Scope 49 - From the Director

02 November 2012

New Zealand has a problem and it’s not mollycoddled kids, or overzealous parents - generation A, the allergy generation has been born.

The evidence lies all around us. Local supermarkets now regularly stock a wide variety of dairy-free or gluten-free foods, something that would have been a rare find a generation ago. Most early childhood centres are peanut-free and dinner invitations routinely request notification of any special dietary requirements. So what has happened - why now in the 21st century, is allergic disease such a global health issue? The sad truth is that we just don’t know.

Compared to our grandparents, our lifestyles are different. Our children spend more time indoors and there is a growing obsession with antibacterial products; but whether these alone account for the explosion of allergic disease in recent years remains unknown.

Before we can start developing therapies that more effectively treat asthma and allergy, we first need to understand the allergic disease process. In recent years we have made significant progress into unravelling the very early stages of the allergic immune response, which we believe holds the key to treating allergic disease. In this issue of Scope, we highlight this important work.

 

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