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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Jun;115(6):1197-202.

Advances in environmental and occupational diseases 2004.

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Allergy and Inflammation Research Group, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK.


2004 was another good year for publications on environmental and occupational disorders in our journal. The major focus is clearly on the environment and particularly on environmental risk factors for sensitization and asthma. There is a growing consensus that exposure to pets is good, provided there is enough of it. Low levels enhance sensitization, and higher levels protect against the consequences of that sensitization. Following on from previous work on cockroaches, we now see allergy to feral mice as an emergent problem--at least we now have the tools to study this properly. Emphasis seems to be swinging away from the outdoor environment as a cause of allergic disease and toward the indoor environment, which is, after all, where most of us spend most of our lives. New techniques for studying isocyanate allergy might kindle a revival of interest in the mechanisms of occupational asthma caused by low-molecular-weight compounds. But for all types of occupational allergy, prevention remains key, and it is good to see that comprehensive programs of allergen reduction can pay off in reduced rates of latex allergy in health care workers. Further work in the area of recombinant allergens is welcome but needs soon to be translated into new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. This sector of allergy research remains vibrant, and the editors will continue to welcome outstanding contributions in this area.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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