HEALTH

Food allergies, digestive problems increasing in young people, report says

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The number of young people who had a food or digestive allergy increased 18 percent between 1997 and 2007, according to a new report issued Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2007, approximately 3 million U.S. children and teenagers under age 18—or nearly 4 percent of that age group—were reported to have a food or digestive allergy in the previous 12 months, compared to just over 2.3 million (3.3 percent) in 1997.

The report found that eight types of food account for 90 percent of all food allergies: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. Reactions to these foods by an allergic person can range from a tingling sensation around the mouth and lips, to hives and even death, depending on the severity of the reaction.

Children with food allergy are two to four times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma and other allergies, compared to children without food allergies, the report said.

The mechanisms by which a person develops an allergy to specific foods are largely unknown. Food allergy is more prevalent in children than adults. Most affected children will outgrow food allergies, although food allergy can be a lifelong concern.

The findings are published in a new data brief, “Food Allergy Among U.S. Children: Trends in Prevalence and Hospitalizations.” The data are from the National Health Interview Survey and the National Hospital Discharge Survey, both conducted by CDC?s National Center for Health Statistics.

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Continua to demonstrate interoperable products at Connected Health symposium

BY Michael Johnsen

PORTLAND, Ore. The Continua Health Alliance, an organization dedicated to enabling interoperable healthcare products and solutions, on Tuesday announced that the first demonstration of seamlessly connected Continua pre-certified products and solutions will take place Oct. 27 at the Partners Center for Connected Health 5th Annual Connected Health Symposium in Boston.

“With close to a quarter of the world’s population overweight, more than 600 million people with some form of chronic disease, and millions more reaching retirement age, the time for greater personal health management is now,” Dave Whitlinger, Continua Health Alliance president said. “Continua member companies are working on real solutions that will empower consumers and healthcare professionals to access and share information quickly and easily through connected products and solutions.”

A&D Medical, Cambridge Consultants, Cypak, FitLinxx, Google Health, IBM, Intel, National Health Service, Nonin Medical, Oracle, Partners, Philips, Roche Diagnostics and University Health Network will participate by providing devices and software solutions that support Continua’s upcoming Version One guidelines and share a common interface. The devices and solutions will be set in both home and professional settings. Audience members will see the benefits of real-time information sharing, including improved data for diagnostics and treatment, time and cost savings, and an improved patient experience.

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Continua taps Parker for executive director

BY Michael Johnsen

PORTLAND, Ore. The Continua Health Alliance on Tuesday named Charles Parker to the post of executive director. Parker was most recently the chief technology officer and senior vice president of business development and marketing at Masspro, a performance improvement organization dedicated to advancing healthcare quality.

Beginning in January, Parker will work with Continua’s board of directors to develop a vision and strategic plan for guiding new initiatives for growth, financial stability and services to membership.

“Continua is at the forefront of a revolution in personal healthcare,” Parker said. “By focusing on the creation of a new market of connected health and wellness devices and solutions, Continua is empowering healthcare professionals, individuals and their families to better manage health and wellness at every stage of life. I’m proud to join Continua and look forward to helping the organization achieve its goal of better health, through connectivity.”

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