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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Environmental Component to Food Allergies

We know that food allergies are on the rise, but why? What are the factors involved in this trend? It seems like the environment plays a role in this surge. Case of food allergies in Asia and Africa are very infrequent when compared to incidences in the West. A recent study( Clinical Pediatrics- Ruchi Gupta et al ) found that food allergies appeared with greater frequency in urban areas than rural ones. City children were twice as likely to have peanut  and shellfish allergies compared to their rural counterparts. The states with the highest prevalence of food allergic children are: Nevada, Florida, Georgia, Alaska, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Similar trends were shown with asthma as well.  While we can't change our genes, we can change our environment. Researchers struggle to make sense of the complex mechanisms at play in order to help develop guidelines for food allergy prevention. Hopefully a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms in food allergy prevalence will help us reverse the trend.

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