Abstract: Food allergy is a serious public health problem with an increasing prevalence. Current management is limited to food avoidance and emergency treatment. Research into the pathogenesis of food allergy has helped to shape our understanding of how patients become sensitized to an allergen. Classically, food sensitization was thought to occur through the gastrointestinal tract, but alternative routes of sensitization are being explored, specifically through the skin. Damaged skin barrier may play a crucial role in the development of food sensitization. Better understanding of how patients initially become sensitized may help lead to the development of a safe and effective treatment for food allergies or better prevention strategies.
Abstract: Egg allergy is a common pediatric allergy, and is usually outgrown by elementary school age. There is, therefore, a need to perform an oral food challenge (OFC) to establish the presence of food allergy to egg. In this study, we conducted a retrospective review of 2304 OFCs at a pediatric center and analyzed the severity of reactions during egg OFCs and compared them with other foods. The gastrointestinal system (GI) has been reported as more affected in egg food challenge. This study confirmed that 11% of patients undergoing egg OFC had GI symptoms vs. 7% undergoing food challenges for other foods or compared to milk, peanut and tree nut, individually. However, the involvement of lower respiratory tract was less frequent with egg than observed in peanut and tree nut OFC and similar to observed rate in milk. In conclusion, our study confirmed that OFC to egg causes more GI symptoms and less respiratory symptoms compared to other foods, in particular peanuts and tree nuts. However, 27% of children who failed egg OFC had lower respiratory tract reactions and required the use of epinephrine, similarly to children undergoing milk challenge.
Abstract: Over 30,000 patients are permanently dependent on Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) for survival with several folds higher requiring TPN for a prolonged duration. Unfortunately, it can cause potentially fatal complications. TPN infusion results in impairment of gut mucosal integrity, enhanced inflammation, increased cytokine expression and trans-mucosal bacterial permeation. It also causes endotoxin associated down regulation of bile acid transporters and Parenteral Nutrition Associated Liver Disease (PNALD), which includes steatosis, disrupted glucose metabolism, disrupted lipid metabolism, cholestasis and liver failure. Despite multiple theories, its etiology and pathophysiology remains elusive and is likely multifactorial. An important cause for TPN related pathologies appears to be a disruption in the normal enterohepatic circulation due to a lack of feeding during such therapy. This is further validated by the fact that in clinical settings, once cholestasis sets in, its reversal occurs when a patient is receiving a major portion of calories enterally. There are several other postulated mechanisms including gut bacterial permeation predisposing to endotoxin associated down regulation of bile acid transporters. An additional potential mechanism includes toxicity of the TPN solution itself, such as lipid mediated hepatic toxicity. Prematurity, leading to a poor development of bile acid regulating nuclear receptors and transporters has also been implicated as a causative factor. This review presents the current controversies and research into mechanisms of TPN associated injury.
Abstract: The Undiagnosed Diseases Program (UDP) was started in 2008 with the goals of making diagnoses and facilitating related translational research. The individuals and families seen by the UDP are often unique and medically complex. Approximately 40% of UDP cases are pediatric. The Undiagnosed Diseases Program Integrated Collaboration System (UDPICS) was designed to create a collaborative workspace for researchers, clinicians and families. We describe our progress in developing the system to date, focusing on design rationale, challenges and issues that are likely to be common in the development of similar systems in the future.
Abstract: Since food allergy knowledge and perceptions may influence prevention and management of school-based reactions, we evaluated them among nurses in an urban school district. All District of Columbia public school nurses were asked to anonymously complete a food allergy knowledge and attitude questionnaire. Knowledge scores were calculated as percentage of correct responses. Attitude responses were tabulated across five-point Likert scales, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The knowledge questionnaire was completed by 87% of eligible nurses and the attitude questionnaire by 83%. The mean total knowledge score was 76 ± 13 with domain score highest for symptom recognition and lowest for treatment. Regarding attitudes, most (94%) felt food allergy is a serious health problem, for which schools should have guidelines (94%). Fewer believed that nut-free schools (82%) and allergen-free tables (44%) should be implemented. Negative perceptions of parents were identified as: parents of food-allergic children are overprotective (55%) and make unreasonable requests of schools (15%). Food allergy knowledge deficits and mixed attitudes exist among this sample of urban school nurses, particularly related to management of reactions and perceptions of parents. Food allergy education of school nurses should be targeted to improve their knowledge and attitudes.
Abstract: Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) is the most common food allergy in infants and can affect a family’s quality of life. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the knowledge and experience of general practitioners (GPs) in terms of CMPA diagnosis and management and to explore the views of parents on the current diagnostic process. Two surveys were conducted in June 2014, which collected data from GPs and parents of infants diagnosed with CMPA in the United Kingdom. The questionnaires included quantitative and qualitative questions, which measured self-reported knowledge, management and perceived treatment progression, and the educational needs of GPs. We also explored parents’ experiences of local healthcare support in relation to CMPA. A total of 403 GPs and 300 parents completed the surveys. The main symptoms of CMPA and diagnosis period differed between GPs and parents. Other key points include different perceptions on symptom presentation and improvement, lack of awareness from GPs about current guidelines, and the significant burden on both families and GPs. This is the first study attempting to establish GP and parental experience in diagnosing CMPA. It is notable that the difference can be improved through training, appropriate diagnostic tools and improved communication between physicians and parents.