Research Roundup: October/November 2017
The latest medical news for people with allergies and food sensitivities.
A new study on peanut immunotherapy examined the effects of increasing the peanut protein threshold (called the eliciting dose) used with the Viaskin Peanut patch. Developed by DBV Technologies, the Viaskin Peanut patch delivers biologically active compounds to the immune system through intact skin. It is currently in Phase III trials and not offered for sale.
The study found that increasing the eliciting dose reduced the risk of an allergic reaction from accidental exposure in peanut-allergic children by 99 percent. Researchers explored the implications of the increased dosages using real-life snacks (such as cookies, doughnuts and snack chip mixes) that peanut-allergic children might actually ingest when unwittingly facing allergen exposure.
The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
No Biopsy for Celiac Diagnosis
Certain children can be accurately diagnosed with celiac disease without undergoing a biopsy, according to the findings of a large international study. The study validates guidelines set by the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN). These guidelines state that children in Europe who have TGA-IgA levels ten times above the upper limit of normal, a positive result from EMA testing (using a second blood sample) and at least one celiac symptom can be definitively diagnosed with celiac disease and avoid an endoscopy. The researchers say that in these cases, there is no need for positive results from genetic testing (HLA-DQ2/DQ8), which the ESPGHAN guidelines recommend. Endoscopic biopsy is considered the gold standard for celiac diagnosis in the United States. The study was published online in the journal Gastroenterology.
Early Life Infections
A new German study suggests that the risk of developing celiac disease is higher in children who have gastrointestinal infections during their first year of life. Increased risk was also seen from early respiratory tract infections, but to a lesser extent. It wasn’t clear whether early infections directly cause the higher risk or whether changes in the microbiome or specific immune responses are responsible. According to the study’s lead author Dr. Andreas Beyerlein, the higher risk might be associated with “permanent inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract in early childhood,” not because of a specific virus or bacteria.
The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Type 1 Diabetes & Celiac
Children with type 1 diabetes have a higher rate of celiac disease and that rate varies by region, according to an Australian study published online in Diabetes Care. The two autoimmune conditions have a shared genetic risk. Researchers looked at the prevalence of celiac disease in well over 52,000 children and teens with type 1 diabetes in the United States, the UK, Australia/Asia and Germany/Austria. Overall, 3.5 percent of the children had celiac disease, with prevalence rates ranging from 1.9 percent in the United States to 7.7 percent in Australia. (About 1 percent of the world population has celiac.) In this study, girls were more likely than boys to have celiac disease. On average, the kids with celiac were diagnosed with diabetes at 5.4 years of age; those without celiac were diagnosed at age 7. The study revealed that children with celiac were likely to be shorter, suggesting the benefit of celiac screening in kids with type 1 diabetes.