Research for alternative testing method for food allergies looks positive

According to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers have developed an alternate method to more accurately detect and identify the presence and severity of peanut allergies, without directly exposing patients to the allergen.

A team of chemical and biomolecular engineers at the University of Notre Dame designed nanoparticles, or “nanoallergens”, that mimic natural allergens by displaying each allergic component one at a time on their surfaces.  These nanoallergens are used to dissect the critical components of major peanut allergy proteins and evaluate the potency of the allergic response using the antibodies present in a blood sample from a patient.

Basar Bilgicer

“The goal of this study was to show how nanoallergen technology could be used to provide a clearer and more accurate assessment of the severity of an allergic condition,” said Basar Bilgicer, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and a member of the Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics initiative at Notre Dame.  The goal of this new testing procedure is to replace the oral food challenge; which requires a patient to ingest small amounts of the offending food to the point of intolerance or anaphylaxis; and skin prick testing, which may have false-positive test results.

“We are currently working with allergy specialist clinicians for further testing and verification of the diagnostic tool using a larger patient population. Ultimately, our vision is to take this technology and make it available to all people who suffer from food allergies.”

 

Source: Novel platform uses nanoparticles to detect peanut allergies

 

 

Major League Baseball Offers ‘Peanut-Controlled’ Games

Many Major League Baseball teams are now offering ‘peanut controlled’ baseball games at their venues.  This concept is quite refreshing, and is a positive step towards the inclusion and awareness of food allergies in the sports community.

The Milwaukee Brewers have scheduled four games this season featuring ‘peanut-controlled’ sections.  Although they warn that these areas are not specifically peanut-free, they are taking great measures to create a peanut-controlled atmosphere by posting signs restricting peanut products in those specific sections and performing additional cleaning in advance. However, they do warn that they ‘cannot guarantee the absence of peanut particle and residue.’ Fans with peanut allergies should still take precautions. Their website also gives instructions as to which entrance/exit to use that will help eliminate undue exposure to peanuts.

Other MLB teams are also offering sections or sky boxes that are peanut-free or peanut-controlled.  Kudos to all of the participating teams!  It’s not always ‘peanuts and cracker jacks’ for every MLB fan.

Food Allergy Awareness

I read a great blog post a few days ago, written by a guest blogger for FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).  The blog post was written to encourage others to participate in Fare’s Food Allergy Heroes Walk.  The take-home message for me was simple- Create Awareness.

My first profession was that of an elementary school teacher.  I was young and single, with no children of my own.  My ‘awareness’ of food allergies was very limited.  I knew of food allergies, I’d heard of people being allergic to peanuts, but had no real understanding what that meant for a child with food allergies or a parent with a food-allergic child.  Due to my inexperience, I didn’t have any understanding that being in contact with a peanut, or peanut butter, or a child who just ate a peanut butter sandwich for lunch could produce such disastrous outcomes- anaphylaxis, emergency rooms, feeling like nobody understands.  I didn’t ‘get it’ when parents and organizations had wars with the airline industry about banning peanuts as snacks.  I just thought, “Well, don’t eat the peanuts then.”  I didn’t understand that there are people so allergic to peanuts that by simply breathing in the cabin air on an airplane could make them sick, or that by touching a seat-back someone touched who had recently eaten peanuts and then wiping their eyes, nose, or mouth could have a severe allergic reaction.  I also was not aware that there were treatments for food allergies, such as allergy drops/sublingual immunotherapy.

Many years have gone by since I was a teacher, and I’m now a mother of three children, who thankfully do not have food allergies.  However, I have become more ‘aware’.  Aware of the needs of individuals with food allergies, aware of the needs of individuals as a whole- the need for sympathy and understanding from others, no matter what their ‘cause’ may be.

If you’re looking for a FARE walk, please follow the link to find a location near you.

http://fare.foodallergy.org/site/PageServer?pagename=heroes_walk_active_events

Its Here! The 2017 Valentines Day Edition of the Safe Snack Guide!

Snacksafely.com announced the publication of this year’s Valentine’s Edition of the Safe Snack Guide, an extensive catalog of allergy-friendly foods used by thousands of schools and tens of thousands of parents nationwide to help keep allergens out of the classroom and the home.

This edition has an entire section devoted to allergy-friendly sweets for your sweetie! Many are available at your local supermarket or can be ordered online.

Find peanut, tree nut and Top 8 allergen-free, gluten-free, kosher, organic, and non-GMO foods from this fully interactive Guide!

Source: Its Here! The 2017 Valentines Edition of the Safe Snack Guide! – SnackSafely.com

Feedback from concerned parents: follow-up to the new peanut guidelines

Some parents are frustrated, but experts say the new guidelines are based on convincing results of clinical trials that studied children at risk for peanut allergies. How will this impact the introduction of other foods to infants?

Source: Parents View New Peanut Guidelines With Guilt and Skepticism – The New York Times

A shift in strategy for preventing peanut allergies in children

There’s been a major shift in strategy for preventing potentially deadly peanut allergies. After a decade and a half of being told to keep peanuts away from small children, parents now are being told the opposite. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division within the National Institutes of Health, now recommends exposing infants to peanut protein when they’re only a few months old – ideally between the age of 4 to 6 months.

Source:  Mayo Clinic Minute: Peanut allergy prevention