New research was presented at ACAAI 2016, the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, from November 10 to 14 in San Francisco. The features below highlight some of the studies presented at the conference.


Smoking Among Asthmatic Teens

Previous research has shown that smoking rates among teens with asthma are relatively high. However, data are lacking on how smoking and smoking dependence differ between teens with asthma and those without the condition. For a study, researchers surveyed adolescents aged 13 to 19 about their smoking habits. When compared with participants who did not have asthma, teens with asthma were more likely to smoke, have some degree of nicotine dependence, and have tobacco dependence. Curiosity about cigarette smoking was identified as the primary reason why teens with asthma started smoking.



Asthma Risk & Access to Fresh Foods

Recent studies have linked obesity with a higher incidence of asthma and worse outcomes. A lack of access to healthy foods has been established as a driver of obesity, but few studies have assessed the impact of this phenomenon on asthma. Study investigators compared the prevalence of pediatric asthma between children with and without access to fruits, vegetables, and other fresh foods for a study. Among children without access, 21% had asthma, compared with a rate of 17% observed among those with access. Children in the study who lived more than 1 mile from a grocery store had 53% greater odds of having asthma.



The Effect of Introducing Allergenic Foods Early

Evidence suggests that the timing of introducing allergenic foods into an infant’s diet may influence their risk of developing allergic or autoimmune diseases. However, this research has yet to be comprehensively synthesized. To close this gap, investigators analyzed data from 146 studies evaluating the timing of allergenic food introduction during the first year of life for a meta-analysis. Peanut introduction at 4 to 11 months of age was associated with a lower risk for peanut allergy in two trials. Egg introduction at 4 to 6 months of age was associated with reduced risks for egg allergies in five trials. Gluten introduction was not associated with celiac disease risk.



Reducing Wide-Spectrum Antibiotic Use

Although the latest clinical guidelines recommend allergy testing to improve antimicrobial stewardship, data indicate that few hospitals have allergist-directed protocols dedicated to performing this task. For a study, patients who reported being allergic to penicillin upon hospital admission were screened to determine if they truly had the allergy. Among those who were tested, 88.5% were found to not have an allergy to penicillin. When clinicians received the results of these negative tests, they were able to reduce use of various wide-spectrum antibiotics by 34% to 68%. The researchers estimated that doing so prevented 504 inpatient days and 648 outpatient days among the 252 participants.



Perennial Vs Pre-Seasonal AIT

The long-term efficacy of perennial allergen immunotherapy (AIT) versus that of pre-seasonal AIT for grass pollen-induced allergic rhinitis has not been well established. A study was conducted in which researchers compared outcomes of patients with allergic rhinitis who were treated with pre-seasonal subcutaneous immunotherapy with those who underwent perennial treatment. Both groups experienced significant reductions in symptom medication scores upon completing AIT and at 15 years later, but the prolonged effects of treatment were more pronounced for those in the perennial treatment group. Patients in the perennial treatment group also experienced significantly fewer new sensitizations and were less likely to develop new-onset asthma 15 years after finishing AIT.



Improving Skin Prick Testing Proficiency

Data indicate that results of skin testing can vary depending on the method used, operator technique, and choice of skin. Proficiency testing of all healthcare providers who perform skin prick or puncture testing may minimize variability in technique and results for individual operators and among multiple operators. For a study, researchers evaluated an algorithm for determining skin testing proficiency using a single-head device. Participants were trained on the recommended application technique and then tested for proficiency using five applications each of positive histamine and negative glycero-saline controls per test set. Acceptable test set results ranged from 87% using calipers to 94% using rulers, with the majority of operators demonstrating proficiency. The specificity of testing with negative controls was 99%.


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Changing Ideas about Peanut Allergies

Prescribers Have Poor Understanding of Penicillin Allergy

Alternative Payment Model for Asthma Patients Ready to Test

City by the Bay Hosts ACAAI 2016

Controversial Food Allergy Options Hotly Debated at ACAAI


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