Dr Jennifer Kim of Mount Sinai Jaffe Food Allergy Institute wrote a response and you can read it on the Jaffe Facebook page. An excerpt: "RE: 'mortality rate is estimated at roughly 1 in 1,000' This is not an evidence-based statistic and was a guess for a specific and highly sensitive patient. We don't have good statistics in truth about fatal food anaphylaxis but registries suggest it is much, much less than the frequently touted 100-200 per year."
Dr Michael Pistiner of AllergyHome.org, with whom I conducted an online Webinar last week for Kids with Food Allergies, wrote a response and you can read what he had to say on the AllergyHome.org Facebook page. An excerpt: "There have recently been talk shows and news stories that are emotionally powerful, discuss the challenges of having a food allergy and present a new 'treatment'. Again, these experimental protocols have exciting potential but are experimental and there is still much to learn."
Dr Wayne Shreffler of the Food Allergy Center at MGH (their Facebook page is here) wrote a formal response. An excerpt: "While food immunotherapy is a promising research treatment, it is still burdensome and risk-laden for patients. The anecdotal reporting of outcomes in these two safety studies, encouraging as they may be, removes them from the larger research context. Currently available data from the small but growing number of studies specifically designed to
evaluate the lasting efficacy of food immunotherapy remain inconclusive and point to the need for more work." You can read the full response here.
All of this to say is that I know many of you were excited by the The Allergy Buster article and the promise it seems to hold and then felt dashed by these responses as well as more stories coming out of the American Academy of Asthma Allergy and Immunology annual meeting, like the one on milk oral immunotherapy treatment wherein "...three to five years after completing an OIT study, Johns Hopkins University researchers said that many participants were more reactive to cow’s milk than they had been early in the course of treatment." (Read more here Allergic Living’s article).
Bottom line still is, as of right now, there is no cure for food allergies.
What we do know is that food allergies are real and serious as is the risk for anaphylaxis
What can arm ourselves by having:
- Clarity about a food allergy diagnosis
- Avoiding the allergen[s]
- Understanding and having a anaphylaxis action plan (Here's an example from AAAAI.org)
- Access at all times to emergency medication, including two epinephrine autoinjectors