Professor Katie Allen, paediatric gastro-enterologist and allergist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, spoke recently on ABC radio about her research on food allergies, the sharp rise in diagnosed cases in Australia and what can be done in response.
Professor Allen gave an interesting synopsis of recent research findings that point to environmental causes of food allergy, citing in particular her studies of prevalence among Asian children. While virtually no Asian-born children who move to Australia develop food allergies, children born in Australia to Asian parents have a far higher risk of developing food allergy than the rest of the Australian population.
In explaining the specific environmental factors that may underlie the rise in food allergy prevalence, she referred to ‘The 5 D’s’: Diet, Dry Skin, Vitamin D, Dogs, and Dribble. These factors, detailed elsewhere, are the current focus of significant efforts to curb the continuing rise in food allergies.
Professor Allen also referred to several novel treatment options that she hopes to see come to market within the coming year or two, as well as efforts to improve both the food supply chain and food labelling regulation. She says Australia is now regarded as a world-leader in this sector, borne primarily out of necessity given the epidemic proportions of this public health concern in this country.
Professor Katie Allen is a member of the Allergen Bureau VITAL® Scientific Expert Panel. Refer VITAL Science.