Pediatric food allergies: What every parent should know

(Philadelphia, PA) -- There is public confusion regarding our body's reaction to certain foods. On a basic level, an adverse food reaction refers to any reaction following the ingestion of a food. One cause might be a food allergy, the result of an abnormal immunologic response following the ingestion of a food; the other reaction might be the consequence of food intolerance, caused by a non-immunologic mechanism.

Sorting out the causes, diagnoses, and treatments of food allergies in children is Wesley Burks, M.D, a leading researcher in the area of food sensitivity, who has focused on allergies to peanuts and soybeans. A professor and head of the Division of Allergy and Immunology in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Dr. Burks will make his presentation on "The Challenge of Food Allergies in Children" at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) being held July 20-24, 2003, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. More than 16,000 attendees, are expected.


When the body's immunologic response to certain foods is not a factor, then other causes must be considered. The food might be toxic, caused by bacterial poisoning, heavy metal poisoning, or selected fish poisoning. Non-toxic factors include lactase deficiency, gallbladder/liver disease, anorexia, and pancreatic insufficiency. An abnormal immunological response can have responses that are IgE mediated (oral allergy syndrome, analphylaxis) or non-IgE mediated (protein-induced enterocolitis).

The Cause of Allergens

Allergens are characterized by proteins (not fat/carbohydrate) with 10-70 kD glycoproteins that are heat-resistant and acid-stable. Major allergenic foods (>85 percent of allergy) in children are milk, egg, soy, and wheat; among adults, peanut, nuts, shellfish, and fish may cause the problem.

When Allergies K

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Association for Clinical Chemistry

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