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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Dossia, Google team with Continua in growing Web healthcare information resources

BY Michael Johnsen

PORTLAND, Ore. Continua Health Alliance on Tuesday announced the addition of new members Dossia, a non-profit consortium focused on empowering consumers with personally-controlled health records, and Google, a search and information management companies that has created a healthcare online destination.

Since its launch in 2006, Continua has grown to include 170 of the world’s most successful technology companies, medical and fitness device manufacturers, and healthcare organizations working across three key markets: chronic disease management, independent aging and proactive health and wellness.

“Consumers are ready to adopt healthcare technology, such as personally-controlled health records and home health monitoring devices,” stated Colin Evans, Dossia president and chief executive officer. “Individuals with a more complete picture of their health have the opportunity to make smarter, more informed health decisions, to stay healthier and help lower out-of-control costs. Dossia is looking forward to working with Continua and its members to create open healthcare solutions.”

“Google ardently supports the concepts of interoperability, data portability, and open standards, so it was a natural fit for us to join the Continua Alliance,” added Jerry Lin, product manager for Google Health. “Our work with Continua will help us continue to develop integration with various home monitoring devices to ensure that data can be uploaded from these devices and securely stored in Google Health.”

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LifeScan launches Global Diabetes Handprint campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

MILPITAS, Calif. LifeScan, the maker of OneTouch Brand Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems for people with diabetes, on Monday launched its Global Diabetes Handprint (www.DiabetesHandprint.com) initiative, developed in collaboration with the Diabetes Hands Foundation.

The Global Diabetes Handprint is inviting people with diabetes to submit images of their hand, decorated with words and graphics depicting their personal expressions about living with diabetes. The images will in turn be showcased on the Diabetes Handprint Web site, encouraging visitors to share their own hand images.

“The idea behind the original ‘Word In Your Hand’ project was to inspire people with diabetes to connect with one another and not feel so isolated,” Manny Hernandez, president of the Diabetes Hands Foundation said. “Now, the Global Diabetes Handprint expands this concept by reaching more people than ever before, encouraging them in their daily struggle with diabetes while giving back to the diabetes community with company donations.”

For each image submitted between now and March 31, OneTouch will donate $5 up to a maximum of $250,000 for diabetes charities.

The funds generated by participation in the Global Diabetes Handprint will be donated to the Diabetes Education and Camping Association to support children’s diabetes camps and to Taking Control of Your Diabetes to support adult educational and motivational conferences for people with diabetes, those at risk and their loved ones.2 Participants will designate which organization—DECA or TCOYD—will receive the donation associated with their image submission.

As the Diabetes Handprint Project progresses, the images posted by site visitors will be combined to create an interactive, hand-shaped mosaic. Visitors to www.DiabetesHandPrint.com will be able to search for individual images or view them by moving their cursor across the mosaic. Additionally, there will be a featured image, which will be updated regularly. OneTouch will also select five individuals and their images by Dec. 31 to later feature in a national promotional campaign for the Global Diabetes Handprint project.

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