Raising awareness of food allergy in 2012

It’s estimated that around 15 million people suffer from a food allergy in America alone, and the incidence of this global problem continues to grow. Many programs, such as the Food Allergy Initiative and the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, have been set up to support sufferers and their families, and fund research into this condition.

This year, in recognition of the important research going on in order to better understand and manage food allergies, Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, Clinical and Molecular Allergy and Clinical & Translational Allergy are bringing together articles published in each of the journals in a cross-journal collection “Advances in Food Allergy 2012”. The journals are inviting submissions on epidemiology; diagnosis; mechanisms involved in sensitisation, allergy manifestations and tolerance; predictive factors; and active treatment options. Articles will be published and added to the collection as they are ready throughout 2012.

As with many global health issues, most people may know someone who is affected by food allergies. On a recent holiday, I met a fellow holidaymaker who was so allergic to gluten that he couldn’t eat anything that so much as touched another gluten-containing food. In addition to establishing that gluten-free chocolate brownie was actually pretty tasty (although a little crumbly), I also found out that his allergy made it very difficult to eat out in restaurants – something non-allergy sufferers may take for granted.

It’s not just about a lifestyle change for food-allergy sufferers, it’s potentially life-threatening. A severe reaction can lead to anaphylaxis, which if not quickly treated can result in death as the patient cannot breathe. Public awareness, particularly in schools and food preparation facilities, is vital to people being able to manage their condition. We hope that by raising the visibility of articles in “Advances in Food Allergy 2012” we can help towards this important global issue.

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