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American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting, March 14-18, 2008

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

The 2008 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology's (AAAAI) Annual Meeting convened in Philadelphia, from March 14-18, and included approximately 7,000 allergists, allied health professionals and researchers from around the world. Research presented included new data on the origins of asthma and allergies, strategies for improving care of the patients with asthma, and novel insights into the management of food allergies.

Several presentations explored potential triggers in the pathogenesis of asthma, implicating respiratory viruses such as RSV and rhinovirus, and exposure to diesel exhaust particles, indoor bacterial endotoxin and mouse allergens as agents leading an increased likelihood of wheezing and asthma symptoms.

"The problem with asthma in America is that people don't take it as a serious disease," commented allergist Gary Rachelefsky. "Asthma is a dynamic disease, not a fixed one," he said, explaining that environmental triggers can lead to a worsening of symptoms.

Another study reported that poorly controlled asthma is associated with increased health care utilization. Theresa Guilbert, M.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues found that patients with suboptimal asthma control were four times more likely to require office visits and 4.5 times more likely to visit emergency departments than patients with good asthma control.

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Another major focus of the conference was research into the prevention and treatment of food allergies. "I think the whole area of food allergies is exciting; particularly all the work that is being done in IgE-mediated food allergies," explained Rebecca Gruchalla, an allergist and member of the AAAAI board. "New treatments are coming out, and while they are not clinically available yet, they are not far away either."

For example, a study from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore that enrolled children with confirmed cow's milk allergy found that treatment with increasing doses of milk protein led to substantial increases in tolerance to cow's milk. Another study explored the prevention of peanut allergy. Ivan Lopez Exposito, Ph.D., and colleagues from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City found that treating female peanut-allergic mice with low doses of peanut during pregnancy and lactation appeared to protect their offspring against peanut allergy.

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One noteworthy study reported that a large proportion of children with food allergies in early childhood may outgrow them. Takashi Kusunoki, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from Shiga Medical Center for Children in Moriyama, Japan, studied roughly 14,000 Japanese schoolchildren with allergies to egg, milk or wheat diagnosed before age 1, and found that more than 80 percent of children became tolerant to these foods by school age. However, this group also had higher prevalences of asthma, atopic dermatitis and allergic rhinitis, and were also more likely to report avoiding other foods such as shellfish and fruits, compared to children without early food allergies.

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AAAAI: Studies Provide Insight into Origins of Asthma

FRIDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Rhinovirus infections, diesel exhaust particles, bacterial endotoxin and mouse allergens may all be associated with the development or worsening of asthma symptoms, according to research presented at the 2008 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this month.

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AAAAI: Peanut Allergy May Arise By Sensitization Via Skin

THURSDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Research exploring the mechanism by which peanut allergy develops as well as a potential desensitization treatment for peanut allergic individuals were among study findings presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this month.

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AAAAI: Web-Based Tool Aids Asthma Management

THURSDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- A new Web-based tool, ASTHMA IQ, helps asthma specialists apply newly updated asthma guidelines into their clinical practice with the goal of improving the quality of care delivered to patients with asthma. ASTHMA IQ was unveiled at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this month.

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