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The prevalence, cost and basis of food allergy across Europe

Authors


Dr Clare Mills
Institute of Food Research
Norwich Research Park
Norwich NR4 7UA
UK

Abstract

The development of effective management strategies to optimize the quality of life for allergic patients is currently hampered by a lack of good quality information. Estimates of how many individuals suffer from food allergy and the major foods involved vary widely and inadequacies of in vitro diagnostics make food challenges the only reliable means of diagnosis in many instances. The EuroPrevall project brings together a multidisciplinary partnership to address these issues. Cohorts spanning the main climatic regions of Europe are being developed in infants through a birth cohort, community surveys in school-age children and adults and an outpatient clinic study. Confirmatory double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge diagnosis is being undertaken using foods as they are eaten with titrated doses to allow no-effect and lowest-observable effect levels for allergenic foods to be determined. The cohorts will also facilitate validation of novel in vitro diagnostics through the development of the EuroPrevall Serum Bank. Complementary studies in Ghana, western Siberia, India and China will allow us to gain insights into how different dietary patterns and exposure to microorganisms affect food allergies. New instruments to assess the socioeconomic impact of food allergy are being developed in the project and their application in the clinical cohorts will allow, for the first time, an assessment to be made of the burden this disease places on allergy sufferers and their communities.

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