Saturday, November 27, 2010

NIAID Grants To Stimulate Food Allergy Research

Twelve investigators have received grants totaling $5 million over two years to lead high-impact, innovative studies of food allergy, a significant public health concern. This program, called Exploratory Investigations in Food Allergy, is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and two advocacy groups, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and the Food Allergy Project (FAP). The initiative will support research on the factors that contribute to the development of food allergy, the relationship between other immune system disorders and food allergy, and the epidemiology and genetics of food allergy. An additional program goal is to encourage investigators who have not previously been funded for studies of food allergy to move into the field of food allergy research.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also plans to make four separate awards totaling $1 million per year under this research initiative. EPA will make a separate announcement of its awards.
“Little is known about why only some people develop food allergy, and finding answers to that fundamental question is one of the key objectives of this initiative,” says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., whose institute is contributing $2 million toward the grants. “We anticipate that this program will spark new ideas and research in the field, and we look forward to seeing progress in research that ultimately ends the limitations that food allergy places on the lives of so many children and adults.”
In the United States, approximately 6 percent to 8 percent of children under age 4, and 4 percent of persons age 5 and older have an allergy to one or more foods. In a two-year period, about half of all children with a food allergy will have an allergic reaction from an accidental exposure to that food. Severe cases can result in life-threatening anaphylaxis, a condition characterized by a drop in blood pressure and difficulty breathing. Approximately 30,000 cases of food-induced anaphylaxis and as many as 150 food anaphylaxis-associated deaths occur in the United States each year. Most of these deaths occur in adolescents and young adults.
Projects will address key questions aimed at improving treatment and preventing food allergy, including studies to predict which food proteins are likely to cause allergic reactions, the factors that trigger severe responses, and the contribution of other immune disorders to food allergy. Other projects will help define the genetics of human food allergy and the role of interactions between genes and the environment in food allergy pathogenesis.
The 12 investigators supported by the NIAID, FAAN and FAP are as follows:
* Steven J. Ackerman, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago
* Carine Blanchard, Ph.D., Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
* Talal Amine Chatila, M.D., University California, Los Angeles
* Fred Douglass Finkelman, M.D., University of Cincinnati
* Glenn Furuta, M.D. University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora
* Mitchell H. Grayson, M.D., Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
* Lynn Puddington, Ph.D., University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington
* John T. Schroeder, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore
* Sun-Sang J. Sung, Ph.D., University of Virginia, Charlottesville
* Xiaobin Wang, M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D., Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago
* Xiao-ping Zhong, M.D., Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C.
* Steven F. Ziegler, Ph.D., Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Seattle
The Exploratory Investigations in Food Allergy Program builds on NIAID’s increasing effort to support food allergy research. Since fiscal year 2003, NIAID has increased its food allergy research spending from $1.2 million to an estimated $13.4 million in fiscal year 2008.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

California Hospitals Jeopardizing Patients Health

We go to the hospital to have medical procedures done so we can feel healthy. This is not the case right now as the California Department of Public Health fined at total of 13 hospitals for mistakes made in 2008-2009; mistakes that cost lives.
"In issuing these administrative penalties, our goal is to improve the quality of healthcare at all California hospitals," said Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of the California Department of Public Health. "We want California hospitals to be successful in their efforts to reduce hospital acquired infections, decrease medical errors and eliminate surgical errors." Billingsley claims that money from the penalties will “eventually” be used on projects "to determine how these violations or deficiencies can be decreased and eliminated over time."
The fines included John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital for failures in nursing staff including competency, patient monitoring as well as the safe administration of medications. One of the penalties resulted from the death of a 2-day-old baby.
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach had a metal wheelchair gurney in a room with an MRI machine resulting in magnetic force crushing left lower extremity of a patient.
At Grossmont Hospital in San Diego, a surgeon marked and removed the wrong side of the skull of a 93-year-old man undergoing surgery during repair of a bleed in his brain. Meanwhile at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, emergency room staff failed to accurately diagnose a patient with a hemoglobin count below half of what is normal and the patient died in the lobby.
At Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Oakland, emergency room staff failed to double-check medication orders resulting in the patient being put on a ventilator and was brain dead. Other California hospital violations included leaving items like sponges, gauze and other foreign objects a inside a patients requiring additional procedures to remove them.
Ensuring quality patient care is vital to protecting and promoting the health of all Californians," said Dr. Mark Horton, the CDPH's director. "We will continue to work with California hospitals to attain our shared goal of excellence in patient care."