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Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« on: July 09, 2013, 02:58:25 pm »
Today one of my co-teachers asked me why western populations seem to have more problems with peanut allergies than Asian populations. She asked when I was eating one of those delicious rice cake/peanut butter/ chocolate snacks. I told her I wasn’t aware of any difference and she said that she’d never thought of it seriously or bothered to read up on it.
So, I decided to look it up and see what I could find. Many of the articles I read said it was mainly a problem in Western Europe/US/Australia, as my co-teacher thought.  This article offered an interesting explanation:

Better Economic Status Tied to Peanut Allergy in Kids: Study
For children aged 1 to 9, living in affluent household may raise risk, researchers say
FRIDAY, Nov. 9, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Children in more affluent families are more likely to develop peanut allergy, a preliminary study suggests.
The researchers said their findings support the theory that a lack of exposure to germs during early childhood increases the future risk of allergies. This so-called "hygiene hypothesis" suggests that living in an overly clean home may suppress the natural development of a child's immune system.
For the study, the investigators looked at more than 8,300 people and found that nearly 800 had an elevated antibody level to peanuts, according to the study presented Friday at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), in Anaheim, Calif.
"Overall household income is only associated with peanut sensitization in children aged 1 to 9 years," study lead author Dr. Sandy Yip said in an ACAAI news release. "This may indicate that development of peanut sensitization at a young age is related to affluence, but those developed later in life are not."
The study authors also found that peanut allergy was generally higher in males and racial minorities regardless of age, and that peanut-specific antibody levels peaked in adolescence (ages 10 to 19), but tapered off after middle age.
"While many children can develop a tolerance to food allergens as they age, only 20 percent will outgrow a peanut allergy," Dr. Stanley Fineman, ACAAI president, said in the news release. "It's important that children remain under the care of a board-certified allergist to receive treatment."
Peanut allergy affects about 400,000 children in the United States and is one of the food allergies most commonly associated with sudden and severe allergic reactions, including potentially deadly anaphylaxis, according to the ACAAI.
Although the study found an association between household income and peanut sensitization in young children, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Anyone else got anything to say about this? I'd be interested to know something from those of you who do have a peanut allergy.

  • JCC
  • Newgookin

    • 2

    • July 12, 2013, 11:38:34 pm
    • Daegu
Re: Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2013, 11:39:52 pm »
Maybe it's because Asia is just not used to eating as much as we do?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 07:41:38 am by taeyang »

Re: Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2013, 12:55:49 pm »
It could just be genetic.  Peach allergy is fairly common here, something I've never heard of in the US.
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  • BTeacher
  • Expert Waygook

    • 756

    • May 26, 2012, 07:21:01 am
Re: Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2013, 03:09:21 pm »
I always found the whole peanut allergy thing pretty strange.

I mean, when I was elementary school in the late 80's & early 90's I used to rock peanut butter sandwiches all the time, as did the other kids. No problems. Fast forward 10-15 years, peanut products are banned from elementary schools because so many kids are deathly allergic to them. Same town.

Whatever the cause, it's really weird to see such a widespread and serious allergy develop in a previously unaffected population over such a short period of time. Really weird.

  • bird212
  • Super Waygook

    • 428

    • May 05, 2013, 01:25:37 am
    • United States
Re: Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 07:36:43 am »
This is really interesting.  I read lately that the use of GMOs and their effects have attributed to the increase in allergies in children.  However, I know that for a lot of people the jury is still out on the GMOs...I for one don't like the idea.  I've also often wondered why allergies are so crazy with kids nowadays!!!!
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Re: Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2013, 01:49:16 pm »
Yeah, Even I had also noticed this type of situation where western population have more allergies problem. But, yet we didn't find any solution for that and it's remain same.

  • skippy
  • Expert Waygook

    • 873

    • January 12, 2011, 04:08:17 pm
    • Daejeon
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Re: Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2013, 09:05:08 am »
Thanks for sharing Skippy. Sounds like these articles agree. 

  • Cshoward
  • Waygookin

    • 19

    • November 15, 2012, 02:48:47 pm
    • Taebaek
Re: Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2013, 01:48:26 pm »
Interesting topic. There are a few other theories out there:

-One theory suggests that products that appear on a mass scale in processed foods will over time lead to allergies within a population: think peanut, soy, wheat, etc.
I don't remember the exact details of how this happens biologically. I will look it up and get back to you on that.

-Also, children who do not breast feed may not receive their mothers "colostrum" or "first milk" which provides the child with certain immunities. This fact might even be combined with your high SES theory. It might be an unfair generalization, but worthy of note, that higher SES families are more likely to be able to afford nannys, extra help, sitters etc. thus not rearing their children directly therefore exhibiting more instances of food allergies.

Also consider this anecdote: I used to work at a school in a very very high SES area in Newport Beach, CA (think where Kobe Bryant lives). And out of the handful of schools that I worked at, the others being only a few miles away serving neighboring communities, this high SES area had a peanut allergy pandemic. Nearly every kid was "allergic" to peanuts and peanut products were banned from the school entirely. Now this example might substantiate the theory that you posted. However, there was also talk among people who I worked with at the time that said the peanut allergies at this school were all in their head. They said that the rich moms were just fussy and overprotective and convinced there kids to think they had peanut allergies.

Re: Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2013, 02:06:45 pm »
It could just be genetic.  Peach allergy is fairly common here, something I've never heard of in the US.

Agree.  While the other stuff factors in to some point, I think it has a lot more to do with genetics than anything else.  I had never heard of a peach allergy being a common thing until I came here either. 

  • Cshoward
  • Waygookin

    • 19

    • November 15, 2012, 02:48:47 pm
    • Taebaek
Re: Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2013, 01:24:50 pm »
Yes it certainly has to do with genetics too. But the question still remains: how and why more genetically predisposed people to peanut allergies in western countries?

  • Frozencat99
  • The Legend

    • 2095

    • October 09, 2011, 04:31:36 pm
Re: Peanut Allergy: Asia vs. West
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2013, 01:50:37 pm »
If you're scientifically illiterate, the answer is probably either GMOs or processed foods.
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