As I said in an earlier post, there is currently no cure for food allergies, only environmental allergies. However, that doesn’t mean that researchers aren’t hard at work trying to find one.
Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) is working hard towards a strategy that will help develop a cure. The first step in their process is revealing the impact that food allergies have on today’s population.
According to FARE’s research, nearly 15 million Americans have a food allergy, including one in 13 children. FARE also reported that nearly 40% of children with food allergies have already experienced a life threatening event. Other research dissevered the economic burden that food allergies can have on a household.
Investigators for FARE, or Epidemiologists, are looking into possible factors for allergies such as: genetics, geography, diet, ethnicity and hygiene. This research allows use to create better and safer laws to protect those with food allergies.
A Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States was released in 2010 by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). These guidelines bring together the expertise of 24 professional associations, federal agencies and advocacy groups, by providing scientific studies that prove evidence that these researchers have the highest-quality practices for diagnosing and treating food allergies.
Right now, doctors and researchers are conducting clinical studies all across the nation. One method that they are trying out now is called Desensitization. The idea behind this method is giving a small dose of the problem food with triggering a reaction. The problem behind this method though, is that the person would have to continue taking the doses for the rest of their lives.
Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) is a method where a small amount of the problem food (in powder form) is mixed with normal food and administered to the patients. Researchers are still determining how much and how long the time frame would be before the patient became tolerant to the problem food. Research shows that this method is effective in 70 to 80 percent of patients in a controlled setting. However, they need to consider how it would treat the mass population of Americans. This method is different than Desensitization.
Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is the same method as OIT, but patients dissolve the problem food in the form of a solution under their tongue. Both OIT and SLIT are being used for in patients with peanuts and walnuts.
The ultimate goal for researchers with both methods is to eventually treat people with peanut, tree nuts, milk, egg, shellfish, fish, wheat and soy allergies.
The last method that researchers are looking at is Food Allergy Herbal Formula 2 (FAHF-2). This is a Chinese therapy to prevent people from having anaphylactic reactions to multiple food allergens.
For more information on FARE’s research grants or to find a clinical trial near you, visit their site here.