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American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Feb. 28Mar. 4

Last Updated: March 05, 2014.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

The annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology was held from Feb. 28 to March 4 in San Diego and attracted more than 5,000 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, asthma, and immunology.

In one study, Scott P. Commins, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, and colleagues evaluated the efficacy of peanut oral immunotherapy in 20 peanut-allergic patients between the ages of 4 and 19. Patients underwent desensitization one year after starting oral immunotherapy, at which time they were transitioned to consuming one to two peanuts daily, or approximately 300 to 600 mg of peanut protein.

"The key result is that eating one to three peanuts a day was sufficient to lower peanut immunoglobulin E in 10 subjects over several months," said Commins. "This leads to the conclusion that low-dose maintenance may allow subjects on oral immunotherapy protocols to reach a sustained unresponsiveness state without significant struggles associated with consuming lots of peanut or peanut powder."

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In another study, Jessica Rabe Savage, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues assessed urinary phytoestrogen levels, history of wheezing and asthma, total and specific immunoglobulin E levels, and blood markers of allergic diseases among 10,708 patients included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2003 to 2010).

"The key results are that subjects with the highest levels of bacterial metabolites of flaxseed in their urine were about 30 percent less likely to have a diagnosis of asthma, and about 50 percent less likely to report wheezing last year. There were similar results for bacterial metabolites of soy and wheezing," said Savage. "The key conclusion is that ingestion of flax and/or soy (or other sources of these metabolites), or probiotics to increase their conversion, may help prevent or treat lower respiratory disease such as asthma."

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Angelina M. Crans Yoon, M.D., of the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, and colleagues evaluated the relationship between allergic rhinitis and cardiovascular risk.

"The major finding is that patients with allergic rhinitis have decreased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, and all-cause mortality, and that patients with asthma have increased risk of heart disease but no change in risk of stroke or death compared to controls. It is likely that allergy is not related to an asthma patient's increased risk of heart disease," said Crans Yoon. "It is important to decrease risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity and high blood pressure, in all patients, but perhaps even more in patients with asthma."

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Kathryn E. Hulse, Ph.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues evaluated gender differences in chronic rhinosinusitis patients who have nasal polyps (CRSwNP). The investigators found that women were less likely to have CRSwNP. However, women who do develop CRSwNP have more severe disease than men.

"Women were less likely to have CRSwNP than men. However, women with CRSwNP had more severe disease than men, as assessed by a higher prevalence of comorbid asthma, the need for more revision surgeries, and more severe sinus inflammation on computed tomography scan," said Hulse. "In addition, women with CRSwNP and asthma had the highest levels of inflammatory markers and autoantibodies in their polyp tissue."

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Jonathan M. Spergel, M.D., Ph.D., of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues found that individuals who were previously allergic to a particular food may be at risk for developing eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). The investigators evaluated 1,025 children with EoE between 2000 and 2012. They found that, in 425 children, one specific food was the cause of EoE, with the most common triggers being milk, egg, wheat, and soy.

"What we're really seeing is that the paths of development for EoE and food allergy are distinct from each other, and we still need to learn more," Spergel said in a statement. "The most interesting finding though is that we're now seeing that people who outgrow a food allergy to a specific food may be at risk of developing EoE to the same food."

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