An estimated 15 million Americans (and 17 million Europeans) suffer from food allergies, according to the experts at Food Allergy Research & Education, Inc. Yet—approved immunotherapy treatments for these allergies are still in the works, so allergy experts from the Medical University of Vienna recently suggested the best approach to avoid succumbing to food allergies: avoid the allergen responsible.
This will be a heavily discussed topic at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) Congress, which kicks off this Saturday in Vienna. The team from the Medical University of Vienna further suggests using molecule analysis to create a sort of personalized diagnosis for each allergy sufferer, as it can enable researchers to create a diet plan and prevent unanticipated allergy outbreaks.
Another central theme that will be explored at Saturday’s conference will be how to manage individuals with life-threatening, anaphylactic conditions. Researchers will look at the extent to which sugary foods interact with allergens. The overall goal? To create approved immunotherapy treatments that people with severe food allergies can use in the (hopefully near) future.
Food allergies can occur at any age, although young adults have a higher risk of deadly food-induced anaphylaxis, in particular to one of the top eight food allergens: fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, tree nuts, soy, peanuts, and wheat.
A 2013 study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that food allergies in kids increased by about 50% between 1997 and 2011. The cost of children’s food allergies is about $25 billion per year in the U.S. (Europeans spend about 100 billion Euros annually treating allergies).
Stats aside— the aptly-dubbed theme of this year’s EAACI congress, which takes place from June 11 – June 15, is ‘Waltzing with Allergens’. A tongue-in-cheek symbolization of the advances and treatment of allergic diseases—a result of a worldwide conglomerate of partnerships between scientists and patients, modern and traditional methods of observation, and of course, studies.
“Food allergies: avoiding allergens is the best protection,” Medical University of Vienna web site, June 9, 2016; https://www.meduniwien.ac.at/homepage/1/news-and-topstories/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=6651&cHash=fc0fc46036fc4f50a70d57bad3d8e22c.
“How Many People Have Food Allergies?” Food Allergy Research & Education web site, https://www.foodallergy.org/facts-and-stats, last accessed June 10, 2016.