New Research to Conquer Food Allergies

peanuts
Photograph courtesy of Euromagic via Creative Commons.

My nephew is one of the 6 million children in the United States with food allergies. He has a severe nut allergy, requiring an EpiPen (adrenaline) injection and immediate trip to the emergency room after contact with someone whose touched or eaten nuts. His rapid onset of life-threatening symptoms includes swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, and hives. He isn’t alone. The number of children with peanut allergies has tripled in the last decade. Every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room and every 6 minutes the reaction is one of life-threatening anaphylaxis.

However, the 15 million people with food allergies now have hope. New clinical trials show promise for three experimental treatments: oral immunotherapy, sublingual immunotherapy and food allergy herbal formula-2. Scientists are also trying to understand how food allergies develop to help prevent them.

For more information on food allergies, check out my KQED Quest blog.

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Author: Jennifer Huber

As a Ph.D. physicist and research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, I gained extensive experience in medical imaging and technical writing. Now, I am a full-time freelance science writer and science-writing instructor. I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of my life and I frequently enjoy the eclectic cultural, culinary and outdoor activities available in the area.

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