2 Replies to “Wake-Up Call: on Food Allergies”

  1. Dr. Heymann wrote me with the following note………..

    I failed to mention an important and newly recognized food allergy (i.e. in reference to factors that contribute to the increasing prevalence of reported food allergies) that is endemic to our area and the mid-Atlantic States. It is a problem for individuals (most often teenagers and adults) who have developed an allergy to beef and pork.

    This problem was recently discovered (about 2 years ago) by 2 of my colleagues at UVA (Drs. Thomas Platts-Mills and Scott Commins) and has since been confirmed and recognized elsewhere in the world (Europe and Australia). Typically, most allergic reactions (anaphylaxis related) begin within minutes to an hour of a food exposure and it is fairly easy for doctors and patients to identify the causative food allergen (including beef and pork). However, some individuals develop an allergy to protein-carbohydrate complexes in beef and pork and they don’t develop symptoms (i.e. typically diffuse hives and facial swelling and sometimes more serious systemic symptoms) until about 4 to 8 hours after eating beef or pork. This sometimes occurs in the middle of the night if the individual ate beef or pork for dinner. This time lapse makes it difficult for patients and doctors to know which food (if any) caused the reaction. These reactions were a mystery until about 2 years ago. More information, including why these allergies develop later in life is described in a recent publication by Drs. Commins and Platts-Mills [Commins SP, Platts-Mills TAE: “Anaphylaxis syndromes related to a new mammalian cross-reactive carbohydrate determinant.” J Allergy Clin Immunology 2009 124: 652-657]. Thanks again. Peter Heymann

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