Following a recent successful conference regarding the iFAAM in Cork, the Allergic Reactions in the Community (AlleRiC) project is progressing towards its second stage.
You may remember that the Campaign ran a small series of focus groups in Manchester and Liverpool in July this year, with researchers from the University of Manchester. Anaphylaxis Ireland and the University of Cork held similar workshops in Cork and Dublin.
The aim of the focus groups was to hear at first-hand about the experience of anaphylactic reactions from people who are food allergic (or who are the parents of food allergic children). These conversations were immensely valuable in helping to design an online questionnaire which is intended to identify the sociological, physiological and psychological impact of allergic reactions, including detailed information about the food(s) consumed and subsequent reaction(s).
Researchers from the University of Cork distilled the information from the focus groups to create a questionnaire using the Grounded Theory (GT) approach (a qualitative method often used in social sciences because of its acknowledged rigour and validity in research).
The questionnaire has now been loaded into a web-based format for validation by food allergic people in the community. This is a really important step in the development of the questionnaire and we are asking our food-allergic adult members for their help.
We need you to go through the questionnaire, rating the individual questions before it is used in the final stage of the project – the gathering of data on reactions for the research study itself. If you would like to take part in this stage of the project, please email the research team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This final stage will involve 50 – 100 adults with clinically diagnosed food allergies volunteering to use the online questionnaire to record any reaction to food, even if only mild, over a designated course of several months. The research participants will not only be helping the project by recording the circumstances of their reactions, but will also be able to send in samples of the food for laboratory testing. Participants will need to live within travelling distance of one of the two research centres, Manchester and Cork, in order to facilitate clinical testing.
The research will only be using adult subjects, for ethical reasons, but we believe that there will be opportunities for parents of food allergic children to contribute to the AlleRiC project at a later stage.
Watch out for more information about this in the New Year!