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Dr. Onyinye Iweala is a professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine whose expertise lies in environmental allergies, including allergic rhinitis, chronic hives, and food allergies.

She joins the show to talk about a number of interesting topics, such as:

  • What factors might be causing or contributing to a food allergy epidemic in developed countries
  • The relationship between microbiota and food allergy, allergic rhinitis, and chronic sinusitis
  • Hypotheses as to why some food allergies can be outgrown by a certain percentage of those affected, and why others cannot
  • How the new and only FDA-approved treatment for food allergy works
  • What happens physiologically during an alpha-gal allergy

As a junior in college, Dr. Iweala took her first basic immunology class and pretty much knew that that was the path she wanted to pursue as a doctor. Not only did she find it complicated and fascinating, but also very relevant to human health. In recent years, food allergy has been on the rise, particularly in industrial countries like the U.S. This has caused concern for many people, especially since there has only very recently been a food allergy treatment on the market.

Dr. Iweala discusses how this new drug functions in the body, and how it is based on the principles of oral immunotherapy.  She also explains the standard understanding of IgE-mediated allergy responses, and how a non IgE-mediated allergy response prompted by an alpha-gal allergy is unique and challenging to detect.

She touches on a number of other interesting subjects, such as how multiple food allergies in a single person might be treated, the goal of recent and ongoing studies in the field, and much more.

Links to Dr. Onyinye’s Lab and research work:

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