental factors which interact with these genes to determine whether an individual has severe asthma attacks."

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Vesselin Dimov, M.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues found a 470 percent increase in the use of Twitter over a one-year period among allergy specialists. In 2011, there were 18 self-identified allergy specialists on Twitter, increasing to 85 in 2012. The investigators found that allergy specialists were using Twitter to educate patients and connect with colleagues. Specifically, 49 percent of 1,307 tweets analyzed were associated with allergy topics.

"Twitter, a popular social network and free microblogging service, is being rapidly adopted by allergists, with 470 percent growth in one year," Dimov and colleagues conclude. "Future studies should focus on best practices of Twitter use for patient and physician education by individual allergists and specialty organizations."

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ACAAI: Baked Eggs Tolerated by Some Egg-Allergic Children

FRIDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Just over half of children with hen egg allergies can tolerate baked eggs in an oral food challenge (OFC); and more than a quarter of children over the age of 10 with food allergies develop tolerance, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 8 to 13 in Anaheim, Calif.

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ACAAI: Much of Alpha-Gal Sensitivity Due to Lone Star Tick

FRIDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Although rates of galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal) immunoglobulin (Ig)E sensitization are higher in areas where the lone star tick is known to exist, alpha-gal sensitization is also seen in regions without the lone star tick, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 8 to 13 in Anaheim, Calif.

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