By Henry Ehrlich
June 30, 2014 was the fourth birthday of this website. Larry, Paul, and I have held to our vision of creating a resource for parents and patients alike. We have published nearly 400 blog posts by dozens of distinguished guest contributors, starting with Dr. Mark Ballow, who was then the president of the AAAAI, as well as under our own bylines.
The website is our online complement to Asthma Allergies Children: a parent’s guide, which we published simultaneously. Our premise was that “medicine moves faster than print.” Well, I guess it does, but the pace of research is glacial, and unfortunately for millions of allergy patients many of the same issues we saw four years ago are still there—too much allergic medicine practiced by non-specialists, too few allergists in general, ambiguous diagnosis, and little in the way of definitive treatment. But we’re still looking.
If there was one big surprise in four years of editing this website, it was the extent to which food allergies dominate discussion. Certainly as a matter of public health, cost, and mortality, asthma is still number one, but food allergies attract a huge share of news, parental concern, and my attention.
A few people stand out for special attention. In addition to Paul and Larry, Anne Russell, BSN, RN wrote a string of authoritative pieces for us, and also made many helpful suggestions about the look and editorial standards for this website that I value greatly to this day.
The many contributors from the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai—Hugh Sampson MD, Julie Wang MD, Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn MD, Sally Noone R.N., M.S.N., C.C.R.C, Marion Groetch, MS, RD, CDN, and Xiu-Min Li, MD. Dr. Sampson’s piece on oral immunotherapy remains the record holder for hits in a single day, and Dr. Li’s piece was the beginning of a working relationship that produced my new book, Food Allergies: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Science, and the Search for a Cure.
Other eminent guest editorialists: Dr. Kari Nadeau of Stanford, who introduced us to the concept of epigenetics; Anne K. Ellis, MD and her Queens University colleague Michelle North, PhD, for continuing our education on that subject; Harold Nelson MD of National Jewish, the allergist’s allergist; Dr. John Weiner our friend from Australia; Dr. Eva Untersmayr from the University of Vienna whose research into the connection between digestion and food allergies needs much wider consideration; Dr. Mark Holbreich for his account of his study of an Amish community. A very special guest is Jessica Martin, PhD neuroscientist and food allergy mom, who has a unique ability to explain the hows and whys of the scientific method and peer review. Among lay contributors, Susan Weissman and Caroline Moassessi stand out, as does Elizabeth Bostic, who did our first and so far only cartoon.
I am the first to admit that while medicine may or may not move faster than print, this website is very slow and difficult to navigate. This is to be expected because we have I would guess 400,000 words of content. One great accomplishment is that we have never accepted a penny of advertising. That’s also our greatest failure.
If you want a good overview of our original content in an easy, accessible format, please buy our ebook original, Children’s Allergies and Asthma: one of nature’s dirty tricks, on all ebook platforms at $2.99. It has 89 of our original blog post from the first 270. It is organized like a textbook into the overall epidemic, but with our trademark lively writing and good humor where appropriate.
Our flagship book remains for sale. It has found its way onto the night tables of many parents who sleep a bit better now for having it there.
(Thanks to Elizabeth Bostic for her birthday art.)