What’s New in Allergy Research?

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Everything from pollen to peanuts can cause an allergic reaction, but some people have to worry about more obscure allergens. Here is some of the more recent allergy research.

Obesity and vitamin D deficiency may up risk

A recent study has found that obese kids and teens are more likely to have hard-to-control asthma and allergies because of a vitamin D deficiency. Certain hormones and vitamin D levels were measured through blood tests. Researchers found that the relationship between BMI, certain hormones and markers for allergic disease seemed to depend on vitamin D deficiency, which was seen most often in obese patients.

Parents of food-allergic children ignore labels

A recent study found that parents of food-allergic children were complacent about warning labels on food products, regardless of whether their child had any history of anaphylaxis in the past. The research found that between 78 to 84 percent of parents of children with a history of anaphylaxis thought warning labels were “not useful,” and felt they were not sure if the food was safe, regardless of the labeling.

UK coins increase nickel skin allergy

The British Treasury is replacing copper-nickel five and ten pence coins with a nickel-plated version. But that will increase nickel allergy and exposure fourfold, according to a health assessment in Sweden. Researchers used artificial sweat to measure skin exposure and metal release, and found that after one hour, the amount of nickel deposited onto the skin from the new coins was four times higher than that from the old copper-nickel coins.

Allergies to new hips and knees

Cases of metal allergies from hip and knee implants have been on the rise, as more people need these joint replacements. Research shows that by 2030, more than 11,000 people will have implant surgeries, which is a 174 percent increase for hip replacements and 700 percent for knee replacements. Problems can arise from allergies to the metal, such as migraine, pain and pervasive itching.

Chalk dust can trigger allergic reaction

Children who are allergic to milk may find they are also allergic to chalk dust, according to a recent study. Dustless chalk, which many teachers use to cut down on dust in the classroom, contains casein, a milk protein. When a child with a milk allergy inhales these chalk particles, asthma attacks and other respiratory symptoms can flare.