National Jewish Study Could Unveil Allergy Mystery

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[url="http://www.thedenverchannel.com/health/9568354/detail.html"]http://www.thedenverchannel.com/health/9568354/detail.html[/url] DENVER -- Researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center are trying to find out why food allergies are increasing.

They announced Monday that they are conducting a new comprehensive three-part study of food allergies in children. The study is an attempt to find out why children have allergies.

The first part will focus on children 3 to 12 months old who have known milk or egg allergies and will involve periodic doctor visits, blood and skin tests. The second and third parts will focus on finding new treatments for egg and peanut allergies. Skin tests show that nine and a half-month-old Preston Day is allergic to quite a few foods.

"When I first found out, I didn't deal with it too well," said Erin Day, Preston's mother.

Day said she now watches what she eats and she has enrolled Preston in the National Jewish food allergy study.

"I'm hoping that we can help other moms and other children in the future figure out why so many kids have these food allergies," said Day.

"Some theories we have are it may have something to do with the way we process foods in westernized countries," said Dr. David Fleischer of National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

Peanuts are one example because as more people become vegetarians, the demand for peanuts increases.

"By roasting them we actually make them more allergenic than those other counties that may boil their peanuts," said Fleischer.

Other theories include the environment and hygiene. One theory says that because we are so clean conscious, our immune systems don't get a chance to actually fight germs themselves.

Fleischer said the next two studies in the pipeline will include possible treatments for food allergy.

"The only treatment right now for food allergy is avoiding that food and being prepared for any accidental ingestions that would cause an allergic reaction," said Fleisher.

National Jewish is one of five hospitals involved in the national study. For more information on how to enroll your child in the study, call 303-398-1618.

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