Genetic Profile of an Often-Misdiagnosed Chronic Allergic Disease of Children
Though many parents may never have heard of it, a severe and chronic condition called eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) is recognized by doctors as an emerging health problem for children. A disease that was often misdiagnosed in the past, EE has been increasingly recognized in the United States, Europe, Canada and Japan in the last few years. Cases of the disease can be devastating since children who suffer from it may have a host of lifelong problems.
Now, an interdisciplinary team of scientists funded in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), both components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has published a major advance in understanding Eosinophilic Esophagitis. In the February 2006 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the team reveals that a highly specific subset of human genes plays a role in this complicated disease.
"Understanding the genetic profile of a disease such as EE is an important first step towards developing new ways to diagnose and treat it," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
In EE, the esophagus (the muscular tube that connects the end of the throat with the opening of the stomach) becomes inflamed