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Research

Research


Upcoming or Ongoing Studies

Food Allergy:  Is sublingual immunotherapy safe for the treatment of food allergies? 
Anticipated start date:  1 January 2010

Completed Studies:

Allergy testing in Older Adults (geriatric population):  Traditional wisdom says allergies are less common in older adults.  There are several studies that show the incidence of positive skin prick test is lower in an older population.  We thought, however, that the skin changes occurring with aging might make the skin less sensitive to testing, so this apparent decrease in allergy might actually be a decrease in skin sensitivity, not a real decrease in allergy.  We performed intradermal (deeper stronger stimulation) allergy skin testing with serial diluations in adult patients under 45 and over 60.  We found that the incidence of allergy was about the same in the two populations, but that more stimulus (stronger concentration) was required to detect the allergy in older patients. 
Bottom line:  We may need to alter the way we skin test for allergies in the older adult to detect the true incidence of allergy.

Foxp3 in nasal secretions of allergic and non-allergic patients:  Foxp3 is a master switch gene for Treg cells.  Our study showed that allergic patients had significantly lower foxp3 in their nasal secretions compared to non-allergic patients. 
Bottom line:  Treg cells are important in maintaining tolerance to environmental proteins.  Foxp3, either reduced in amount or with impaired function in allergic patients, contributes to keeping Treg cells functioning properly.