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NIEHS-Funded Study Highlighted at AAAAI Meeting

By Eddy Ball
April 2009

Liu, Andrew
Liu also collaborated with Zeldin on a study ( Exit NIEHS analyzing NHANES data on obesity and allergy symptoms in children and adolescents published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in February. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Liu and National Jewish Health)

Findings of an NIEHS-funded food allergen study, presented by lead author Andrew Liu, M.D., were highlighted in a national press release issued by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), following the group's 2009 Annual Meeting held March 13-17 in Washington - one of only seven such news alerts issued from the meeting.

Liu ( Exit NIEHS, who is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver, was one of the presenters at a special session March 13 on "The Asthma and Allergy Component of NHANES [National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey]," moderated by NIEHS Acting Clinical Director Darryl Zeldin, M.D., and Peter Gergen, M.D., a pediatrician at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Liu spoke on the topic of "Food Allergen Sensitivity in the U.S. and Relationship to Allergic Disease." He was lead author on the study "In the United States, Black Male Children have an Increased Risk of Food Allergy: Results from NHANES 2005-2006" abstract # 1037, whose results were reported in his talk.

The study by Liu et al. is the first representative U.S. survey in which quantitative sensitization to multiple foods - milk, egg, peanut and shrimp - was assessed in more than 8,000 subjects ranging in age from 1 to 85. Using measures of serum-specific IgE, the researchers reported a 2.6 percent prevalence for likely food allergy and a 16.8 percent prevalence for food sensitization, with peanut and shrimp being the most common foods in each category. Significantly, lower-income, non-Hispanic black male children were found to be at the greatest risk for these food allergies and sensitivities, pointing to the probability that discrete environmental and genetic factors are involved.

Along with Zeldin, who was principal investigator on the study, and Liu, other speakers with ties to NIEHS included former NIEHS Staff Scientist Sam Arbes, D.D.S., Ph.D., who is now with Rho, Inc., and NIEHS Postdoctoral Fellow Päivi Salo, Ph.D., a member of the NIEHS Environmental Cardiopulmonary Disease Group.

The AAAAI represents asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic disease. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries.

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