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.

Advertisements

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.

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

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. 

 

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

Molds – Are They Good or Bad?

Penicilliummandarijntjes

Molds are definitely bad for those who suffer from mold allergies. The presence of molds are often invisible and undetectable. After pollens, molds are the leading cause of airborne allergies, which can recur year-round.

Molds can be found almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors. They are always present in the air and on objects. They grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by producing spores. These spores than move via air currents or they may cling to insects, animals or water.

When cold and dry conditions do not enable growth to take place, molds may remain alive in a dormant state for a long time.

Molds grow from dead or living objects. It is unknown how many species of fungi exist, but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps 300,000 or more.

Conidiophores of molds of the genus Aspergillu...Molds are made of microscopic threads or filaments. These threads are called hyphe. A vast collection of hyphe is called a mycelium. Visual inspections (when the colonies large enough for the naked eye) and smell are two important senses to detecting the presence of mold.

Outdoor molds can be found in humid environments, in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Mold can live on soil, plants, rotting wood, or dead leaves and various moist surfaces. Mold cannot grow under the sun’s ultraviolet light.  Outdoor molds usually bothering allergy sufferers from spring to late fall, and mold counts tend to pick in the afternoon (not in the morning like pollens).

Indoors molds can be present where humidity levels are high, such as basements, kitchen, bathrooms, refrigerators, in areas with poor ventilation, moist carpets, and house plants. Most molds need 24-48 hours of moisture to begin to grow. Therefore if a suitable material in your home is wet for more than 24 hours then you run the risk of mold starting to grow.

English: Blue Stilton PDO Cheese, one quarter ...Some molds are beneficial for us. Molds play an important role in certain fermentation process in food production. We eat molds in our cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, wine and beer, mushrooms, vinegar, pickles, dried fruits, foods containing yeast (like bread), pickled and smoked meats and fish, canned juice. Some cheese and sausages (such as salami), use starter cultures in their production, to improve flavor and reduce spoilage during curing.

Red rice yeast is a product of the mold grown on rice, and is common in Asian diets. The yeast contains monacolins, which are known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis. We also use mold as antibiotics to cure diseases. Penicillin for example, is derived from the mold Penicillium.

The three mechanism for disease caused by molds are infection, allergy, and toxicity.

The antibiotic penicillin  (from Penicillium)), and several cholesterol-lowering drugs (such as Lovastatin, from Aspergillus terreus) are derived from molds.

Some molds produce mycotoxins. Extended or high exposure of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems, even death. On the other hand low doses of mycotoxins can be beneficial for humans, e.g. Penicillin to fight off infection.

Allergy symptoms caused by mold are watery, itchy eyes, a chronic cough, sinus problems, nasal blockage, frequent sneezing, rashes, conjunctivitis, inability to concentrate, difficulty breathing, fatigue. Symptoms usually disappear when the mold is removed.

Factors contribute to increasing mold counts:

  • Poor housekeeping practice (leaving      dirty dishes, food, cloth and wet towels lying around the house, keeping      trash in the house, and infrequent house cleaning.)
  • Using ceiling fans instead of air      conditions because humidity is not removed from the air. Inefficient      filters used in the heating/cooling system allow dirt to accumulate which      provide “food” for mold.

Preventing moisture from accumulating is the most important principle in mold control for allergy sufferers. The best way to get rid of mold indoors is by keeping room temperatures within 65° – 70°F and the relative humidity level within 45%-65%.

Charcoal and /or baking soda is a good practice to remove the odor of the  mold. Just place bowls of baking soda in the area to absorb odor.

To clean up mold in the house, best chemicals are; Bleach, borax, vinegar, ammonia.

Stinging Nettle – This Undervalued Herb May Relief Allergy Symptoms

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). Picture by Gi...

Singing nettle has been used for hundreds of years to strengthening the body and treating diseases. It has been found beneficial for the relief of allergies such as asthma, hay fever, hives and other allergic dermatitis. Stinging nettle may ease symptoms like sneezing, nasal congestion, and itching by reducing inflammation.

Stinging nettle is also widely used today to treat urinary problems (urinary tract infections), early stage of enlarged prostate (BPH), hay fever (allergic rhinitis), painful muscle and joint conditions, and insect bites.

The benefits of the herb are due to a combination of several of the different components that may have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory analgesic, numbing, antiviral, and antibacterial effects.

Stinging nettle has many stinging hairs on its leaves and stems which injecting histamin and other irritating chemicals into the skin when it is touched.

The mixture of the chemical compounds that cause the painful sting are:

Acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter in the nervous system)

Histamine, which occurs naturally in the body, is the culprits behind allergic reactions. When you are exposed to allergens your body releases histamine, which in turn causes hives, constricts bronchial vessels, and inflames the skin. The histamine in nettle attaches to histamine receptor sites in your cells and keep your body’s histamines from attaching to those cells during an allergic reaction. Nettle’s action is very similar to that of pharmaceutical antihistamine drugs, says Stanley W. Beyrle, N.D., a naturopathic doctor at the Kansas Clinic of Traditional Medicine in Wichita.

Serotonin (5-HT) is a neurotransmitter- thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. Also involved in the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep and also have some cognitive function including memory and learning and act as antidepressants.

Moroidin is responsible for the long duration of the stings.

Leukotrienes are involved in asthmatic and allergic reactions and act to sustain inflammatory reactions. Leukotrienes also have a powerful effect in bronchoconstriction and increase vascular permeability, mediating inflammation; they induce asthma and other inflammatory disorders, thereby reducing the airflow to the alveoli.

Formic acid: found in the stings and bites of many insects (mainly ants). Major use of formic acid is as a preservative and antibacterial agent in livestock feed.

Do not take stinging nettle if you are taking medicine that prevents blood clots. Nettle leaves contain vitamin K. Nettle leaves also contain high level of iron, more than spinach, and are used in blood building. Nettle is rich in other minerals, such as chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and the flavonoid quercitin ( a powerful antioxidant).

Nettles strengthen the entire metabolism. Nettles cleanse and detoxify the kidneys, while stimulating the liver. It also can be beneficial in lessening symptoms of PMS and menopause. Externally nettle is added to shampoos and skin creams.

Both the nettle tincture and the dried herb are used as a tea. The tea works best when one starts to drink two-plus cups daily about two months before allergy season begins. 1 teaspoon (5gms) to 1 cup of boiling water 3x a day is recommended. The tincture dose is two droppers-full three times a day for most adults during allergy season.

It is worth a try to eat fresh nettle leaves. They are great in salad. Pick them up using gloves and rub the leaves to each other before cut them. This method eliminates the leaves stinging effect. 

 

Sources:

Stinging nettle – wickipedia

Health Journal

Vaccine Against Allergies Become A Reality

 

Molecular surface of Immunoglobulin (IgG) Mole...

Molecular surface of Immunoglobulin (IgG)

 

The prevalence of allergic diseases is global and growing. Allergic diseases are becoming epidemic. Food allergy sufferers double in the last ten years. The latest study – using current trends of data- estimates that half of all Europeans will suffer from allergy by 2015. Allergy has no cure recently. The treatment is whether suppress the symptoms or lessen the inflammation using drugs, antihistamines, and steroids. This huge anti-allergy drug market anticipates to exceed $14.7 billion by 2015 in the U.S. Allergy vaccine sales were exceed $642 million worldwide in 2010.

When your body is exposed to an allergen it triggers an antigen-specific antibody, Immunoglobulin E (IgE) formation in the blood. This molecule undergo on a cellular process known as degranulation which encourage white blood cells (WBC) to release histamine, which causes all the allergic symptoms like hay fever, watery eyes, runny nose. Just suppressing these allergic symptoms doesn’t put an end to the problem.

Scientists in Finland, used a modern molecular biotechnology, discovered unique IgE-binding structures in allergens which can be genetically modified so they do not able to bind IgE anymore but they still stimulate the formation of Immunoglobulin G (IgG).  IgG is a friendly cuisine of IgE. IgG protects you from allergic symptoms by stopping the formation of IgE allergen complexes. That could block the degranulation and histamin release from white blood cells and thus block that irritating symptoms.

In that way the body develops a natural immunity against each allergy they have been vaccinated for.

Scientists at the University of Eastern Finland led by Professor Juhu Rouvinen, in cooperation with Professors Kristiina Takkinen and Hans Söderlun from VTT, a technical research center in Finland, discovered a vaccine that saved millions. The team established a new bio-tech company called Desentum to have the vaccine on the market within five to seven years.

The vaccine has a strong demand on the market. 65 million people in the U.S. and 87 million in Europe have some kind of allergy. Millions of people waiting for hope to escape from their misery.

Source:
           www.forbes.com

Pollen In The Air

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts...

Pollen is the number one outdoor allergen that is involved in the sexual reproduction of the plants. Pollen grain is the male gemate of male gTalinum - ovules stigmas and pollen tubesenetic material in flower plants. Pollen is produced in the anthers, a structure within the flower. When the pollen is ready to release, the anther ruptures and exposes the pollen which is then transported to the female organ of the flower.  In order for seeds to be produced, the pollen must be transferred from the male part of the flower to the female part of the flower.

Pollen is a fine to coarse grains which produce the male gametes (sperm cells). Pollen comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and surface markings characteristic of the species. They have a hard coat that protects the sperm cells during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants. When pollen lands on a compatible pistil or female cone (i.e., when pollination has occurred), it germinates and produces a pollen tube that transfers the sperm to the ovule (or female gametophyte).

During spring and fall time the air contains many types of pollen. The smallest pollen grain, the forget-me-not is around 6 µm (0.006 mm) in diameter. Wind-borne pollen grains can be as large as about 90–100 µm.

The transfer of pollen grains to the female reproductive structure is called pollination. The transfer can be mediated by the wind or insects. 

Wind-pollinated plants typically produce enormous quantities of very lightweight pollen grains and the pollen is dispersed by air currents. The types of pollen that most commonly cause allergic reactions are produced by the drab, inconspicuous, plain-looking plants (trees, grasses, and weeds) that do not have showy flowers.

Common tree pollens are olive, birch, elm, oak, and walnut. Grasses generate many pollens. Examples include: blue, rye, bermuda grasses and red top. Allergy caused by grass pollen is second only to ragweed. Weeds are mostly wind-pollinating. Examples of these are ragweed, sagebrush, pigweed, and tumbleweed. Ragweed is the most important cause of seasonal allergic hay fever. There are many more trees, grasses, and weeds that generate allergy-causing pollens. Airborn pollen can be blown for long distances. Pollen has been found floating in the air 400 miles out at see and 2 miles up in the sky. Pollen even can cross continents.

Insect-pollinated plants  produce pollen that is relatively heavy, sticky and protein-rich. These type of plants tend to have bright petals for flowPeacock with pollen on his headers and are scented and exude nectar to attract insects. The main insect pollinators are bees and butterflies. The pollen will cling to the visitor as it makes the rounds of flowers to eat nectar. That’s why plants with colorful flowers generally don’t cause allergic reactions since the pollen is not usually present in the air. Many insects and some mites are specialized to feed on pollen.

For many trees the small inconspicuous flowers are produced just before the leaves develop from the buds and go unnoticed by most people. Weather has significant effects on pollen release. Warm, dry, sunny, and windy conditions favor pollen release. Cold temperature, high humidity and rain will suppress the release of pollen because the rain clean the air of pollen grains.

Tree pollen levels typically peak from late March through most of April and it last about 2-4 weeks. Another pick time is in September when ragweed pollen level begins to increase early in the month and usually peak around September 10. The levels drop slowly and are often still high in October.

A variety of producers have started selling bee pollen for human consumption, often marketed as a food (rather than a dietary supplement). The Honeybee comb: brood, pollen, honey and larva ...largest constituent is carbohydrates, with protein content ranging from 7 to 35 percent depending on the plant species collected by bees. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not found any harmful effects of pollen consumption, except from the usual allergies, but there can be possible dangers not only from allergic reactions but also from contaminants such as pesticides and from fungi and bacteria growth related to poor storage procedures.

Related videos:

Every pollen has a story:  http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_drori_every_pollen_grain_has_a_story.html

Discovery news: Massive Tree Pollen Explosion Explained: http://youtu.be/favTwuRaAgI

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Proposed New Air-Pollution Standards.

The UThe EPA was directed to set standards for radi....S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new standards for fine particulate matter (PM) pollution  to reduce soot in the air we breathe.

The White House recently modified the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to limit soot emissions, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, inviting public comment on a slightly weaker standard than the agency had originally sought.

The EPA had originally wanted to tighten the annual exposure to fine-particle soot from 15 micrograms (µg) per cubic meter of air (this is the current legal limit) to 11 micrograms per cubic meter, but the Office of Management and Budget directed the EPA to make the limit between 12 and 13 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Howard Feldman who directs regulatory and scientific affairs for the American Petroleum Institute told the Los Angeles Times that a more stringent standard would be expensive and be of little benefit.

The 12-13 µg is a less strict standard than many environmentalists wanted. A 2011 report by the American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force, and Earthjustice suggested that A 2011 report by the American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force, and Earthjustice suggested that a limit of 11 µg per cubic meter of air could prevent more than 35,000 premature deaths a year.

The World Health Organization estimates that 3% of all mortalities from cardiopulmonary disease worldwide are due to exposure to fine particles, as are 5% of lung cancer deaths.

Particle pollution, commonly referred to as “soot,” is one of the deadliest forms of air pollution. It is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Fine particles linked to a wide range of human health problems. Once inhaled they pass through the throat and nose , enter the lungs, the bloodstream and other organs, causes serious health effects. They worsen allergy, asthma, and other respiratory diseases.

Fine particles, 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller, can be directly emitted from sources such as forest fires, or from gases emitted from power plants, oil refineries, other heavy industries and automobiles which react in the air.

Cleaning fine PM from the air can help to reduce emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and lost productivity caused by asthma exacerbations.

A new study by a group of researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that curbing ozone could provide greater benefits than previously thought. The team looked at 20 states and the District of Columbia where power plants and boilers are required to limit nitrogen oxide pollution between May 1 and Sept. 30 each year. As a result, these states and the District cut prescription drug expenditures by 1.9 percent, or $900 million a year, and had 2,200 fewer annual premature deaths among individuals aged 75 or older, within the studied period from 2003 to 2008.

Particulate matter

standards are important to protecting the public’s health and current standards are inadequate.

AAFA urge everyone — especially those whose health is more likely to be compromised by pollution — to let EPA know that it should act to protect their health by issuing stronger standards to control particulate matter pollution.

AAFA post details online on how to comment at: www.aafa.org/advocacy.

Source:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/white-house-weakened-epa-soot-proposal-documents-show/2012/07/17/gJQANH3yrW_story.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZufPT4IKM0&feature=colike

www.aafa.org/advocacy.

Sun exposure may decrease the risk of Food Allergies, Asthma and Eczema

Sunlight Feed

Sunlight

People living in areas with lower levels of sunlight are more likely to develop food allergies, asthma and aczema than those in areas with plenty of sunshine, according to a new scientific study.

The research was led by Dr. Nick Osborne from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health. He used data from analysis of Australian children and how rates of food allergies, eczema and asthma varied throughout the country. He believes these findings provide us with an important insight into the prevalence of food allergies and eczema, which appear to be on the increase.

Australia is an excellent place for this type of study as it spans nearly 3000 miles from north to south, with a large variation in climate, day length and sun strength. On average children in the south of the country were twice as likely to develop eczema as those in the north. There was also a link between latitude and allergies to peanuts and eggs. The report suggests that exposure to the sun may play a role in rising levels of food allergy and eczema.

Researchers pointed to exposure to sunlight as the cause for the findings. Generally speaking the further south or north from the equator you live the higher the incidence of developing food allergy or eczema.  People who live in sunnier climates – closer to the equator – get more sunshine on a daily basis.

Always, care has to be taken we are not exposed to too much sunlight, increasing the risk of skin cancer- warned Dr.Osborn.

Sunlight is the body’s greatest source for vitamin D. Researchers say that deficiency of vitamin D could be involved in the increase in asthma and allergies. Vitamin D could lower the risk of asthma in children by up to 40 per cent, according to a new report.

The theory is that people due to modern lifestyle spend more time indoors with less sunlight exposure  – travelling in cars rather than walking, for example – as well as the widespread use of sunscreen. These habits have led to the decreased production of vitamin D in the skin of many people.

In fact, by some estimates, around half of the world’s population is vitamin D deficient. For the body to make vitamin D, the skin needs to be exposed to light. At most latitudes, you can get enough vitamin D simply by spending 15 or so minutes in the sunshine everyday without wearing sunscreen; at extreme latitudes, the atmosphere filters more of the UV out and you need longer exposure. Vitamin D supplements are also available.

Sources:

Journal of Allergy and clinical Immunology

Science Daily

http://www.pcmd.ac.uk/news.php?id=310

Meat Allergy linked with Tick Bites

English: The tick Amblyomma americanum (Lone S...

These fall are bringing out more ticks than it was usual before in the Mid South and East Coast area.

A new study suggest a connection between the rise in creepy crawlies, and the increase in a certain allergy to beef and pork.

“Every patient I’ve had with this allergy has had a tick bite. It seems to be related to what is called the Lone star tick”. –said Dr. Tina Merrit of the Allergy Clinic of Northwest Arkansas. They are very common in Arkansas and Missouri, but cases of the freaky allergy are popping up along the East Coast too where areas also abound in Lone star ticks. 90 percent of the meat allergy patients had a history of tick bites.

“We’re in the process of collecting the very tiny amounts of liquid out of a tick mouth and learning how to analyze that. I believe there’s evidence that ticks are causing the allergies. If it’s a tick disease, it might involve fighting ticks. We’re searching for proof,” said  Doctor Jack Lay from the University of Arkansas.

Delayed allergic reaction showed up roughly three to six hours after eating red meat. Symptoms can range from hives to anaphylactic shock. Experts say the six-hour lag between exposure to meat and the allergic reaction complicates things even more. It’s very atypical because most food allergies occur very quickly.

The Lone star tick is a very small tick that can have a white dot on the back and it’s very common in the Mid South area, but is found throughout the eastern, southeastern and south-central states.

All three life stages (larva, nymph, adult) of the lone star tick will feed on humans, and may be quite aggressive. Lone star ticks will also feed readily on other animals, including dogs and cats, and may be brought into the home on pets. The saliva from lone star ticks can be irritating; redness and discomfort at a bite site does not necessarily indicate an infection.

The infection may be hard to diagnose because there’s no rash and the tick and its bite are very tiny. Lab inspection of a blood sample under a microscope is currently the only way to confirm infection.

Tick-borne illness may be prevented :

–         by avoiding tick habitat  Avoid tick habitat like wooded and bushy areas with high grass and  leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails.

–         by using insect repellents containing DEET or permethrin, Use insect repellents that contain 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up  to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and remains protective for up to 70 washings.

–         by wearing long pants and socks,

–         by performing tick checks and promptly removing ticks after outdoor activity. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.

–         Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.

–         Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.

Be extra vigilant in warmer months (April-September) when ticks are most active.

Sources:

http://nwahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=367332
http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/health/medical-lone-star-tick-makes-people-allergic-to-red-meat#ixzz271ZWCVYi