For as much as you hear people talking about being allergic to foods (sometimes self-diagnosing), there's actually little research about them. But the Food Allergy Research Consortium at Northwestern Medicine is aiming to change this.
With some experts saying that the number of food allergy sufferers is on the rise, Northwestern researchers are hoping to profile more than one million Chicago residents (the city's diverse population makes it ideal for this) to better pinpoint what lifestyle or environmental factors could be affecting people with allergies.
Ann Marie Singh, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics-allergy immunology and medicine-allergy immunology at Northwestern, says that the biggest question she hears from patients is: Why do there seem to be so many allergies today and when will treatments be approved?
"These families are searching for answers, and it is their questions that make this field so exciting," Singh says. "By framing these inquiries scientifically, we can begin to understand why food allergies occur and how we can better diagnose and develop therapies for them. I am honored to care for food allergy patients, and hope that our research continues to impact that care.”
To help support this research, Andrea and Anthony Melchiorre just made a multi-million dollar gift to the consortium. “People who suffer from food allergies need their friends, families, and people at work and in public places to better understand their malady and to help keep them safe,” Andrea says. “By supporting Northwestern, we want to help get trusted, lifesaving information out there about allergies and to inspire others to do the same in our lifetime for the benefit of future generations.”
What do you think of this research? Do you suffer from allergies? Sound off below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine!