In the News: "Explosion" of Allergy Cases Alarms Australian Doctors

Eight percent of children in Australia may have food allergies. Allergy specialists are trying to figure out why and are considering the theory that an overly clean lifestyle may be the reason (the hygiene hypothesis).

Excerpts from the transcript:

"While children grow out of many food allergies, peanut allergy generally lasts a lifetime. So what is it about the peanut that makes it so allergenic?

There are a lot of allergy sites on the surface of the peanut that causes allergy. And what's important is that these are not actually destroyed by cooking.

In fact, roasting peanuts, the most common cooking method in Australia actually increases their potency. Fifteen years ago food allergies were relatively uncommon, but now specialist clinics like this one at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital are witnessing an explosion in cases."

See the video here.

The hygiene hypothesis

Decreased atopic sensitization associated with living in a farm was explored by by studying bacteria found in cowsheds. Acinetobacter lwoffii and Lactococcus lactis shifted the immune response toward the secretion of TH1 cytokines in a murine model. One begins to wonder if biotherapy with bacterial extracts would be in the future of studies of allergy prevention.

References:
Allergy explosion alarms specialists. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 15/05/2007.
When a Child Is Afraid to Eat: Coping With Allergy Anxieties. WSJ, 2007.=
Advances in basic and clinical immunology in 2007. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology - Volume 122, Issue 1 (July 2008).
"The Office" misinterprets the hygiene hypothesis (video) http://goo.gl/9YhwL
Image source: Wikipedia, public domain.

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