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The Doctor Is In

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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I’ve been pretty quiet in this space for the last several months. In the 6 months since we started Food Matters, I’ve been absent for three of them. I’m sorry about that, but I had a good reason, I swear… I published a paper, wrote my thesis, and yesterday I successfully defended my dissertation, and have now officially completed my PhD!

Next month, I start a new gig – I’ll be teaching immunology in a new masters program here at Harvard. I’ll be a curriculum fellow, which means that in addition to my teaching duties, I get to set aside time for continuing to do research. I’ll be joining the lab of Rachel Dutton, a microbiologist that studies the complex interactions of the microbial communities that grow on cheese rinds. My training as an immunologist has meant that my lab life and topics for this blog had a fairly narrow overlap, but I’m confident that the things I learn for the new lab will almost all be perfectly suited to a food science blog.

With that in mind, I hope to ramp up my writing here at Food Matters, and to expand my online presence in a number of other areas. I have a few exciting projects in the works, so if you’re interested in immunology, allergies, fermentation, microbes, infectious disease, beer and many related topics, follow me on google plus or twitter and I’ll keep you posted.

Kevin Bonham About the Author: Kevin Bonham is a Curriculum Fellow in the Microbiology and Immunobiology department at Harvard Medical school. He received his PhD from Harvard, where he studied how the cells of the immune system detect the presence of infectious microbes. Find him on Google+, Reddit. Follow on Twitter @Kevbonham.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. robert.bright20 3:30 pm 04/8/2014

    May I congratulate you on your qualification! PhDs don’t grow on trees, they mean hard work!

    With interestest in biochemistry and sports physiology – I have been coaching rowing for more than forty years – I have a strong interest in food science. I shall be waiting with anticipation to read your future blogs.

    Good luck!

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  2. 2. larkalt 6:58 pm 04/17/2014

    I have been reading research on delayed food allergies, trying to get an idea of what’s going on. The kind of food allergy where the reaction starts half an hour or later after eating the food, fully comes on several hours later, lasts about 4 days – symptoms are “mental fog” – mucked-up mind / diarrhea / frequent urination / itching / emotional reactions.
    I found such allergies given different names in research
    - “non-celiac wheat sensitivity” often involving multiple food hypersensitivities
    - “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” the same
    - “food hypersensitivities” causing irritable bowel syndrome
    - FPIES in babies, sounds similar but more intense
    - non IgE-mediated milk allergy in children
    etc. etc.
    - gastrointestinal food allergy
    If delayed food allergies were figured out it would be huge for medicine because that kind of food allergy seems to be rather common, but much harder to diagnose than food allergies with immediate reactions.
    Things I found out:
    - people with delayed food allergies tend to have other kinds of allergy problems, such as inhalant allergies or asthma
    - it often involves eosinophilia in the small intestine
    - allergy medications like cromolyn, Singulair, antihistamines help.
    - One researcher looked at the duodenum with ultrasound when people with food hypersensitivity were given the culprit food. They said the reaction looked similar to classical IgE-mediated food allergy, but not as intense.

    My best guess about what’s going on with delayed food allergies is that there are mechanisms in the gut to prevent immediate-reaction food allergies from developing – and a delayed food allergy happens when these mechanisms are working, but not well enough to create oral tolerance to the food, so there’s still an inflammatory immune reaction to the food.

    Link to this

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