Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nature highlights the current science of allergic disorders

I am beyond thrilled that one of the top science journals (for any field of science!) is dedicating an entire "outlook" to allergic disorders that is freely accessible to all.  Current estimates suggest that 30-40% of the world's population suffers from some kind of allergic disorder (food allergy, asthma, eczema, etc) - World Allergy Organization White Book on Allergy 2011–2012.  Perhaps this will serve as a rallying call for greater collaboration and understanding among scientists in the field and perhaps more research dollars aimed at supporting greater scientific exploration into this clinically prominent problem.  As stated by Roger East in the  "Allergies" introduction, "This Outlook ... is not a triumphant account of strategies that overcame allergy. Recent exploration of the complexities of the adaptive immune system has turned some assumptions about allergies upside down, and researchers are swimming in unfamiliar waters."  Clearly, we have a long way to go in our understanding of the immune system.  There is hope, however.  These are nicely written pieces, aimed at summarizing current advances and pointing out where much work needs to be done.  I personally am most intrigued by how our gut microbes may play an important role in allergy.  Happy reading!