Christmas Day is right around the corner. Hopefully everyone (whether you personally celebrate Christmas or not) will have some down time coming with the new year holiday. This will be a perfect time to peruse the December issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. I am pleased to offer a few suggestions for those interested.
First, as I hope you have noticed, the Annals has had an uptick in the number of articles that are short and to the point, allowing readers to gain new information in a matter of minutes. A prime component of this is our Letters feature. We typically have 10 – 12 letters per issue on a variety of topics that will interest a broad percentage of our readers. I encourage you to check them out.
The emphasis for this month is omics and allergy. There are multiple articles to inform you in a very practical way. One technologically new, but historically a “bread and butter” area for allergists, is the environment and its impact on allergic disease. An elegant CME review article by David B. Peden MD, FACAAI, addresses how environmental exposures, from pollutants to microbial to social stressors, can adversely impact the risk for new disease and exacerbation of existing disease. This new field is called enviromics, and this article serves as an outstanding primer for the practicing clinician. It is well worth the time to go through this article carefully and learn the vocabulary as well as basic concepts and research directions. Much of this technology will be of use in future therapeutic strategies. In an accompanying editorial, Carmela Socolovsky, MD and Wanda Phipatanakul, MD, FACAAI, examine the lifelong consequences of various exposures on the patient population we serve. Theirs is a must-read, thought-provoking addition to the topic.
Tina V. Hartert, MD and colleagues present a practical and highly informative overview of how the various omic technologies can integrate to improve clinical management of asthma and allergic diseases. All of us who care for these patients are aware of the burgeoning therapeutic choices for each clinical condition and the perplexing dilemma of which agent to use for each patient. This may hinge on a better classification of phenotypes and endotypes. It is here that omics technologies may have their greatest applications. The authors integrate molecular omic technologies (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics) with environmental exposure technologies to provide a rationale for the increasing use of precision medicine approaches – molecular signatures modified by environmental exposures and lifestyle choices. It is truly the clinical management approach of the future, and this article helps to describe what is being developed as well as what is already here.
As we close the books on 2019 and move rapidly to 2020, on behalf of the entire Annals team of editors, editorial staff, publisher and reviewers, I wish all of you a very happy New Year. I look forward to continuing to engage you. As always, feel free to reach out with comments as to how we can be more effective in what we do for you.
Gailen D. Marshall, Jr., MD PhD, FACAAI