NIH researchers estimate 17% of food-allergic children have sesame allergy

November 04, 2019

Investigators at the National Institutes of Health have found that sesame allergy is common among children with other food allergies, occurring in an estimated 17% of this population. In addition, the scientists have found that sesame antibody testing--whose utility has been controversial--accurately predicts whether a child with food allergy is allergic to sesame. The research was published on Oct. 28 in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.

"It has been a challenge for clinicians and parents to determine if a child is truly allergic to sesame," said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH. "Given how frequently sesame allergy occurs among children who are allergic to other foods, it is important to use caution to the extent possible when exposing these children to sesame."

Sesame is among the 10 most common childhood food allergies. Only an estimated 20% to 30% of children with sesame allergy outgrow it. Severe reactions to sesame are common among sesame-allergic children. About 1.1 million people in the United States, or an estimated 0.23% of the U.S. population, have sesame allergy, according to a recently published study funded by NIAID. These factors underscore the need to optimize recognition and diagnosis of this allergy. The Food and Drug Administration is currently considering whether to include sesame in the list of allergens that must be disclosed on food labels.

Standard allergy tests--the skin-prick test and the allergen-specific antibody test--have been inconsistent in predicting an allergic reaction to sesame. Many studies evaluating the utility of these tests for sesame allergy have included only children suspected to have sesame allergy. Taking a different approach, scientists led by Pamela A. Frischmeyer-Guerrerio, M.D., Ph.D., deputy chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Allergic Diseases and chief of its Food Allergy Research Unit, evaluated the sesame antibody test in a group of 119 children with food allergy whose sesame-allergic status was unknown.

The researchers offered children in the study an oral food challenge--the gold standard for diagnosing food allergy--which involved ingesting gradually increasing amounts of sesame under medical supervision and seeing if an allergic reaction occurred. Children who recently had had an allergic reaction to sesame or were known to tolerate concentrated sesame, such as tahini, in their diet were not offered an oral food challenge.

The scientists found that 15 (13%) of the 119 children were sesame-allergic, 73 (61%) were sesame-tolerant, and sesame-allergic status could not be determined for 31 (26%) children, mainly because they declined the oral food challenge. Among the 88 children whose sesame-allergic status was definitive, 17% had sesame allergy.

The scientists measured the amount of an antibody called sesame-specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE) in the blood of these 88 children. With this data and information on the children's sesame-allergic status, the researchers developed a mathematical model for predicting the probability that a child with food allergy is allergic to sesame. According to the model, children with more than 29.4 kilo international units of sIgE per liter of serum have a greater than 50% chance of being allergic to sesame. This model will need to be validated by additional studies, however, before it can be used in clinical practice.
-end-
NIAID conducts and supports research--at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide--to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®

Reference: K Sokol et al. Prevalence and diagnosis of sesame allergy in children with IgE-mediated food allergy. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology DOI: 10.1111/pai.13143 (2019)

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Related Food Allergies Articles from Brightsurf:

Food allergies take a greater emotional toll on Asian families
A new study being presented at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting reveals the impact on food allergy quality of life (FAQOL) for Asian patients and their parents is significantly higher than for other races.

Asthma and food allergies during childhood associated with increased risk of IBS
Those with IBS at 16 were almost twice as likely to have had asthma at the age of 12 (11.2% vs 6.7%).

Therapy helps children with food allergies manage severe anxiety
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has launched the Food Allergy Bravery (FAB) Clinic to help children with a phobia of anaphylaxis.

New pill could prevent anaphylaxis in people with food, drug allergies
For someone with a food or drug allergy, the risk of life-threatening anaphylactic shock lurks around every corner.

Territorial short food supply chains foster food democracy and sustainability
A University of Cordoba study analyzed the governance mechanisms in territorial short food supply chains in Córdoba and Bogotá.

Drinking green tea may help with food allergies
Drinking green tea increases Flavonifractor plautii in the gut, which in turn suppresses an allergic food immune response.

Children with food protein-induced enterocolitis more likely to have other allergies
Researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have found that children with a rare food allergy known as food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, or FPIES, have a significantly higher chance of being diagnosed with other allergic conditions, including eczema, traditional food allergy and asthma.

Children with food allergies seen faster under new paediatric model
Children with food allergies are seen 10 months sooner and have fewer allergic reactions when treated by a paediatrician in their own community, a new study shows.

Introducing peanuts and eggs early can prevent food allergies in high risk infants
Research undertaken by King's College London and St George's, University of London has found that introducing certain foods early to infants can prevent them from developing an allergy despite low adherence to an introduction regime.

Social media alternative facts on food allergies can negatively impact medical decisions
Social media misinformation has a negative impact on medical decisions made by people with food allergies.

Read More: Food Allergies News and Food Allergies Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.