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Concept: Allergology


Background The age at which allergenic foods should be introduced into the diet of breast-fed infants is uncertain. We evaluated whether the early introduction of allergenic foods in the diet of breast-fed infants would protect against the development of food allergy. Methods We recruited, from the general population, 1303 exclusively breast-fed infants who were 3 months of age and randomly assigned them to the early introduction of six allergenic foods (peanut, cooked egg, cow’s milk, sesame, whitefish, and wheat; early-introduction group) or to the current practice recommended in the United Kingdom of exclusive breast-feeding to approximately 6 months of age (standard-introduction group). The primary outcome was food allergy to one or more of the six foods between 1 year and 3 years of age. Results In the intention-to-treat analysis, food allergy to one or more of the six intervention foods developed in 7.1% of the participants in the standard-introduction group (42 of 595 participants) and in 5.6% of those in the early-introduction group (32 of 567) (P=0.32). In the per-protocol analysis, the prevalence of any food allergy was significantly lower in the early-introduction group than in the standard-introduction group (2.4% vs. 7.3%, P=0.01), as was the prevalence of peanut allergy (0% vs. 2.5%, P=0.003) and egg allergy (1.4% vs. 5.5%, P=0.009); there were no significant effects with respect to milk, sesame, fish, or wheat. The consumption of 2 g per week of peanut or egg-white protein was associated with a significantly lower prevalence of these respective allergies than was less consumption. The early introduction of all six foods was not easily achieved but was safe. Conclusions The trial did not show the efficacy of early introduction of allergenic foods in an intention-to-treat analysis. Further analysis raised the question of whether the prevention of food allergy by means of early introduction of multiple allergenic foods was dose-dependent. (Funded by the Food Standards Agency and others; EAT Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN14254740 .).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Nutrition, Egg, Randomized controlled trial, Allergy, Food, Food allergy, Allergology


Wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA) is a specific form of wheat allergy typically induced by exercise after ingestion of wheat products. Wheat ω-5 gliadin is a major allergen associated with conventional WDEIA, and detection of serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) specific to recombinant ω-5 gliadin is a reliable method for its diagnosis. Recently, an increased incidence of a new subtype of WDEIA, which is likely to be sensitized via a percutaneous and/or rhinoconjunctival route to hydrolyzed wheat protein (HWP), has been observed. All of the patients with this new subtype had used the same brand of soap, which contained HWP. Approximately half of these patients developed contact allergy several months later and subsequently developed WDEIA. In each of these patients, contact allergy with soap exposure preceded food ingestion-induced reactions. Other patients directly developed generalized symptoms upon ingestion of wheat products. The predominant observed symptom of the new WDEIA subtype was angioedema of the eyelids; a number of patients developed anaphylaxis. This new subtype of WDEIA has little serum ω-5 gliadin-specific serum IgE.

Concepts: Immune system, Asthma, Hypersensitivity, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Mast cell, Wheat, Allergology



Food allergy prevalence is reported to be increasing, but epidemiological data using patients' electronic health records (EHRs) remain sparse.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Asthma, Allergy, Food allergy, Eczema, Electronic health record, Allergology, Oral allergy syndrome


Peanut allergy (PA) is a complex disease with both environmental and genetic risk factors. Previously PA loci were identified in FLG and HLA in candidate gene studies, and loci in HLA in a genome-wide association study and meta-analysis.

Concepts: Genetics, Epidemiology, Biology, Risk, Allergy, Genome-wide association study, Food allergy, Allergology


BACKGROUND: A diagnosis of peanut allergy has a major impact on an individual’s quality of life. Exposure to even small amounts of peanut can trigger serious reactions. Common cleaning agents can easily remove peanut allergen from surfaces such as table tops. Parents of children with peanut allergy frequently ask if peanut allergen can persist on surfaces if they have not been cleaned.Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the persistence of peanut allergen on a typical table surface over time. METHODS: 5 mL of peanut butter was evenly smeared on a 12 inch by 12 inch (30.5 by 30.5 cm) square on a nonporous (laminated plastic) table surface. Five squares were prepared in the same manner. The table was kept in a regular hospital office at room temperature and ambient lighting. No cleaning occurred for 110 days. Samples were taken at regular intervals from different areas each time. A monoclonal-based ELISA for arachis hypogaea allergen 1 (Ara h 1), range of detection 1.95-2000 ng/mL, was used to assess peanut allergen on the table surface. RESULTS: At baseline, there was no detectable Ara h 1 allergen. Immediately post application and for 110 days of collecting, detectable Ara h 1 was found each time a sample was taken. There was no obvious allergen degradation over time. Active cleaning of the contaminated surface with a commercial cleaning wipe resulted in no detectable Ara h 1 allergen. CONCLUSIONS: Peanut allergen is very robust. Detectable Ara h 1 was present on the table surface for 110 days. Active cleaning of peanut contaminated surfaces easily removed peanut residue and allergen. Regular cleaning of surfaces before and after eating should be reinforced as a safety measure for all individuals with peanut allergy.

Concepts: Allergy, Fabaceae, Food allergy, Allergology, Peanut, Arachis, Peanut butter, Peanuts


BACKGROUND: Epidemiological evidence has shown that pediatric food allergy is more prevalent in regions further from the equator, suggesting that vitamin D insufficiency may play a role in this disease. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the role of vitamin D status in infantile food allergy. METHODS: A population sample of 5276 one-year-old infants underwent skin prick testing to peanut, egg, sesame, and cow’s milk or shrimp. All those with a detectable wheal and a random sample of participants with negative skin prick test results attended a hospital-based food challenge clinic. Blood samples were available for 577 infants (344 with challenge-proven food allergy, 74 sensitized but tolerant to food challenge, 159 negative on skin prick test and food challenge). Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured by using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Associations between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and food allergy were examined by using multiple logistic regression, adjusting for potential risk and confounding factors. RESULTS: Infants of Australian-born parents, but not of parents born overseas, with vitamin D insufficiency (≤50 nmol/L) were more likely to be peanut (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 11.51; 95% CI, 2.01-65.79; P = .006) and/or egg (aOR, 3.79; 95% CI, 1.19-12.08; P = .025) allergic than were those with adequate vitamin D levels independent of eczema status. Among those with Australian-born parents, infants with vitamin D insufficiency were more likely to have multiple food allergies (≥2) rather than a single food allergy (aOR, 10.48; 95% CI, 1.60-68.61 vs aOR, 1.82; 95% CI, 0.38-8.77, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: These results provide the first direct evidence that vitamin D sufficiency may be an important protective factor for food allergy in the first year of life.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Asthma, Egg, Milk, Allergy, Food allergy, Eczema, Allergology


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Nonspecific lipid transfer protein (LTP) is the main cause of primary food allergy in adults living in the Mediterranean area. The way allergic patients get sensitized to this protein is all but established, and the clinical expression of sensitization is extremely variable, ranging from long-lasting symptomless sensitization to severe anaphylaxis. Such variability is seemingly due to the presence/absence of a number of cofactors. RECENT FINDINGS: The possibility that LTP sensitization occurs via the inhalation of LTP-containing pollen particles seems unlikely; in contrast, peach particles containing the protein seem able to sensitize both via the airways and the skin. Cosensitization to pollen allergens as well as to labile plant food allergens makes LTP allergy syndrome less severe. In some LTP sensitized subjects clinical food allergy occurs only in the presence of cofactors such as exercise, NSAIDs, or chronic urticaria. SUMMARY: Lipid transfer protein allergy syndrome shows some peculiarities that are unique in the primary food allergy panorama: geographical distribution, frequent asymptomatic sensitization, frequent need for cofactors, and reduced severity when pollen allergy is present. Future studies will have to address these points as the results may have favorable effects on other, more severe, types of food allergy.

Concepts: Asthma, Allergy, Food allergy, Eczema, Allergology, Allergen immunotherapy, Sensitization, Eric Kandel


Penicillin allergy is commonly reported in the pediatric emergency department (ED). True penicillin allergy is rare, yet the diagnosis results from the denial of first-line antibiotics. We hypothesize that all children presenting to the pediatric ED with symptoms deemed to be low-risk for immunoglobulin E-mediated hypersensitivity will return negative results for true penicillin allergy.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Asthma, Allergy, Greek loanwords, Penicillin, Allergology


Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) use in the United States to date has been limited, despite common use and demonstrated efficacy elsewhere in the world. This is largely in part due to lack of FDA-approved SLIT products, lack of established dosing and administration guidelines, and cost concerns. Several recent studies have demonstrated efficacy and safety of two sublingual grass tablets and one ragweed tablet approved by the FDA, and one sublingual ragweed liquid currently pending FDA approval. With FDA approved SLIT products, there will be numerous challenges to the allergist and patient in deciding whether to pursue SLIT or SCIT (subcutaneous immunotherapy) for allergic rhinitis. This review highlights the current state of SLIT in the United States, and expected future directions.

Concepts: Asthma, United States, Sinusitis, Immunology, Allergy, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Allergology