Sunday, 11 August 2019

Sesame allergy more common than once thought, study finds

At least 1 million children and adults in the United States are allergic to sesame, an ingredient used in everything from hummus to snack bars, researchers reported Friday (Aug 2).

The finding indicates that sesame allergy is more prevalent than previously known, although still far less common than peanut allergy. But sesame is not among the allergens that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires manufacturers to list on food labels.

Exposure to a food allergen like sesame can lead to an anaphylactic reaction, including throat swelling and a drop in blood pressure. Severe reactions can be fatal.

Among people with a sesame allergy, 62% said they had a prescription for epinephrine, the injected medicine used to ease an allergic reaction. Of those with an epinephrine prescription, about one third said they had used the medication at some point.

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Supermarkets near home, fast-food along commute tied to obesity

People with more supermarkets and grocery stores close to home and workers who pass more fast food restaurants on their commute have higher odds of being overweight or obese, a U.S. study suggests.

To see how the food-purchasing options that people encounter every day might impact their likelihood of gaining too much weight, researchers mapped out home and work addresses for 710 adults in and around New Orleans as well as all the supermarkets, smaller grocery stores, fast food restaurants and fancier dining establishments near these locations and along their commuting routes.

As expected, people who passed more fast-food restaurants during their commute had higher body mass index (BMI, a measure of weight relative to height) than those who encountered fewer outlets.

This suggests that the ready availability of unhealthy food is part of the problem, but so are people who bypass the produce aisles to grab junk food and frozen dinners.


Life-threatening mosquito-borne brain swelling disease detected in Delaware

A potentially fatal brain-swelling disease has been detected in mosquitoes in Delaware, officials warn.

Eastern equine encephalitis (also known as EEE or Triple E) is a cousin of Venezuelan equine encephalitis, which is one of the 37 viruses earmarked by the World Health Organization as the biggest threats to public health.

It was first detected in Massachusetts in 1831, but has remained rare - affecting a handful of horses and only about five to 10 humans each year.

As such, there is little demand to study it, and to this date no cure for the virus, which leaves most survivors with permanent brain damage, and kills a third of sufferers.