Research – New clues in understanding how to prevent food allergies by breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mothers may be encouraged to eat eggs to help prevent babies from developing an egg allergy, according to new studies by researchers at The University of Western Australia.

Study leader Professor Valerie Verhasselt, from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences, said the findings were important because in western countries up to 10% of children already have a food allergy at one year of age.

“Among high-risk population, one third are already sensitised to egg at 4 months of age and may experience severe allergic reaction if egg is introduced into their diet,” Professor Verhasselt said.

“Our study shows that protection could be induced through breastfeeding and before the introduction of any solid food to the child’s diet.”

The researchers were able to discover that some breastmilk components were more successful than others in preventing allergy.

“Ten years ago, we demonstrated in an animal model that you could educate the immune system of a baby to accept egg protein as well as protect the baby from egg allergy later on,” Professor Verhasselt said.

“Our new study shows for the first time that this may also happen in humans. We’ve found that cases of egg allergy in children are four times less likely when they have been exposed to breastmilk containing egg protein, compared to those exposed to breastmilk without detectable egg protein.”

Targeting house dust mites allergens in breastmilk may be an additional key to ensure food allergy prevention in breastfed children.

The team at UWA was also able to uncover that some mothers shed house dust mite allergens in breastmilk. House dust mite allergens are known to be responsible for respiratory allergies such as rhinitis and asthma.

“By conducting pre-clinical experiments, we demonstrated the very new concept that respiratory allergens in a baby’s gut may represent a risk factor for food allergies,” Professor Verhasselt said.

“Targeting respiratory allergens may be essential for prevention of egg allergy in breastfed children.”

Professor Verhasselt, who is also the Larssen-Rosenquist Chair in Human Lactology at UWA, said the studies, published in the journals Allergy and Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, showed researchers were on the path to preventing egg allergy through breastfeeding.

“Our data still needs to be confirmed in large randomised control trials to bring formal proof of this promising new approach of exposing babies to egg protein through breastmilk,” she said.

“Our research is aiming to find ways to prevent allergy and stop this modern world epidemic,” Professor Verhasselt said.

Old whooping cough vaccine could prevent food allergies in babies

A new Australian study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that rates of children with food allergies have risen exponentially since the late 1990s – around the same time a new whooping cough vaccine was rolled out nationally.

Studies conducted so far show that the older ‘whole cell’ whooping cough vaccine potentially trained babies’ cells and immune system against food allergies as well. The older ‘whole cell’ whooping cough vaccine was eliminated in 1999 and replaced with a new version, amid reports Australian babies were suffering minor side effects, including fever and pain where the needle was injected.

Lead researcher Professor Tom Snelling, from Curtin University and Telethon Kids Institute, said that while both vaccines were effective in protection against whooping cough, findings pointed to the whole cell vaccine providing the additional benefit of reducing the risk of serious allergies.

Researchers are putting the call out for 3000 Australian babies to take part in a carefully controlled trial to prove the efficacy of the vaccine in preventing allergies.

“Participants will be followed until they are 12 months old to confirm whether the whole cell vaccine truly helps to protect against food allergies in infancy and, if successful, a new vaccine schedule could form part of an effective strategy to combat the rise in food allergies,” Professor Snelling added.

For more info or to participate in the study, https://vaccine.telethonkids.org.au/ or email OPTIMUM@telethonkids.org.au.

Calls For Restaurants To Use Color Coded Plates To Prevent Allergies

Allergy Sufferers and their families are calling for new regulations that require restaurants to
have color-coded plates to represent each type of allergen, to significantly reduce the risk of severe
anaphylactic reactions. Many people are supporting the idea, but many restauranteurs and small buisiness owners are against the idea, calling it more “red tape” they would have to adhere to.

Restaurant and Catering Industry Association executive Wes Lambert said they idea of mandating color coded plates is “absolute madness,” and that “Color-coded plates would mean that if someone ordered an allergy-free item and the restaurant had run out of the colored plate, they wouldn’t be able to serve the item.”

Other proposed ideas include a card that states allergens, that would be passed to the chef and the kitchen, and returned with the meal, “double-checking mechanisms” that make it impossible for the wrong plate to be served to the wrong person, and mandatory training for all food service workers, much like the safe alcohol practice laws.

A representative of Food Standards Australia New Zealand said it was reviewing food safety regulations and “working closely with the food industry, consumer groups and government … to look at ways to manage the risks associated with food allergens”.

 

A SPECIAL INTERVIEW EVENT: THOMAS SILVERA

TRIGGER AWARENESS Founder and Host of ‘WorldAbout’ Radio Talk Show and Podcast, Grace Farah recently sat down with Thomas Silvera, Co-Founder of the Elijah-Alavi Foundation, and discussed how losing his son to anaphylaxis has put him on a path of ensuring that no other family has to go through what he and his family experienced. “It shouldn’t take a tragedy to create change. Elijah, he did not die in vain. His echo and his words, rang through each and every one of us.”

Click below to listen to the interview;

WorldAbout Show: Thomas Silvera, Co-Founder Of The Elijah-Alavi Foundation

Bear Grylls suffers almost deadly allergic reaction from bee sting while filming new series

The survivalist who is allergic to bee stings, was stung and quickly went into anaphylactic shock while filming his new series Treasure Island.

Sometimes, exposure to an allergen can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Allergies to food, insect stings, medications and latex are most frequently associated with anaphylaxis.

Grylls was on a boat taking a new group of contestants to an island in a remote part of the Pacific on the first day of filming when he was stung by a bee.

Despite initially trying to shrug it off, the allergic reaction caused his face to swell up and he lost consciousness.

Medics brought the former SAS servicemen back from the brink after they injected him with an EpiPen.
Mano Shanmuganathan, a brain surgeon appearing on the show says ‘The irony of Bear the survivalist being stung, having the potential of an allergic reaction, and needing to be treated with an EpiPen, was a bizarre moment’.

Students expelled after leaving teacher with deadly allergy in anaphylactic shock

An American teacher with a potentially fatal banana allergy was hospitalised after being attacked with the fruit by her students.

The art teacher, identified only as Mrs Woods, was working at Starling K-8 school in Columbus, Ohio when the cruel incident occurred last November.

The woman’s banana allergy is well known and so severe her classroom door bears a sign which reads “Banana Free Zone”.

It is accompanied by the clear message: “Mrs Woods is allergic to BANANAS! If you had one today, you must wash your hands before going into the art room. Thank you!”

But that didn’t deter a group of 12 and 13-year-olds from targeting her with a practical joke that seriously backfired.

The group of three students, two boys and one girl smeared bits of banana on Mrs Woods’ classroom door and doorknob, and later threw bananas at her once she was inside the room.

Within 15 minutes, the educator had gone into anaphylactic shock and emergency services was called.

Mrs Woods was rushed to hospital and thankfully recovered from her ordeal.

The students were charged with assault in juvenile court, were expelled and have since served probation.

Columbus City Schools spokesman Scott Wortman says the district hopes it was a “teachable moment” for the students involved and others about “the potentially life-threatening consequences of food allergies.”

Parents Of Children With Food Allergies Can Preboard Plane (USA)

A recent Department of Transportation ruling may transform air travel for passengers with life-threatening food allergies by extending to them the protections afforded other individuals with disabilities.

In September 2016, gate agents for American Airlines refused Nicole Mackenzie’s request to preboard a flight from Portland, Ore., to Charlotte, N.C., to clean the area around the seat assigned to her seven-year-old daughter, who has life-threatening nut and seed allergies.

The family filed a formal complaint with the federal Department of Transportation. Regulators determined that American Airlines had violated the Air Carrier Access Act — roughly the equivalent of the Americans With Disabilities Act, but applicable to the airlines.

The D.O.T. considers severe allergies a disability under the act if they impact a passenger’s ability to breathe or substantially impact another major life activity.

Regulators have reiterated that airlines must offer preboarding to passengers with severe allergies to give them extra time to wipe down seating surfaces.

New cell found in the Human immune system could control life-threatening allergies

A new cell type that could stop allergies before they begin has been discovered by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

The finding gives hope to people who live with a range of allergic conditions including asthma, eczema and life-threatening anaphylaxis.

“By carefully studying the tonsils of children undergoing routine tonsillectomies, we identified a new cell type of the immune system that may help prevent allergies,” said lead researcher and PhD scholar Pablo F Canete.

“In allergic individuals, the immune system thinks that harmless particles like peanuts, dust or common allergens are a threat.

“The immune system then mounts a response which manifests itself from mild localised symptoms like a runny nose during hay fever season, to very aggressive systemic inflammation like anaphylaxis.”

For people with allergies, when the immune system overreacts to allergens – like pollen, dust or peanut butter – it produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E, (IgE).

The IgE antibodies then trigger a chain of events that result in allergic reactions.

“Our study shows this previously unknown cell prevents the formation of IgE, which is the key trigger of allergic conditions,” said Mr Canete, who is based in the ANU John Curtin School of Medical Research.

“The cell stops the very first step in causing an allergic disease.

“If you don’t have excessive IgE levels, you generally do not develop allergies.”

The discovery could create a new approach for future allergy treatments.

Australia shows it cares about food allergies

Throughout May, many buildings and bridges around the world lit up in teal for Food Allergy Awareness Month.
‘Turn it Teal’ was started by US mother Stephanie Lowe, with the aim to light as many prominent monuments and buildings in teal,
the shade associated with food allergy awareness.

TRIGGER FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS helped turn the initiative into a global movement in 2017 when the iconic Sydney Town Hall became first building outside North America to take part in the ‘Turn It Teal’movement.
This year, in Sydney, the iconic Sydney Town Hall shined for the third time on Mother’s Day.
Brisbane joined ‘Turn It Teal’ in 2018 and once again this year, illuminating both its Story Bridge and Victoria Bridge.
Perth came aboard last year and this year put the spotlight on food allergy awareness by lighting its Trafalgar Bridge in teal.
Melbourne is the latest Australian city to ‘Turn It Teal’ and lit up the grand Melbourne Town Hall in teal for several days.

TRIGGER Food Allergy Awareness founder Grace Farah says: ‘The Turn It Teal initiative is such a great idea; I knew we had to bring it to Australia… we have had amazing support from the Australian community.’
‘When people see a building or a bridge lit up in teal it starts a conversation and raises food allergy awareness. It also shows our children and families dealing with food allergies every day that Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth care … that Australia cares.’

‘We want to express our heartfelt thanks to all the great people on the Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth councils who have helped light up some of their city’s iconic structures in support of the food allergy community.Thank you for seeing the importance of this initiative and paving the way for other cities and other countries to join in making this a global movement.
Other countries to participate this year included the U.K., Ireland, Dubai and Jordan.’

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month, a good time to help increase awareness of food allergies and help to protect those at risk.

This year, we have teamed up once again with turnitteal.org to turn the world teal, the signature color of food allergy awareness.

‘Turn it Teal’, founded by Cleveland, Ohio native Stephanie Lowe in 2014, was created with the goal of lighting as many prominent monuments and buildings as possible
to highlight Food Allergy Awareness Month an initiative intended to educate the public regarding the seriousness of food allergies.

At TRIGGER Food Allergy Awareness we are proud to have helped to make the initiative global with the lighting of the Sydney Town Hall in 2017,
being the first building outside of North America to turn teal in support of Food Allergy Awareness.

This year the stunning Sydney Town Hall will once again turn teal in support of Food Allergy Awareness on Sunday 12 May.
Last year two more Australian cities Brisbane and Perth joined the initiative.
This year both return, Brisbane will light the beautiful Story Bridge and Victoria Bridge on Saturday 4 May.

While the Trafalgar Bridge in Perth will ‘Turn It Teal’ over two nights Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 May.

Melbourne has become the latest city to join, and will light up the grand Melbourne Town Hall on Monday 13 May – Saturday 18 May.

TRIGGER Food Allergy Awareness founder Grace Farah says:

‘The ‘Turn It Teal’ initiative is such a great idea; I knew we had to bring it to Australia.’
‘When people see a building or a bridge lit up in teal it starts a conversation and raises food allergy awareness. It also shows our children and families dealing with food allergies every day that Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth care … Australia cares.’
‘We want to express our heartfelt thanks to all the great people on the Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth councils who have helped light up some of their city’s iconic structures.’

For more information about how you can help your local area ‘Turn It Teal’ visit turnitteal.org or email us at info@triggerawareness.org

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