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Food Allergy Research Roundup 2017 Quarter 1


Kids With Food Allergies will recap some of the top research in food allergies every three months. Here is a look at studies reported between January and March. Read about teens and food allergy, peanut allergy, secondhand smoke and more.

What Protects Teens and Young Adults From Taking Risks With Their Food Allergies?

Do you have a teen or young adult with a food allergy? Do you consider yourself an "overprotective" mother? Research suggests that your protectiveness may keep them from taking food allergy risks.1 Teens and young adults are at-risk for severe allergic reactions.

Other things that could protect this at-risk group:

  • Section 504 accommodation plans
  • Supportive female friends

This study used a survey of 200 people with food allergies ages 14-22.

Why is this important?

Teens and young adults have the highest rate of death from food allergies. Knowing what factors protect them may help create better policies at school and awareness at home.

What Are the Patterns in Severe Allergic Reactions?

Severe allergic reactions, or anaphylaxis, are increasing. Researchers reviewed the records of 730 people who saw an allergist about eight months after a severe allergic reaction.2 They wanted to see how patterns of anaphylaxis are changing. Earlier research indicated that some anaphylaxis cases had no known cause.

The review found that these were the most common reasons for severe allergic reactions:

  • Foods
  • Insect venom
  • Idiopathic (unknown cause)
  • Medicine

And the most common foods to cause reactions were: 

  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Egg and milk

Why is this important?

The researchers noted the importance of an evaluation by an allergist. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the allergens one is allergic to. Without a full evaluation, about one in six anaphylaxis cases would have been missed.

Is Secondhand Smoke Linked to Egg and Peanut Allergy?

In the first study of its kind, researchers found that infants exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to develop food-related symptoms in childhood.3

The study followed 3,764 children born between 1994 and 1996 until they were 16 years old. Parents were surveyed when the children were 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 and 16 years old. They were asked about allergy-like symptoms to specific foods. When the children turned 4, 8 and 16, they were also tested for immunoglobulin E (IgE) reactivity to certain food allergens. IgE is an antibody associated with allergic reactions.

The researchers then looked at the parentsโ€™ reported smoking when their child was about two months old. They found that secondhand smoke significantly increased the odds of IgE-associated symptoms to egg and peanut.

Why is this important?

Secondhand smoke exposure is a known risk factor for asthma, but this is the first study to see if it affects food allergy.

Peanut Patch Shows Continued Positive Results for Peanut Allergy

Children using an experimental skin patch to treat peanut allergy were able to tolerate more peanuts the longer they stayed on the patch, researchers reported.4

The peanut patch is a form of skin immunotherapy. It allows the immune system to be exposed to the allergen through the patch on the skin.

When the study began, the median dose a patient could handle was 44 milligrams of peanut protein (about 1/5 of a peanut). Three years later, kids using the patch could eat a median dose of 1,440 milligrams (about 6 peanuts).

The patch is called Viaskinยฎ Peanut and it is a product of DBV Technologies. The company is also developing a patch for milk allergy.

Why is this important?

This form of immunotherapy may protect people with peanut allergies if they are accidentally exposed to peanuts.


1. Warren, Christopher M. et al. (2017). Food Allergyโ€“Related Risk-Taking and Management Behaviors Among Adolescents and Young Adults. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

2. Gonzalez-Estrada, A., et al. (2017). Epidemiology of anaphylaxis at a tertiary care center. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

3. Feldman, L., et al. (2017). Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Early Life and Food-Related Symptoms through Adolescence: Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

4. Shreffler, W., et al. (2017). Efficacy and Safety of Long-Term Epicutaneous Immunotherapy (EPIT) Treatment of Peanut Allergy with Viaskinยฎ peanut: Results of the Two-Year Extension of the Vipes Phase IIb Clinical Trial. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Kids With Food Allergies
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