Higher-res Epi-pen how-to trainer video

May 14, 2007 at 12:06 pm (Allergy News Podcast. Listen free., Allergy News!, education, medical, Science, video)

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To my blogger friends on blogspot.com

May 9, 2007 at 6:29 pm (Blog & Websites, Blogroll, cooking, food, labeling, legal, legislation, medical, social issues, Websites)

Allergic Girl, on Please Don’t Pass the Nuts:

Keep on keepin’ on.  We need truth in food preparation, even GMOs!!  I am so fired up about Frankenfoods right now.

Food Allergy Queen:

Your blog is awesome!

Sorry I am blogspot-challenged today.  I don’t know what the deal is, but google has it out for me, I think.  Giving me t-rubble!

To all who send me notes, comments, or who bump into me online: I am sorry for not being a better “reciprocal” blog reader and commentor.  I am outright swamped.

Today I took a few minutes and actually READ a few allergy blogs for the first time in months.  It was awesome.  I have missed it.  Being a full-time mom again is really all-consuming, what can I say?

I highly recommend the above two blogs!

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If your child has peanut allergy, he/she may react to SOY, as well

April 22, 2007 at 12:46 pm (Allergy News!, asthma, Blog & Websites, kids, medical, nut-free, peanut, Science, soy, tree nut, USA, Websites)

Dear AllergyKids’ Friends,

Soy Induced Anaphylaxis in Children with Asthma and Peanut Allergy
As many of you know, soy is one of the top eight allergens. What you may not know is that a child with a peanut allergy can have an allergic reaction after eating a food that contains soy, according to the Asthma and Allergy Resource Center.

How could soy cause an allergic reaction in my child with peanut allergy?
In scientific terms, soybean allergens are “homologous” to known peanut allergens and can be recognized by 44% of peanut-allergic patients.

What that means is that a child with a peanut allergy can have an allergic reaction and even go into anaphylaxis after eating soy. Because this cross-reactivity is rarely mentioned in the press, many parents are unaware of the potential health risks that soy may present to children with peanut allergies.

What are the Signs of a Cross-Reaction to Soy?
According to Ingrid Yman, PhD of the Swedish National Food Administration, these deaths initially appear as an asthma attack, with no or very mild symptoms for the first 30-90 minutes after the consumption of food containing soy. Then, the children suffer fatal asthma attacks.

What Can I Do to Protect My Child with Peanut Allergy?
According to Dr. Yman, PhD of the Swedish National Food Administration, “If your child is allergic to peanuts, you should consider eliminating soy as well as all peanuts from your child’s diet, even if your child has never reacted poorly to soy in the past. Some sensitive children have “hidden” soy allergies that manifest for the first time with a severe – even fatal – reaction to even the low levels of “hidden” soy commonly found in processed food products. Those at the highest risk suffer from asthma as well as peanut allergy.”

The Swedish National Food Administration study analyzed severe food allergy reactions of children that died after consuming soy. These children had known allergies to peanuts but not to soy.

What products contain soy?
Soy can be found in soy milk, tofu, soy sauce, baby formula and other soy products.

Soy is also used in many processed foods, as soy lecithin, soy lectin, soybean oil and other soy derivatives.

Soy is commonly used as animal-feed in livestock.

It is only within the last nine years that soy has become one of the top eight allergens.

Soy has recently been genetically engineered to contain new proteins and potential allergens.

Are there other facts that I may not know about soy?
According to Daniel Sheehan, PhD and director of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) National Center for Toxicological Research, soy-fed babies are taking part in “a large, uncontrolled and basically unmonitored human infant experiment.”

The British Dietetic Association now warns parents to avoid soy formula given the results of a 2003 study conducted by Dr. Gideon Lack from St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College, London, UK.

The French Food Agency will soon require warning labels on all soy foods, soy formulas and soy milk so that consumers will be aware of the risks that soy poses to children under the age of three, those with hypothyroidism, and women with a family history of breast cancer.

In January 2006, the American Heart Association reversed its position on soy.

Why haven’t I heard this before?
AllergyKids is one of the first independently funded food allergy organizations in the world. We highlight all food allergy research that relates to the health and well-being of children and their families.

Being independently funded, AllergyKids is able to avoid conflicts of interest that funding ties may present – the importance of which is detailed in the work of Dr. Susan Linn of Harvard University and Marion Nestle, former editor of the Surgeon General Letter on Nutrition and Health.

What can I do to learn more?
AllergyKids would like to highlight the work of Kaayla Daniel, PhD. In her book, The Whole Soy Story, Dr. Daniel details the cross reactivity between soy and peanut, specifically addressing in detail the risks that soy poses to children with peanut allergy and asthma.

In the United States, the Weston A. Price Foundation is spearheading efforts to address children with peanut allergy who were fed soy as infants and toddlers.

What else can I do?
If you believe that the consumption of soy products or soy formula may have played a role in the development of your child’s food allergies, please contact:

Sally Fallon, President
The Weston A. Price Foundation
PMB 106-380 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20016
Phone: (202) 363-4394
info@westonaprice.org

How can I support AllergyKids’ Independent Research?
To support AllergyKids’ independent research, even if you don’t have a child with food allergies, please consider purchasing products for your child or your child’s school or preschool so that we can continue to provide families with the tools to help protect children.

We invite you to follow the lead of Linda, a nurse in upstate New York who conducted a fund raiser with her association of school nurses and purchased custom-designed AllergyKids Kits for every elementary school in the district.

Please forward this email and encourage friends to sign up for our FREE newsletters
Please consider forwarding this email to your friends and family in an effort to spread this previously unhighlighted information about the risk that soy poses to children with asthma and peanut allergy.

If you would like to include this letter on your website or in your blog, please refer to AllergyKids as the source of this information and encourage your readers to sign up for our free newsletters which will continue to provide leading research.

If we can ever answer any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at http://www.allergykids.com or 1.800.671.1525.

As Robert F. Kennedy said, “Some men see things the way they are, and ask ’why?’”
For our children, we see things the way they should be, and ask ’why not?’

In our quest for a cure for these children, no truth is too complex. We must simply have the courage to pursue it.

With hope for our children,
Robyn O’Brien
Founder, AllergyKids
Mother of Four
1.800.671.1525

About Robyn O’Brien: Prior to launching AllergyKids, Robyn was in the process of applying for a PhD after drafting her first book, Sugar Mamas: Nutrition’s Impact on the Health and Well-Being of Mothers and Their Children. When her fourth child was diagnosed with potentially life threatening food allergies, she curtailed her personal pursuit in an effort to create greater awareness of the millions of children with food allergies.

Prior to motherhood, Robyn worked as an analyst on one of the nation’s largest mid-cap portfolio management teams. Her team was responsible for $20 billion in assets, covering everything from Enron, to Ebay to Martha Stewart. Robyn received an MBA in finance on a full scholarship and was a Fulbright Fellow.

In her efforts to create awareness of children with food allergies, she has received encouragement from Erin Brockovich and parents around the world.

Robyn asks that you please consider forwarding this email to others who are looking to protect the health and well-being of their families.

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Allergy Conference Call

April 19, 2007 at 10:14 am (Allergy News Podcast. Listen free., Allergy News!, almond, Blog & Websites, cooking, food, labeling, medical, USA, Websites)

Have a listen.

I could not get into the conference call, but it is a very educational conversation.

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Peanut Allergies by Brenaya Hewlett

March 19, 2007 at 7:12 am (Canada, education, kids, medical, nut-free, peanut, safety, school, shots, social issues, USA)

“May contain traces of peanuts” “Made in a facility that also processes peanuts.” These are two sentences I hate the most.” The one sentence I love the most, “made in a peanut free facility” Chairperson, honourable judges, ladies and gentlemen and fellow students. I’m going to share with you how a person gets an allergy, what anaphylaxis is and how challenging it is to live with a peanut allergy. Do you like peanuts? Well I sure don’t because to me, they are criminals.

I got my allergy because I was born prone to allergies. I have significantly lower levels of enzyme which breaks down the chemical that causes bronchial spasms. I also have high levels of IgE antibodies that are activated during and allergic reaction. Allergies are hereditary instead of someone just getting it from one parent I got it from both of mine. Because both of my parents are already lacking enzyme to give to me they give me even more IgE antibodies. I got my peanut allergy after I was born. Since I was born prone to allergies that is what started it. When my mom was breast feeding me almost every food made her nauseous but she still needed her proteins so she overdosed on peanut butter and whole peanuts. Since I have low levels of enzyme my kids will have terrible allergies because I have practically none to pass on and way to much IgE to give. Studies show that over sanitized conditions in the west have caused immune systems to overreact to absence of other infections.

What is anaphylaxis? A dictionary defines this as “a term commonly used to denote the immediate transient kind of allergic reaction characterized by a contraction of smooth muscle and dilation of capillaries due to release of pharmacologically active substance classically initiated by the combination of an allergen, mast cell-fixed and cryophilic antibody known as IgE” you might now have understood any of that but in simpler words anaphylaxis is an immediate allergy reaction that completely shuts down every single thing in your body. It is a life-threatening reaction when cells in your respitory system swell causing suffocation, cardiac failure and loss of consciousness. It must be instantly treated with epinephrine to buy you enough time to get to the hospital. Statistics show that 1.5 percent of Canadian kids have deadly peanut allergies and 15 children die a year because their peers at school were eating peanuts around them.

It is extremely challenging to live with a peanut allergy. Just imagine living your whole life knowing you could just touch a door knob and die. Try a little experiment, be me for a week you cant eat anything with any type of nut in it. Each food that you do eat you have to read the ingredients twice to be sure. At the bottom of the list get used to seeing made in a facility that also processes peanuts, and if it does say that sorry you cannot consume. If you accidentally touch peanuts, scrub your hands arms and face for five minutes and air dry. if you smell peanuts cover your mouth and nose and run away until the smell is gone. It is harder than it may look!, And there is always cross-contamination. When you are at your friends house you cant eat anything. If they had peanut butter on the knife and then put the knife in the margarine and you ate it well it is now time to go to the hospital because you are in anaphylactic shock. To sum it up, peanut allergies aren’t just something that the victim takes cautions about but everyone needs to.

In conclusion, 73 percent of people don’t know enough about allergies to be around a person that has severe reactions. Today you heard how people get allergies, what anaphylaxis is and how annoying allergies are. Next time you meet someone with any type of severe allergy show some sympathy for them. If they go into shock get out the epi pen and pull off the grey cap at the tip and jab it in their thigh, believe me it might sound weird but you will be their hero.

Brenaya wrote this speech for school. Thanks for sending it in!

Oh, PS. Sometimes people write to me and say they are having trouble breathing. If you do that, PLEASE go to the emergency room or doctor as before you even finish your email! I would drive you, myself, but oftentimes I get emails from other countries from children saying they are having trouble breathing. As a parent (and a human being) it troubles me to think that you emailed me and then perhaps collapsed.

If you write me once because you are feeling sick, please write me later and tell me you are okay. I worry about anaphylaxis and asthma and what might be happening to you.

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Peanut allergy immunotherapy News

March 1, 2007 at 1:12 pm (Allergy News!, education, medical, nut-free, peanut, safety, USA)

AAAAI: Oral Immunotherapy Dampens But May Not Cure Peanut Allergy

By Neil Osterweil, Senior Associate Editor, MedPage Today
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
February 26, 2007

Add Your Knowledge™ Additional AAAAI Coverage

Scott D. Nash, M.D.
Duke University

SAN DIEGO — An oral immunotherapy regimen can help take the sting out of severe peanut allergies, reported investigators here.

Five of seven children with severe peanut allergy were able, after two years of immunotherapy, to tolerate a dose of 7.8 grams of peanut flour, equivalent to eating more than 13 peanuts, reported Scott David Nash, M.D., of Duke in Durham, N.C., and colleagues.
Action Points
Caution patients that oral immunotherapy should not be attempted at home, and should only be performed under the close supervision of a physician because of risk of anaphylaxis.

This study was published as an abstract and presented as a poster and at briefing at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary as they have not yet been reviewed and published in a peer-reviewed publication.
Yet while oral immunotherapy can desensitize patients to peanuts, children who undergo it may not be in the clear, cautioned the authors in a featured poster session at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology here.

“We think that our patients are now at decreased risk for anaphylaxis if they have accidental ingestion [of peanuts], but we’re not recommending that our patients reintroduce peanuts into their diets, and all patients were on peanut-elimination diets during the study,” said Dr. Nash.

The investigators enrolled children with a convincing clinical history of peanut allergy who had peanut-specific immunglobulin E (IgE) of 7kU/L or greater.

The children were started on a modified rush immunotherapy protocol, performed in the research unit, in which they would receive over one day increasing multiple doses of peanut flour (mixed in a food of choice, such as applesauce), with dose escalating from 0.1 mg to 25 mg, or, if tolerated, to 50 mg. About half of the patients were able to tolerate the 50 mg dose by the end of the day; the remainder were able to tolerate either 12.5 or 25 mg, said Dr. Nash.

The children then went home and remained on their current dose daily, returning to the center every two weeks for a dose increase until they reached a dose of 300 mg, equivalent to about one peanut. Parents were asked to keep a daily diary of symptoms.

After patients had been maintained on 300 mg of peanut flour daily for two years, they returned to the center for an open food challenge of up to 7.8 g of peanut flour, equal to a good adult-sized handful of nuts. The challenge was delivered as escalating doses beginning at 600 mg every 30 minutes up to the maximum.

In all, five of seven patients had no reaction on the food challenge. One patient took the full dose, but 90 minutes later had a reaction, including stridor, that required epinephrine. The remaining patient made it to 4,200 mg, and then required epinephrine for cough and diffuse hives.

They also looked at immunologic characteristics of food allergy, and found that peanut-specific IgE and IgG both rose initially and the fell during the study, while peanut-specific IgG4 increased throughout the study.

“Peanut oral immunotherapy, we feel, is safe and effective for peanut-allergic patients, and we feel that our immunologic findings for peanut oral immunotherapy are similar to what we find for other forms of oral immunotherapy,” Dr. Nash said.

No financial disclosure information was reported.

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Milk allergy alert

February 23, 2007 at 4:11 pm (Allergy News!, medical, milk, USA)

MILK ALLERGY ALERT
February 23, 2007

The Grainless Baker is recalling “Gluten and Casein Free Sandwich Bread”
due to undeclared milk.

The recalled “Gluten and Casein Free Sandwich Bread” is packaged in an
uncoded 18-oz. plastic bag and was sold in Connecticut, New Jersey, New
York, and Pennsylvania.

Consumers who have purchased the product should return it to the place of
purchase. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (570) 689-
9694.

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AllergyMoms.com conference

February 8, 2007 at 5:18 pm (Allergy News!, Canada, conferences, education, kids, medical, safety, social issues, USA)

Well, I missed the opportunity to meet some kick-ass Allergy Moms.  Here are some photos and info about ladies who are taking the matter of life-threatening food allergies into their own hands, serving our community and vowing to contribute to a change.

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Sara Shannon signing a letter she wrote to Senator Orie on ehalf of “AllergyMoms” back in Oct.

For those of you unfamiliar with Sara Shannon–she is the mother of the young Canadian girl who died of anaphylaxis in the fall of 2003.  The news story broke hearts around the world, and as I hear of it, the girl’s mother is changing lives as an activist to protect other children from a similar fate.

Listen to Sabrina explain life with allergies in the documentary she made about life with severe allergies, at age ten.

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Attendees of note:

Front row:
Robyn O’Brien, Gina Clowes, Sara Shannon, Susan Taichman-Robins, Maria
Acebal

Back row:
Anna McCartney, Maureen Polensky, Kristie Serio, Catrina VonderMeulen,
Teresa Newlands

Robyn (Boulder, CO)
Gina (Cranberry Twp,PA)
Sara (Ontario, Canada)
Susan (Philadelphia,PA)
Maria (Washington, DC)

Anna (Seattle,WA)
Maureen (Bucks Count,PA)
Kristie (Dallas, TX)
Catrina (Cincinnati,OH)
Teresa (Cleveland,OH)

As you can see, this conference was exceptionall well-attended!  I will be checking my email more closely in the future.  I’m so bummed that I missed this.

Speakers:

Pennsylvania State Senator Jane Clare Orie
Sara Shannon, Food Allergy Advocate, Ontario
Todd Green, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Terri Brown-Whitehorn, MD, Attending Physician, Division of Allergy & Immunology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP),
Susan Taichman-Robins Esq.,Pennsylvania Coalition for Food Allergy
Kristie Serio, Food Allergy Support Team (FAST) Texas
Anna McCartney, Food Allergy Education and Support Team ( FEAST), Seattle
Maria Acebal Esq., Safe@School Partners, Washington, DC
Robyn O’Brien AllergyKids Foundation, Boulder
Paul and Catrina VonderMeulen, Food Allergy Advocates, Cincinnati
Maureen Polensky, RN, Pennsylvania Coalition for Food Allergy
Barry Lank from Lank/Beach productions is Toronto
Gina Clowes, AllergyMoms
AllergyMoms Food Allergy Support and Advocacy Group

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Let’s talk about fish protein

February 6, 2007 at 1:20 pm (Allergy News!, Blog & Websites, Blogroll, fish, medical, milk, recalls, Science, social issues, Websites)

A very enlightening email!!

Dear AllergyKids’ Friends,

DNA from Fish Protein Found in Ice Cream
According to ABC news and University of Cincinnati researchers, one of the nation’s leading ice cream brands and some of their popsicles contain the DNA (genetic material) from fish protein.  Scientists added a cloned protein from a fish in order to make the ice cream smoother.

Fish is one of the top eight food allergens.  So please take a moment to read and to forward this important email.

What other foods containing DNA and genetic material should I be aware of?
Foods that contain the DNA and genetic material of other animals and plants are called “genetically modified” foods.

The first genetically modified food was a tomato – introduced in 1994.  The tomato had the DNA (genetic material) of a fish injected into it to make the tomato last longer on grocery store shelves.

A poll conducted in December 2006 revealed that most Americans don’t realize that they’re eating genetically modified food, and that 60 per cent have no idea that it’s in their diet.  Genetically modified foods can include soy, corn, dairy, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, and fish.

What does “genetically modified” mean?
Scientists take the DNA (genetic material) of one organism (like the fish) and inject it into the DNA of another organism (like the tomato).  By injecting one organism with another, the structure of the food protein is changed.  Children with food allergies are allergic to foods’ proteins (egg protein, milk protein, peanut protein, etc.).

When were genetically modified foods introduced?
Widespread introduction of genetically modified foods (“GMOs”) began ten years ago.  Beginning in the 1990s, corn was genetically modified so that it could produce its own insecticidal toxin that the corn plant releases as it grows.  Today, 70% of “corn” as we know it is genetically modified.

In 1998, the genetically modified soybean was introduced and a 50% increase in the number of people with soy allergy was seen in that year alone.  Today, 90% of “soy” as we know it is genetically modified.  According to the New England Journal of Medicine, when the soybean was genetically modified with a nut, it induced an allergic reaction in 7 out of 9 cases.

Does the sudden increase in the number of children with food allergies correspond with the introduction of genetically modified foods?
AllergyKids finds it interesting that genetically modified foods were only introduced ten years ago and that research shows that within the first five years of the introduction of the genetically modified soybean, the number of children with the peanut allergy doubled.

Parts of the genetically modified soybean are identical to known allergens.

Corn is the fastest growing genetically modified crop and one of the fastest growing food allergies in children.

What else should I know about genetically modified foods?
Genetically modified foods (“GMOs”) have altered food proteins.  Children with food allergies are allergic to food proteins. GMOs can be found in 70% of all processed foods as well as in infant formula, baby food, frozen pizzas and fruit juices.

Currently, the list of genetically modified foods intersects with the list of the top 8 allergens (including wheat, soy, dairy, egg, fish, nuts) as well as lesser known allergens (corn, tomatoes, pork and chicken).

Labeling of genetically modified foods is required in Europe, Asia, Australia and most developed countries because of the unknown health risks of genetically modified foods (“GMOs”).  Just this week, Europeans requested additional labeling for milk, meat and egg products derived from animals fed genetically engineered crops.

No human trials have been conducted to test the safety of GMOs.

Please forward this email to others and encourage them to sign up for our free newsletter.  As we learn more about GMOs, you can help protect the health of your family and friends, as we learn more about genetically modified foods and the unknown role that they play in the health of our children.

AllergyKids needs your support to continue this important research.
Every time that you purchase AllergyKids’ stickers for your child’s preschool or an AllergyKids’ med case to carry your child’s epinephrine; you are supporting our independent research on behalf of all of these children.

We understand that you will have questions since 60% of Americans have never heard of a “GMO”, so please do not hesitate to contact us.

More information is also available on our Resources page at http://www.allergykids.com or by conducting a keyword search: “GMOs and food allergies”.

With hope for the cure,

Robyn O’Brien
Founder, AllergyKids
Mother of Four
1.800.671.1525

I encourage all of you to sign up for Robyn’s email list!

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Today’s food allergy kids are tomorrow’s criminals?

February 4, 2007 at 8:38 pm (Allergy News!, medical, school, social issues, Websites)

Outrageous, what this newspaper has printed.

It’s bad enough saying that teachers can’t be responsible for the safety of their classrooms.

It’s a civil rights violation to openly say that kids whose safety is taken into consideration are the future addicts and criminals who will be supported by state taxpayers. Absolutely telling about the mentality of the writer. Just…wow.

Thanks, Gina, for the link.

Very, very sad.

My response:

The audacity and absolute remorsefulness of damning kids with food allergies to jail cells and rehab clinics is preposterous.

For that matter, how dare anyone reproduce? what right do children with food allergies have to live?

Do your research into the epidemic of food allergies. You might just learn that since major corporations have decided to mass-produce genetically modified foods as a staple of the American diet (something which is illegal in other countries), we are now facing a generational epidemic of first-generation children whose little bodies are recognizing “common” foods as life-threatening substances.

This has always been, and always will be, about the bottom line. Market the natural foods as the more expensive “organic” and let the individuals whose little bodies reject the “junk” stuff pay the price.

In ten years we’ve gotten to a ratio of 6% of kids pre-K age being deathly allergic. What will it be in another ten? 16%? 26%? How many kids have to face a lifetime of fighting for their lives in kitchens across America before we stop villianizing innocent children and their well-meaning unsuspecting families (the majority of whom have no history of food allergies whatsoever), and demand a response that ends this epidemic?

This article is reprehensible.

You want to know who should be in the jail cells? The people who did this to our kids. This is not genetic evolution. This is an appalling negligence of responsibility on the part of the food producers and the FDA.

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