People With Allergies May Have Lower Risk of Brain Tumors

Logo of the United States National Cancer Inst...

New research adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that there’s a link between allergies and reduced risk of a serious type of cancer that starts in the brain. This study suggests the reduced risk is stronger among women than men, although men with certain allergy profiles also have a lower tumor risk.

The study also strengthens scientists’ belief that something about having allergies or a related factor lowers the risk for this cancer. Because these tumors, called glioma, have the potential to suppress the immune system to allow them to grow, researchers have never been sure whether allergies reduce cancer risk or if, before diagnosis, these tumors interfere with the hypersensitive immune response to allergens.

Seeing this association so long before tumor diagnosis suggests that antibodies or some aspect of allergy is reducing tumor risk.

“It could be that in allergic people, higher levels of circulating antibodies may stimulate the immune system, and that could lower the risk of glioma,” said Schwartzbaum, also an investigator in Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The current study also suggested that women whose blood samples tested positive for specific allergy antibodies had at least a 50 percent lower risk for the most serious and common type of these tumors, called glioblastoma. This effect for specific antibodies was not seen in men. However, men who tested positive for both specific antibodies and antibodies of unknown function had a 20 percent lower risk of this tumor than did men who tested negative.

Glioblastomas constitute up to 60 percent of adult tumors starting in the brain in the United States, affecting an estimated 3 in 100,000 people.

The researchers measured the blood samples for levels of two types of proteins called IgE, or immunoglobulin E. This is a class of antibodies produced by white blood cells that mediate immune responses to allergens. Two classes of IgE participate in the allergic response: allergen-specific IgE, which recognizes specific components of an allergen, and total IgE, which recognizes these components but also includes antibodies with unknown functions.

In each sample, the scientists determined whether the serum contained elevated levels of IgE specific to the most common allergens in Norway as well as total IgE. The specific respiratory allergens included dust mites; tree pollen and plants; cat, dog and horse dander; and mold.

For men and women combined, testing positive for elevated total IgE was linked to a 25 percent decreased risk of glioma compared with testing negative for total IgE.

This work was funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health and a Research Enhancement and Assistance Program grant from Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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Ask your smart phone to detect food allergens in your food.

A hoodie with the University of California, Lo...

Researchers have developed a new device – called iTube – which is able to detect food allergens in food samples. This lightweight attachment to smart phones is recently the lighter, merely two ounces (less than 60 g), portable allergen testing device. The attachment analyzes the allergen concentration levels. The test is also known as colorimetric assay. The iTube platform can test for a variety of allergens, including peanuts, almonds, gluten, eggs, hazelnuts.

Food allergies affect 8 percent of children and 2 percent of adults. Food allergy can be severe, even life-threatening (anaphylaxis).  While laws regulate the labeling of ingredients in packaged foods, cross-contamination can still cause severe allergic reactions. Cross-contamination can occur during processing, manufacturing, and transportation. It is especially difficult to detect the presence of a special allergens in foods at dinner parties or in restaurants.

There are already allergy testing devices on the market but they are complex, bulky equipments, impractical for public settings.

iTube holds a lot of promises for future applications, according to the researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Henry Samuely  School of Engineering and Applied Science.

How does iTube work?

iTube along with a smartphone application that runs the test, uses the cell phone’s built-in camera to convert images into concentration measurements detected in food samples. The test demonstrates the amount of the allergens with the same high level of sensitivity a laboratory would. The results show exactly how many parts per million allergens from e.g. eggs, peanuts, gluten, nuts are in the sample. The test however takes a little while: about 20 minutes to get the results, and the food requires some preparation. The food sample initially needs to be ground up and mixed with hot water and a solvent. After the sample has set for a few minutes, it is mixed in a step-by-step procedure with a series of reactive testing liquids. After about this 20 minute preparation the sample is ready to be measured for allergen concentration through the cell phone’s camera and iTube app. The iTube not only shows whether an allergen is present in the sample but also gives the concentration in parts per million of the allergen.

The UCLA team successfully tested the iTube on different packages of cookies. The results  determined if they had any harmful amounts of peanuts in the sample. Their research was recently published online in the peer-reviewed journal Lab on a Chip.

“We envision that this cell phone-based allergen testing platform could be very valuable, especially for parents, as well as for schools, restaurants, and other public settings,” says Aydogan Ozcan, leader of the research team and a UCLA associate professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering.

The results of the tests can be tagged with time and location as well as can be uploaded directly from the smart phone to the iTube server which could provide  information for other allergy-sufferers around the world. A statistical database of different allergies linked to geographic areas could be useful for future determination of food-related polices researchers said.

Another team of researchers from  Purde University have also processed a new application for travelers suffering from allergies to obtain instant (0.09 seconds) allergen results from food samples without any Internet connection or server. This device is not available yet.

 

Cold Allergy, Allergy, and Cold. What Makes Them Different?

100_6641It seems that many people in the world are affected by cold and allergy. During the mornings or evenings, you tend to have sneezing along with a blocked nose. You may not know whether you are suffering from an ordinary cold or from an allergy. This is when you need to differentiate between a common cold and an allergy. The symptoms can be very similar, but they are completely different afflictions, so their treatments are also different.

Symptoms and treatments 

Common symptoms might include cough, fatigue, sneezing, sore throat, running nose, stuffy nose. Usually aches, pain, fever, and thick yellow/greenish nasal discharge aren’t an indication of allergies just as itchy eyes don’t indicate a cold.

· Colds are caused by viruses. Their treatments are usually rest, pain relievers, decongestants, over-the-counter medications.

· Allergies are immune system responses triggered by one or more specific allergen. The best things you can do is to avoid the exposure to allergens if possible.  Treatments of  seasonal allergies are antihistamines (prescription or over-the-counter), decongestants, nasal steroid sprays.

What is cold allergy ?

Cold allergy, Cold Urticaria or cold hives is an allergy. This kind of allergy affects the skin, causing hives (urticaria) or red welts to form on the skin due to the exposure to a cold stimulus. The hives are usually itchy. Most often they show up on the hands and feet where they can cause swelling as well. When hives form, the fluid from the capillaries flows out into the surrounding tissues causing them to swell up. Hives come in different sizes. If the disease becomes chronic the hives can last for weeks. The Cold Urticaria can be inherited or caught.

What are the symptoms of Cold Urticaria?

When the body is exposed to the cold, hives occur on the skin on the affected area. Hives usually last from a few minutes to a few days. You usually get an irritating, burning sensation through your skin as if bees are stinging you. Severe reaction, when the hives form very fast, usually within less than 3 minutes of exposure, can be life-threatening (anaphylactic shock).

How to diagnose Cold allergy?

The allergist performs a cold test. During the procedure a piece of ice is held against the forearm usually for 2-3 minutes. The result is positive if red hives are raised on the contacted area.

How to Treat Cold Hives

The most important treatment is to stay warm. To control the condition, you should avoid exposure to cold temperatures or warm up immediately after the exposure. Hot water on the affected area or a warmer environment does not improve the condition, but helps prevent it from worsening. If the hives already formed, the warming up afterwards may cause the hives to go away faster.

According to some home remedies some vegetable shortening or butter applied on the affected area may reduce the risk of eruption of the hives. Good idea here would be to reduce the inflammation in your body. Usually, the doctors prescribe Antihistamines. Topical antihistamine creams may also provide some temporary relief.

Some studies suggest that Cold Urticaria has been linked to a gluten intolerance and gluten free diets have helped some Cold Urticaria sufferers. Hives formation is also assumed to be due to food allergies, asthma, environmental changes, and eczema.

The causes of hives are still under investigation.

How ‘Spicy’ is Your Allergy?!

Shop with spices in Morocco

Allergies to spices affect millions of people around the world, but not everyone might ever know that these are allergies. A lot of sufferers might feel that their digestive system gets upset when they eat certain foods. Sometimes it is difficult to determine that the reason for these conditions are spices.

Allergies to spices like onion, garlic, black pepper are common in the United States, but the most common culprits are found within ethnic groups and diet. Spices known as allergy triggers are also paprika, cinnamon, anise, turmeric, cumin, coriander, vanilla. Spices are usually found in small amounts in food, but it is enough for those who are sensitive to that specific allergen. Spices can make matters worse if they are mixes, e.g. curry. There are several types of curry, each is a different blend of many spices. Several blends contain anywhere from three to 18 spices, and the hotter the spice, the greater the chance for allergy. The Five-Spice blend has seven spices. Allspice has only one. However any spices and herbs can cause allergic reactions any time.

Spices at central market in Agadir (Morocco) F...“I strongly believe that spice allergies are markedly under-diagnosed because of the great difficulty in identifying it.” says Sami Bahna, chief of allergy and immunology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport. “Patients with spice allergy often have to go through extreme measures to avoid the allergen. This can lead to strict dietary avoidance, low quality of life and sometimes malnutrition.”

When we hear about spices we usually think about food, but spices are everywhere. They can be found as hidden ingredients in cosmetic products, such as makeup and body oils, dental products such as toothpaste, spice-scented air fresheners or in decorations such as  cinnamon scented pinecones at Christmas holiday.

Allergies can be triggered by digesting the allergen or by breathing them in or even just by touching them.

It is important to know that many reactions to spices, such as runny nose or sneezing are not always allergic reactions, says Stanley Fineman, president of the allergy college and a physician at the Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic. They act by irritating the mucus membrane in the nose.

A true allergic reaction to any food  involves the immune system. Some of the symptoms include hives, swelling of the throat and skin, rash, stomach ache, diarrhea, indigestion, asthma, vomiting itching of the tongue, lips, face. In rare cases severe lowering of the blood pressure, trouble breathing and the risk of unconsciousness or death known as anaphylaxis can occur.

Different food processing can influence the effect of that particular spice. “Boiling, roasting, frying and other forms of applying heat to spices may reduce allergy causing agents, but can also enhance them depending on the spice,” said Dr. Bahna.

spicesSpices are widely used in food and different products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate spice labeling, making it more difficult to identify and avoid them. Therefore close attention to ingredients is absolutely necessary. Approximately 2 percent of food allergies are triggered by spices. However it is underdiagnosed, particularly due to the lack of reliable allergy skin tests or blood tests.

If you have a known spice allergy, you should avoid the allergy trigger spices from your diet. Do your research before you order any food in a restaurant, and read the label before you buy processed food  any kind. If you have any doubt, call the manufacturer for more information.

The best way to be  safe is by  cooking your favorite dishes at home.

Beware of Holiday Season Allergies

the sexy santa assistants were there to take a...

The holiday season may holds many hazards for those suffering from allergies and asthma. During winter holidays when we gather with friends and spend more time indoors we are exposed to many different allergens. Eating at friends’ houses, at parties or in restaurants can be a huge source of anxiety for people with food allergies.

Even traveling and stress can lead to asthma attacks. Chemicals released by the body during stress can tighten the muscles around the airway causing the attacks.

Plan ahead and take some preventive actions to be safe  during the holiday season.

The scent

You probably want to create a cozy atmosphere with scented candles like pumpkin, pine, and vanilla. These scents can be hazardous to some people. One third of asthma sufferers have a problem with scented candles and air-fresheners. Even low levels of these compounds can increase the risk of asthma, especially in children. Limit or eliminate scented candles, potpourri, air fresheners, and plant arrangements.

Instead of using these aromatic scents, open the windows to air out the house, or let the smell of fresh baked cookies from the oven provide natural aromas.

Look for hidden allergens in decorations.

Real Christmas trees can make you sneeze because the fragrance may be irritating.  They can carry mold spores causing allergy symptoms. Let the real tree dry in the garage for a week and give  it a good shake before you bring it inside.  You can also use a leaf-blower (away from the house or garage) to remove visible pollen grains. Wipe the trunk thorougly with a solution of water and diluted bleach( 1 part bleach to 20 parts water) to remove mold. If you suffer from allergies consider using an artificial tree, girland, or wreath. Be careful with  artificial snow; It can cause lung irritation.

Your decorations from the last year could become moldy, dusty and loaded with allergy-triggering dust mites if they weren’t stored properly in an air-tight container.

Also be aware of ponsettias since the plant is a part of the rubber tree family, which can cause serious problems for those with latex allergy.

Choose gifts carefully

Jewelries such as earrings, necklaces, watches contain Nickel, a common cause of contact dermatitis. Candy can contain nuts. Parfume and other things with strong scents can trigger allergic reactions, rashes, and asthma. Better to chose gifts like books, clothes, or gift cards.

The food                                                                                                                      

Holidays are filled with foods which makes difficult to navigate through for those who have food allergies. Ask about ingredients before you chose to eat them. Be aware of the possibility of cross-contamination during the food preparation. If you think the provided food hide too much risk for you, don’t eat them. Bring your own food or eat at home before you arrive.

Take time to check restaurant menus before eating out. Call them ahead to help you identify menu items  that allergic people can  eat safely. Ask if the restaurant’s chef can prepare an allergy-free meal for you. This tip is valuable year-round, but especially important during the holiday season. Order simple food like broiled chicken, fish and avoid food which requires complicated preparation. Beware of buffets where cross-contamination may take place.

Be prepared

Any precaution can be a weapon against an allergic reaction. When visiting family or friends be prepared for possible allergic reactions to everything from food to pets to parfumes. Make sure someone else knows about your allergies, signs of a reaction and emergency procedures. Always carry your appropriate medications, and a written action plan highlighting  your physician’s name and phone number for quick reference in case of an emergency. Have your autoinjectable epinephrin at-hand just in case.

 

Related article:

Source:

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) Editorial Board

Food Allergies Linked to Pesticides

Common food allergies in childrenEnvironmental pollution and the occurence of food allergies in the United States are on the rise. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an increase in food allergies of 18 per cent was seen between 1997 and 2007.

The increased use of pesticides and other chemicals in the environment is associated with a higher prevalence of food allergies according to a study published in the December issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Elina Jerschow, assistant professor of allergy and immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York said: “Our research shows that high levels of dichlorophenol-containing pesticides can possibly weaken food tolerance in some people, causing food allergy. ”

What are Dichlorophenols?

Dichlorophenols are widely used as pesticides and for chlorination of water. Researchers have found that people exposed to high levels of dichlorophenols, the chemical added to water to ensure it is free of bugs, tend to be more prone to food allergies. It doesn’t mean that people should stop drinking tap water to avoid dichlorophenols exposure. Even those who opted for bottled water instead of tap water could ingest the pesticide chemical from eating pesticide-treated fruits and vegetables, fruit juices and foods. This chemicals are also commonly found in pesticides used by farmers and consumer insect and weed control products.

How dichlorophenols affect our environment?

Dichlorophenols have a strong antibacterial effect that could affect microflora in the environment. Dichlorophenols are a kind of chlorine that are known to kill bacteria. A new study reported in the December issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology support the hypothesis that high levels of dichlorophenols can alter the population of microbes within the human body, which can affect the way that the body react to food. According to the study urine dichlorophenols level at the 75th percentile and above were associated with the presence of sensitization to foods. Excessive use of dichlorophenols may contribute to the increasing incidence of food allergies in westernized societies.

Jerschow said the research is still too preliminary to suggest that Americans should change  their eating or drinking habits.

Most common food allergens

The egg, milk, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, and wheat make up 90 percent of food allergies. Symptoms can range from mild rash to a life-threatening anaphylaxis. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) recommends everyone with known food allergy to always carry two doses of allergiest prescribed epinephrine. The delay in using epinephrin can lead to death.

Related articles:

Source:

Danger of “antibacterial”

Bio-Tag - Triclosan

An antibacterial chemical, called Triclosan, found in toothpaste and other personal care products may increase the risk of allergy development in children. Triclosan has been used since 1972, but was recently associated with allergies in children.

What is Triclosan?
Triclosan is an antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent. Triclosan has been in use for decades in a variety of common household products, including soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, mouthwashes, dish detergents, hand sanitizers, cleaning supplies, and toys. It is also a component in some pesticides, mattresses, insulation and underlayments used under flooring such as laminate, wood, carpeting in order to stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mildew. In the United States, manufacturers of products containing triclosan must indicate it on the label.

How can Triclosan affect our health?
Triclosan can change the bacterial flora in the mouth, on the skin and in the intestines. The change in the delicate balance between beneficial and “bad” bacteria in the body can lead to immune system dysregulation, causing an increased risk of developing allergies (hygiene hypothesis). The researchers found link between the growing incidence of allergies and the increased use of products containing triclosan. The study does not demonstrate that the antibacterial chemicals themselves cause the allergies but instead suggest that they play a significant role in immune system development. Several studies have shown that triclosan may alter hormone regulation in laboratory animals or cause antibiotic resistance.
According to the FDA, triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans, but a number of scientific studies emphasize the need to review the manufacturer’s guidelines on the use of this chemical in consumer products.

About the study
Researchers have found that children with high urinary levels of triclosan have a twofold higher risk of environmental and food allergies. The higher urinary levels of the chemical were associated with increased levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody, which is elevated in the blood of people with allergies. According to the study the probability of food and aeroallergen (especially rhinitis) sensitization is significantly higher with increased exposure to triclosan.
Comparison of the Norwegian and U.S. summary of the studies show approximately 50 per cent of the Norwegian children had detectable levels of triclosan in their urine, while 80 per cent of American children had measurable levels. Children from both groups had approximately the same amount of triclosan exposure.
The triclosan study is a collaboration between the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo University Hospital and the National Institute of Health Sciences (NIEHS) in the U.S. The study was published online on November 2012 in Allergy, the official journal of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

What is the problem with Triclosan?
Triclosan is linked to inhalation and liver toxicity. Low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. Due to the uncompleted waste water treatment, the chemical, which is very toxic to aquatic life, ends up in our lakes, rivers and water sources.

How to avoid Triclosan?
There is no evidence that household use of antibacterial products provides benefits over plain soap and water, and the American Medical Association recommends that triclosan not be used in the home, as it may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Watch the label for triclosan (and triclocarban) in personal care products. Read ingredient labels carefully.

Avoid “antibacterial” products.  Triclosan is used in everyday personal care products like toothbrushes, toys, plastic containers, and cutting boards that may be labeled “antibacterial,” or make claims such as “odor-fighting” or “keeps food fresher, longer”.              

Use simple detergents and soaps with short ingredient lists and avoid antibacterial products with triclosan for home use.

Triclosan can be found in these products: soap and dishwashing liquid, towels, mattresses sponges, personal care products, shower curtains, toothbrushes, phones, kitchenware, and plastic food containers, shoes, flooring, and carpets, cutting boards, clothing, fabrics, and toys.

References:

http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/triclosan_fs.htm

http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(11)02347-5/fulltext

What You Need to Know About Anaphylaxis

English: At sea aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt ...

Anaphylaxis is considered as the worst type of allergic reaction. If anaphylaxis isn’t treated right away, it can lead to unconsciousness or even death. Allergic reaction is when the immune system mistakenly responds to an allergen and creates an immune response against it. The immune system recognize the allergen as a foreign substance and the body produces antibodies, and release histamine which is responsible for the allergic symptoms.

What is Anaphylaxis?

This condition is a generalized allergic reaction that usually involves two or more body systems such as respiratory, skin, cardiovascular, gastro-intestinal, and central nervous systems.   In most cases, anaphylaxis develops quickly and can take only one to two minutes for a mild allergic reaction to escalate to anaphylaxis. Symptoms: The blood pressure drops suddenly, the airways narrow, blocking the normal breathing. Rapid, weak pulse, skin rash, nausea, and vomiting.

Facts About the Reported Cases for Anaphylaxis

The incidence of anaphylaxis is approximately 50 to 2,000 per 100,000 persons per year. Rates appear to be increasing. The incidence in 1980’s was approximately 20 per 100,000 per year, while in the 1990’s it was 50 per 100,000 per year.

Anaphylaxis causes approximately 1500 deaths in the U.S. annually. A majority of anaphylaxis victims have pre-existing allergies. The risk is higher in young people and females. The food-included anaphylaxis showed the highest increase. The cause of anaphylaxis is unidentified in one-third to two-thirds of patients.

Importance of Carrying and Using Epinephrine

Studies of fatal anaphylactic reactions to food have found that most of the episodes occurred away from home, and most of the victims did not have epinephrine with them. Usually the faster the onset of an anaphylactic reaction, the greater the likelihood that it will be severe.

What are the different Causes of Anaphylaxis?

There are several factors that can trigger this life-threatening condition. The following are the various causes of anaphylaxis:

  • Food  –  Eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions. They are milk, peanut, tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy. The fact is that almost any kinds of food can trigger the condition to occur. It is necessary to remember that even a small amount or even the smell of these foods could make you suffer from this condition. Approximately 12 million Americans have food allergies. An estimated 150 people die annually from anaphylaxis due to food allergy. Peanut and/or tree nut (e.g. Walnut) allergy affects about three million Americans, or 1.1% of the population.
  • Insect stings and bites – Wasp, bee, and jack jumper ant stings are also known to be the most common causes of anaphylaxis. Other insects like green ants, fire ants and ticks could also trigger this harmful condition. After the first stings, your body produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). If stung again, the venom interacts with this specific IgE antibody, triggering the release of substances that cause an allergic reaction. An estimated 5% of the U.S. population ( 15 million Americans)are allergic to insect venom. There are at least 40 deaths per year due to the venom.
  • Drugs – There are some medicines that can trigger anaphylaxis.  The most common drug associated with allergies is penicillin. Other drugs commonly found to cause reactions include insulin, barbiturates, sulfa drugs, anticonvulsants, iodine (Contrast agents for radiology procedures often contain iodine).  0.7 to 10% , as many as 30 million people are allergic to penicillin. There are about 400 deaths due to penicillin anaphylaxis yearly.
  • Other substances, chemicals:  Latex. Up to 3 to 18 million people are allergic to latex in the U.S. There are about 220 cases of anaphylaxis and 3 deaths per year due to latex allergy.

What to Do if You Have Anaphylaxis?

If you or one of your loved ones is suffering from this condition, it is a must to go to the nearest hospital immediately to prevent complications. There are different medicines that can treat this condition:

  • Epinephrine: This is the most common drug that is given to patients with anaphylaxis. This medicine is offered in the form of self-injectable devices which you can buy upon receiving the prescription of your doctor.
  • Antihistamine and steroids are also used to alleviate the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis.

What to Do to Prevent Anaphylaxis?

If you suffered from the particular condition before, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) suggests the following to lower your risk for anaphylaxis:

  • You should wear your medical bracelet with a list of triggers.
  • Avoid those things that can cause allergic reaction.
  • Find out what you can do if you come in contact with causative factors. Call your physician to learn what you should do to prevent an allergic reaction.
  • Teach your loved ones how they can help you if you have this condition.

What is Medical Bracelet?

It’s commonly said that a medical alert bracelet speaks for you when you are unable to speak for yourself.
Medical ID bracelets are designed to provide with information about your specific medical or allergic condition, or medication you’re taking in the event of an emergency at the point in time when they’re about to administer emergency treatment. It’s recommended  by some medical personnel that everyone with a severe allergy or medical  condition should wear a medical bracelet.

If you experience severe symptoms, call your doctor or 911 immediately, or go to the nearest emergency room.

Always remember that it is better to prevent a disease instead of curing it.

Are You Allergic To Your Phone?

iPhone 2g, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4

A new study analyzed cellular phone models for  two common allergens; cobalt and nickel. With the expanded use of cell phones, allergists are reporting a rise in face rashes and contact dermatitis triggered by nickel and cobalt found in the phones. Symptoms are skin redness, itching, dry, itchy patches, swelling, even blistering and lesions where the metal makes contact with the skin. An allergic person can even develop post inflammatory  hyperpigmentation (darkened skin) and scarring.

The test results revealed the presence of both metals in many flip-phones. Among the smart phones the Blackberry was the only one found to contain nickel. “None of the iPhones or Androids tested positive for either metal”, said researcher Luz Fonacier, MD, of Winthrop University Hospital of New York Stony Brook.

The nickel was found mostly in worn out, torn, and heavily used keypads. Using an earpiece or cover could prove effective in ensuring minimum contact with the device. In case of severe  allergic reactions, consider replacing your current phone with one containing no nickel. iPhones or Droids may be a better choice to reduce the chances of an allergic reaction. “Blackberry users  allergic to those particular metals should avoid prolonged conversations, text messaging and handling their phone as soon as they begin feeling symptoms”, said Fonacier.

Phone manufacturers take steps to design the phones with no exposed nickel on the exterior surface.

Mobile phones however should not take all the blame for these allergies. The metals are used in computers, and are also common in jewelry, coins and makeup, according to the researchers.

“Nickel is commonly used in electronic parts for soldering and plating and is found inside all smartphones. However, this only becomes a concern for customers with known nickel allergies when a pure nickel or high nickel content material is exposed on the smartphone’s surface then comes into contact with the skin. Research In Motion (RIM) takes careful steps to design all Blackberry smartphones with no exposed nickel on the exterior surface” says Krista Seggewiss a company spokeswoman at Research In Motion , which makes Blackberries.

“Even the best phones from our study are still loaded with chemical hazards” said Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center and founder of HealthyStuff.org.

“These chemicals, which are linked to birth defects, impaired learning and other serious health problems, have been found in soils at levels 10 to 100 times higher than background levels at e-waste recycling sites in China. We need better federal regulation of these chemicals, and we need to create incentives for the design of greener consumer electronics.”

AccordiImage representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...ng to another study, the least toxic phones were the LG Remark, the iPhone 4S, the Samsung Captivate, the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Evergreen. Usually, the older phones were more toxic then the newer. The best average ratings were given for the Samsung phones.

The most effort and improvement to remove toxic chemicals from their phones were made by Apple. In the study the iPhone 2G was the most toxic, but the iPhone 4S and 5 showed up near the top of the least toxic phone list.

The least toxic phone on the market out of 36 types of commonly used mobile phones was the Motorola Circus – according to the study completed by HealthyStuff.org and ifixit.org.

Phone manufacturers still use a range of hazardous materials such as lead, bromine, chlorine, mercury and cadmium. These materials can have a serious impact on our health. For example, mercury can cause garstointestinal tract, nervous system and kidney damages, as well as neurological impairment in children. Another harmful chemical is n-Hexane, mixed with solvents for a variety of uses including the cleaning of glass,  has poisoned electronic factory workers in China during cellphone production.

“Americans throw away 130 million cell phones each year and only 8 % of them are recycled properly” – according to ifixit.org. English: Mobile phone scrap, old decomissioned...There are no laws yet on the books for 32 states in the United States which would ban the disposal of electronics in incinerators or landfields.

These harmful chemicals can get into the soil and water due to improper recycling of mobile phones. Emission during disposal and recycling of phones and computers as electronic waste or e-waste is a growing problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6qFh1hqYVM

Related Websites

To learn more about how to recycle your electronics:

http://www.electronicstakeback.com/how-to-recycle-electronics/

Phone recyclers:

http://www.call2recycle.org/

Find rechargeable battery and cell phone recycle locations near you.

http://e-stewards.org/

Find local recyclers and read their useful information about recycling and e-waste crisis.

http://www.capstonewirelessllc.com

On their website you can request a free UPS shipping label. They also have a buy back program for your old phone.

An Outlook: Colon Cancer And Allergy

English: Micrograph of a colorectal adenocarci...

Micrograph of a colorectal adenocarcinoma metastasis to a lymph node, also lymph node metastasis. The cancer (forming glands) is seen at the centre-top. Adipose tissue is present on the upper right.

A new research suggests that people who suffer from hay fever and asthma are at lower risk of colon cancer. Before we know more about this research, let us first know about these health conditions.

Colon cancer (or colorectal cancer): It is an uncontrolled growth of cells affecting areas of colon, large intestine, rectum, or in the appendix. Rectal bleeding and thin (thread-like) stools are typical symptoms of colon cancer. Age, certain diseases (such as ulcerative colitis) and genetic causes contribute to it.

Allergy: In some people, there can be an “unusual” sensitivity towards a normally harmless material that induces a strong reaction by the person. Typical allergies are related to certain food or medication, smell and exposure to skin. Atopy is the medical word that describes the state of allergy, where there is a tendency to react to allergens, as in hay fever and asthma. 

Hay fever is an allergic inflammation that occurs in the nasal airways. It is caused by grass pollens or plant pollens (pollinosis). Hay fever is not caused by hay and does not exhibit symptoms of fever. 

Asthma: Asthma is a disease affecting the respiratory system, caused usually by allergies. It has symptoms of coughing, tight feeling in the chest and sudden difficulty in breathing. 

Does hay fever and asthma affect colon cancer ? 

A recent study finds that people who suffer both from hay fever and asthma are at lesser risk of colon cancer. The study reports that people suffering from both, hay fever and asthma, were 17% less likely to acquire colon cancer compared to people who had neither of the two conditions. People having either of the two conditions had little reduction in their risk of colon cancer. The finding is according to data presented at the 11th Annual AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held in Anaheim, California, October 16-19, 2012.

Hay fever and asthma are diseases that are related to allergic responses of the body, and this new theory says that they also affect the allergic response towards colon cancer cells. More research is ongoing with this new finding, and if a natural immune response can prevent some colorectal cancers, vaccines can be made to treat and prevent them.

This new finding may help us in the development of vaccine for the treatment of colon cancer, and for that it needs to be understood the factors that affects and lowers the risk of colon cancer, e.g. how the immune system is responsive towards cancer cells in such cases. Exercising regularly and a healthy diet might help people to improve their immune system response to prevent cancer.

Why Global Warming Makes Allergies even worse?

Temperature predictions from some climate mode...

Global warming and allergies are certainly linked together based upon scientific studies done on weeds, trees and grasses in recent years. As the temperature of the planet continues to rise, undoubtedly the amount of pollen will increase as well.

All over the world, people suffer from seasonal allergies on a regular basis. Not too long ago, people could predict when certain allergy seasons would occur, and could prepare accordingly. Now, for seemingly unknown reasons, allergy seasons are by far more potent than ever before. Recent studies have shown that pollen counts are higher, and allergy seasons seem to be longer than they have ever been in history.

Some theory blame the man-made increases in greenhouse gases which are responsible for warming the oceans by melting the polar ice cups, as well as the increase of global temperatures, freakish weather such as hurricanes and tsunamis and the increase growth of various plants(such as trees, weeds and grasses),all refer to as climate change.

Others are convinced that climate change in an inevitable cycle that the earth goes through and there is not man related. Anyway, there are measurable changes in the earth’s climate, which were responsible for the significant increase in allergic diseases in the past few decades.

Global warming has led to longer and warmer seasons, causing the trees and grasses to flower much earlier, thus more pollen is released at an earlier time. Some studies have shown that the season begins up to two weeks earlier and last longer than in previous decades. The increased pollen and mold spore counts increase the sensitization to allergy and will increase the allergy symptoms in those who already suffer from allergic diseases. Higher pollutant levels likely to cause worsening of asthma symptoms in affected people. Many studies have shown that with the rise in average daily temperatures, there is a rise in the rate of asthma and asthma symptoms. On days when pollen and mold count are higher, there is an increased emergency room visits for asthma.

The allergic rhinitis incidence in the United States population increased dramatically from 10 to 30 percent over the past 40 years. Similar increases were observed in westernized countries as Canada, and the rate of allergic rhinitis is expected to increase by 40% in Japan by 2050.

The global warming and allergy relation in not limited to seasonal allergies. The warming climate is also spreading the growing range of allergy-inducing plants into new areas of the world. Climate change means allergy season can last longer. Hotter summers make disease-carrying insects more active, for longer seasons; illnesses like West Nile, and Lyme are able to spread into new areas. Hotter weather reduces water supply and quality and diminishes food security. Heavy rains increase risk of drinking water contamination and illness.

Ragweed is one of the primary producers of pollen during the fall allergy seasons. Since 1995, the duration of this allergy season has increased by over 30 days, primarily in parts of North America.

Latest study pointed out that the excess CO2 now in the atmosphere stimulates the allergy-inducing ragweed to produce 60 percent more pollen. Scientists have found that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that have increased steadily over the last several decades may be to blame. Carbon dioxide level has increased by more than 20 % since 1960. Not only do the increased levels of CO2 cause the ragweed to produce greater amounts of pollen, it has been shown that it is much more potent than ever before, leaving allergy sufferers in more agony year after year.

What You Can Do

Global warming is something that is ongoing, and because of this, those that suffer from allergies need to learn how to adapt. Check daily pollen reports and ozone quality conditions especially on sunny, clear, windless late summer days when ozone conditions usually high. If you have distinct breathing problems caused by pollen producing weeds, trees, or grasses, it is best to stay indoors on days where pollen content in the air is at its highest. Air quality conditions are posted daily by many services, giving you the information when it is best to go outside, and when you should stay in. When pollen and ozone levels are high better to stay indoors, keep windows closed. Take shower and wash bedding and outdoor clothing frequently, vacuum regularly using vacuum cleaner with high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter.

You should also consider talking to your local physician, as they will have certain remedies that can help you deal with the higher pollen amounts.

New Target Discovered To Treat Food Allergy

English: Structure of the PIM1 protein. Based ...

Structure of the PIM1 protein.

Researchers have discovered a new target towards food allergy treatment announced in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The finding shows that the level of a small intestine enzyme called “Pim1 kinase” is higher in mice that suffer from peanut allergy. Blocking activity of Pim1 seems to reduce the allergic response to peanuts.

According to recent statistics, around 4% of Americans suffer from food allergy. Symptoms can range from hives, vomiting, difficulty breathing to the severe anaphylaxis. Consuming peanuts, their proteins enter into the bloodstream via the intestines and cause an immune response those who have peanut allergy.

Dr. Erwin Gelfand, chair of pediatrics at National Jewish Health says, “Pim1, and its associated transcription factor, Runx3 mRNA, play a crucial role in allergic reactions to peanuts”.

Dr. Gelfand’s laboratory research has shown that the Pim1 increases upon allergen sensitization and is responsible for the downregulation of Runx3. The study shows in mice that the upregulation of Runx3 can be alter by inhibiting Pim1 kinase. This strategy essentially reduce allergic reaction in mice.

PIM-1 kinase contributes to several signaling pathways and is expressed in T cells and eosinophils, type of cells associated with allergic diseases. Runx3 is linked with the regulation of T cells.

Allergic mice, that consumed peanuts, had increased levels of Pim1 enzyme in their intestines, as well as higher levels of inflammatory cells, and cytokine molecules that are associated to allergies. However, levels of Runx3 were dropped significantly in the allergic mice. When researchers administered a small molecule called AR460770, the activity of PIM-1 kinase was blocked and mice did not experience diarrhea and other peanut allergy related symptoms.

The main culprit of allergic reaction is the enhanced level of  histamine in the plasma. After administration of AR460770, made by Array Biophama, the histamine level fell to about baseline levels and Runx3 mRNA increased almost back to baseline levels. Upregulating Runx3 by targeting Pim1 kinase represent a new way for treating allergic diseases.

Our data identified for the first time that Pim1 kinase contributes in important ways to the development of peanut-induced allergic responses. Targeting this novel regulatory axis involving Pim1 kinase and Runx3 offers new therapeutic opportunities for the control of food-induced allergic reactions.”- said Dr. Gelfand. 

 

Do you get the right medical care for your allergy?

A patient receiving a skin allergy test.

The prevalence of allergic diseases is growing dramatically by hitting about 30-40% of the population worldwide. The allergic diseases became a major healthcare problem today and the forecast is that allergic problems will increase further as air pollution and the temperature increase.

In spite of the epidemic prevalence of allergic diseases just a few countries have comprehensive services. Most services are not specialized for allergies and only organ-based care available. Since most patients with allergic diseases have symptoms in multiple organs (e.g. allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and asthma), these kind of care are not comprehensive, the patients often are not being appropriately diagnosed and treated.

An adequate standard of care must be lead by allergy specialists. The lack of that special service leads to avoidable deaths and it increases the cost to health care system and national budgets. According to the World Allergy Organization (WAO), the estimated deaths through asthma are about 250,000 each year worldwide. This is why it is  important that a well-trained physician identify the allergens, so the patient have a chance to avoid it. A trained physician can prescribe appropriate medications or even an allergen immunotherapy, a highly effective treatment currently restricted to only a few centers of care throughout the world. The most important consideration in allergy practice is to find the cause and prevent, not just suppress the symptoms.

The WAO White Book on Allergies 2011-2012 issued by World Allergy Organization urges the increase of public awareness of allergic diseases. According to the WAO the allergic diseases should be recognized as a global public health problem and greater efforts made towards their prevention and treatment as well as the extended training of healthcare professionals. Doing this, a more integrated approach to the diagnosis and management of all allergic diseases becomes practicable.  The trained healthcare professionals should be educating patients who suffer from allergies, and be focused toward increased public awareness.

The WAO provides advanced care through education, research and training as a worldwide alliance of allergy and clinical immunology societies. The organization includes 84 society members and organizations recently, which endeavor to increase the global awareness of allergy and asthma as a major public health problem.

WAO support the global allergy community by planning and organizing wide range of events and activities such as World Allergy Week, Walk for Allergies. The organization offers research associations, surveys and analysis for disease causation and management. Educational outreach programs are offered to member societies and health care professionals throughout the world. The program also helps establish new allergy societies to develop and support national allergy services, conduct allergy training schools, and provide educational resources in underserved countries.

 

Source:

WAO White Book on Allergy 2011-2012

The recently issued book by Word Allergy Organization cover all aspects of allergic diseases, such as prevalence and treatment, unmet needs, and future therapies.

http://www.worldallergy.org

Are You Aware of Latex Allergy ?

Extraction of latex from a tree, for use in ru...

                                              

In a latex allergy, the immune system identifies latex as a harmful substance. Latex, also known as rubber or natural latex is derived from the milky fluid of the rubber tree, found in Africa and Southeast Asia. The latex original role is in the tree to heal the cuts in the surface of the plant.

Latex, after extracted is treated with ammonia which is a basic ingredient in making gloves, condoms, rubber bands, balloons, erasers and toys.

In anEnglish: Photomodel MissLatex wearing rubber /...other method, the acid-coagulated latex is used as crumb rubber and to form dry sheets. The latex is “vulcanized” by adding sulfur at extremely high temperature for a prolonged time to get low-to-undetectable levels of allergenic proteins. These are called the non-allergenic products.

Latex allergy may cause an allergic reactions ranging from sneezing or a runny nose to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition. The problem is not with the rubber itself, but a contaminating protein in the rubber. Your doctor may determine if you have a latex allergy or if  you are  at risk of developing a latex allergy.

There are three types of latex allergy reactions:

  • Irritant contact dermatitis      (non-allergen contact dermatitis) It is a non-allergic hypersensitivity and it is the most common clinical reaction to latex products.  Repeated exposure of this allergen often leads to latex allergy.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis: A delayed reaction to additives used in latex processing. The reactions are similar to contact dermatitis      (dryness, itching, burning, scaling, and lesions of the skin) but they are more severe and tend to spread to more parts of the body, and lasts      longer.
  • Latex Protein Allergy (latex hypersensitivity) is an immediate allergic reaction. This is the most serious reaction to latex. Symptoms can show up as urticaria, hay fiver,      rhinitis. This allergic reactions to latex sometimes may progress  life-threatening conditions such as low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, tremors, chest pain, anaphylactic shock.  If left untreated, these conditions could potentially result in death.

LatEnglish: A PVC-Glove Deutsch: Ein Latexhandsch...ex allergy is more prevalent and found in healthcare professionals due to the increased use of latex gloves. Wearing gloves gives the health care professional more immunity and  protects against further  transmission of infectious diseases (such as HIV, Hepatitis B). About 5% to 10% of health care workers have some form of allergy to latex. Rubber gloves are the main source of allergic reactions, although hundreds of these products contain latex:

  • medical devices (gloves, catheters, blood pressure cuffs, tourniquets, bandages)
  • dental items (dams and orthodontic rubber bands)
  • children’s items (toys, bottle nipples, pacifiers and teething toys);
  • clothing (the elastic waistbands in pants and underwear);
  • household items (rugs, bathmats and rubber gloves);
  • personal care items (diapers and condoms);
  • office and school supplies (rubber bands, erasers, paint).

Not all brands or all items contain latex. Check labels carefully or contact the manufacturer for further questions.

People with higher risk for developing latex allergy are:

  • Health care workers and others who frequently wear latex gloves
  • People who have had multiple surgeries, such as children with spina bifida
  • People who are often exposed to natural rubber latex, including rubber industry workers

Latex allergy can exposure to:

  • inhalation of powder particles. Cornstarch is sometimes used on the inside of gloves to make them easier to put on and remove. The cornstarch absorbs latex proteins, but when the gloves are snapped during application or removal, the latex-laden particles fly into the air.
  • absorption through the skin can occur when latex gloves are worn. (by trauma, irritation, or contact dermatitis),
  • absorption through mucous membranes (from condoms, or internal examinations with latex gloves, through eyes, mouth, rectum)
  • direct entry into the body (e.g. during surgical procedure when healthcare professionals wearing latex gloves.

Manufacturers produce two types of products from natural latex sources:

  • Hardened rubber. This type of latex is found in products such as athletic shoes, tires and rubber balls. Hardened rubber doesn’t cause allergies in most people.
  • Dipped latex. There are the stretchy products, such as rubber gloves, balloons and condoms. Most allergic reactions to latex occur with products made of dipped latex because they’re often used directly on the skin.

Other rubber: Rarely, some people who are sensitive to latex also may react to other rubber products, including erasers, rubber toy parts, rubber bands, rubber in medical devices and rubber in the elastic in clothing.

Not all latex products are made from natural sources. Products containing man-made (synthetic) latex, such as latex paint, are unlikely to cause a reaction because they don’t contain the natural substance. Some waterproof sealants may contain natural rubber latex. Be sure to read the label before using them.

What is a cross reaction?

People who have a latex allergy may be allergic to some foods, as well (such as avocados banana, kiwi, chestnut), This is called a cross reaction. When this happens, your body responds with the same allergic symptoms that you would have if you were exposed to latex. Cross reactions differ from one person to another.

How can latex allergy be prevented?

Where possible, latex gloves should be replaced with non-latex gloves, although latex gloves remain the best barrier against infectious organisms.

Latex gloves should be powder free and contain a low protein content.
If you have latex allergy you should avoid direct contact with all products and devices that contain latex. Also avoid food that causes an allergic reaction. Latex allergy problems during dental, medical or surgical procedures can be prevented by warning health care providers about latex allergy before any test or treatment. Latex allergic people can receive medical or dental care in a latex-safe area. Hospitals and clinics that use only low protein latex gloves and non-latex gloves have experienced dramatic declines in new cases of latex allergy.

Sources:

www.AAAAI.org

www.cdc.gov

www.wikipedia.com