We told you last week week about new study findings that show picky eating may be linked to certain genes. Now, Canadian researchers have released results indicating that your risk of developing food allergies may be at least partly determined by heredity…
The researchers, led by Dr. Denise Daley of The University of British Columbia, say they’ve discovered a link between one specific gene and an elevated risk of developing an allergy to Peanuts. The gene, called EMSY for short, is already known to play a role in other allergy-related conditions, such as eczema, asthma, and allergic rhinitis (drippy nose). It may also be responsible for individuals developing general allergic predisposition.
“Food allergy is the result of both genetic and environmental factors, but there are surprisingly few data regarding the genetic basis of this condition,” says Daley. “The discovery of this genetic link gives us a fuller picture of the causes of food allergies, and this could eventually help doctors identify children at risk.”
A lifelong threat…
Peanut sensitivity usually shows up early in life and less severe cases can be treated by giving minute amounts of Peanuts (usually as Peanut Butter) to affected children, increasing the ‘dosage weekly until the sensitivity is gone. If not treated early, such allergies can become much more severe and last into adulthood. Peanut allergy develops in early life and is rarely outgrown. Roughly one per cent of Canadian adults and between two and three per cent of Canadian children are affected, and the symptoms can be severe and even life threatening.
Now that EMSY – and five other gene locations – have been positively connected to Peanut and other food allergies, Daley says further research may well result in the development of treatments and even cures or such afflictions. For millions of folks suffering from serious allergies, effective treatments can’t come too soon!
~ Maggie J.