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American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Feb. 22-26, 2013

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

The annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology was held from Feb. 22 to 26 in San Antonio and attracted approximately 5,500 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in allergic and immunologic disease. The conference highlighted recent advances in allergy, asthma, and immunology, with presentations and abstracts focusing on other developments in allergy, asthma, and immunologic diseases.

In one study, Jonathan I. Silverberg, M.D., Ph.D., of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, and colleagues found that children born outside the United States had less allergic disease compared with those born in the United States, including asthma, eczema, hay fever, and food allergy.

"Children born outside the United States whose parents were also born outside the United States had even less allergic disease than those whose parents were born in the United States. However, the prevalence of allergic disease increased in foreign-born children who lived in the United States for >10 years compared with only zero to two years," Silverberg said. "This study suggests that foreign-born Americans may have a later onset and perhaps different presentation of allergic disease than United States-born Americans. We believe that this issue should be addressed in clinical decision making. We hope that this study leads to future research into risk factors that can be modified in order to decrease allergic disease in the United States."

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In another study, Kari Nadeau, M.D., Ph.D., of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues found that increased exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in air pollution was associated with certain immune system effects and asthma diagnosis.

Among a sample of 332 children exposed to PAHs, the investigators found that exposure to higher levels was linked to increased total immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels. In addition, significantly weakened regulatory T cell function was seen in children who had been exposed to higher amounts of PAHs. The investigators also found that an asthma diagnosis correlated with total IgE levels.

"We already know that IgE plays a role in asthma development, and increased IgE levels result when asthmatics are exposed to triggers like pollutants," Nadeau said in a statement. "There is also growing evidence that regulatory T cells play an important role in inhibiting allergic sensitization and IgE production after exposure to an allergen. Regulatory T cell numbers are reduced in patients with asthma."

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Brian Vickery, M.D., of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and colleagues found that children with food allergies had lower weight and body mass index (BMI) percentiles compared to children without food allergies. In addition, children with milk allergies had lower percentiles for weight and BMI compared to those with other food allergies.

"Compared to those children in the sample who had one or two food allergies, those with more than two had lower percentiles for height and weight. It suggests that the number of food allergies is a factor," Vickery said in a statement. "A greater number of food allergies [translate] into a greater number of dietary restrictions."

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AAAAI: EpiPens Should Be Given in Lower Thigh in Heavy Kids

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In obese and overweight children, epinephrine auto-injectors need to be administered in the lower half of the thigh, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Feb. 22 to 26 in San Antonio.

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AAAAI: Omalizumab Treatment Effective for Urticaria

MONDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of chronic idiopathic urticaria with omalizumab is effective in reducing itch severity in patients resistant to treatment with antihistamines, according to a study published online Feb. 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Feb. 22 to 26 in San Antonio.

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