Allergen Sensitization May Increase the Severity of Asthma
9, 2005 - NEWSdial.com) The presence of a food sensitization
may increase asthma in children, according
to a study in the May 2005 Journal of Allergy & Clinical
Immunology (JACI). The JACI is the peer-reviewed, scientific
journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Julie Wang, MD, from Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, and colleagues
evaluated blood serum samples from 504 children with asthma,
ages 4-9 years old, randomly selected from the National Cooperative
Inner City Asthma Study (NCICAS). They sought to determine the
prevalence rate of food allergen sensitization among inner city
children with asthma.
Since the data was obtained randomly and anonymously, researchers
were unable to determine if a food allergy existed in the children
evaluated. A food allergy is an immune system reaction to a specific
food, and requires the use of food challenges to determine if
an allergy exists. Allergic sensitization is defined by the presence
of specific IgE antibodies in the blood.
Researchers found that the prevalence of food sensitization,
and likely food allergy, is highly prevalent in inner city children
with asthma. After testing the children for specific IgE to six
common food allergens (egg, milk, soy, peanut, wheat and fish),
> Forty-five percent
of the children were sensitive to at least one food allergen.
> Children sensitive
to food had higher rates of hospitalizations due to their asthma.
> Children sensitized
to food required more steroid medications to manage their asthma
Children sensitized specifically to soy and fish had significantly
higher rates of emergency department visits, hospitalizations
and increased medication use.
While previous studies have shown a link between asthma and
food allergy, the current JACI study is one of the first to demonstrate
a correlation between food sensitization and the severity of
Researchers concluded that the presence of food sensitization
may serve as a marker for identifying children with more severe
asthma. They recommend that caretakers should consider screening
patients with moderate to severe asthma whose disease is not
well controlled with standard asthma medications.
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