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April 27, 2009, 5:08 AM CT

Simple household bleach to treat kids' eczema

Simple household bleach to treat kids' eczema
It's best known for whitening a load of laundry. But now simple household bleach has a surprising new role: an effective therapy for kids' chronic eczema.

Chronic, severe eczema can mar a childhood. The skin disorder starts with red, itchy, inflamed skin that often becomes crusty and raw from scratching. The eczema disturbs kids' sleep, alters their appearance and affects their concentration in school. The itching is so bad kids may break the skin from scratching and get chronic skin infections that are difficult to treat, particularly from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Scientists from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have discovered powerful relief in the form of diluted beach baths. It's a cheap, simple and safe therapy that drastically improves the rash as well as reduces flare-ups of eczema, which affects 17 percent of school-age children.

The study found giving pediatric patients with moderate or severe eczema (atopic dermatitis) diluted bleach baths decreased signs of infection and improved the severity and extent of the eczema on their bodies. That translates into less scratching, fewer infections and a higher quality of life for these children.

The typical therapy of oral and topical antibiotics increases the risk of bacterial resistance, something doctors try to avoid, particularly in children. Bleach kills the bacteria but doesn't have the same risk of creating bacterial resistance.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


April 23, 2009, 5:05 AM CT

Vitamin D levels and asthma severity

Vitamin D levels and asthma severity
New research provides evidence for a link between vitamin D insufficiency and asthma severity.

Serum levels of vitamin D in more than 600 Costa Rican children were inversely associated with several indicators of allergy and asthma severity, including hospitalizations for asthma, use of inhaled steroids and total IgE levels, as per a research studythat will appear in the first issue for May of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

While prior in vitro studies have suggested that vitamin D may affect how airway cells respond to therapy with inhaled steroids, this is the first in vivo study of vitamin D and disease severity in children with asthma.

Juan Celedn, M.D., Dr. P.H. and Augusto Litonjua, M.D., M.P.H. of Harvard Medical School and his colleagues recruited 616 children with asthma living in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, a country known to have a high prevalence of asthma. Each child was assessed for allergic markers, including both allergen-specific and general sensitivity tests, and assessed for lung function and circulating vitamin D levels. Children whose forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) exceeded 65 percent of the predicted value were also tested for airway reactivity.

They observed that children with lower vitamin D levels were significantly more likely to have been hospitalized for asthma in the prior year, tended to have airways with increased hyperreactivity and were likely to have used more inhaled corticosteroids, all signifying higher asthma severity. These children were also significantly more likely to have several markers of allergy, including dust-mite sensitivity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 29, 2009, 10:34 PM CT

Role of enzyme and vitamin in asthma

Role of enzyme and vitamin in asthma
The allergen breathed in by a person with asthma triggers a proteinase or enzyme called MMP7 that activates a cascade of events to prompt an allergic reaction, said a consortium of scientists led by Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) in Houston in a report that appears online today in the journal Nature Immunology

In particular, MMP7 activates interleukin 25, a key mediator of the allergic response in the lung said Drs. Farrah Kheradmand (http://www.bcm.edu/medicine/pulmonary/?pmid=4832) and David B. Corry (http://www.bcm.edu/medicine/pulmonary/?pmid=4828), associate professors of medicine-pulmonary at BCM, and senior authors of the report.

In the same report, the scientists report that they have identified a form of vitamin A made in the lung that is critical for dampening the inflammatory effect. Mice that lack MMP7 were found to have higher production of retinal dehydrogenase, an enzyme that is responsible for synthesizing vitamin A in the lung. MMP7 deficient mice showed less lung inflammation when they are exposed to allergens than did mice who had enough MMP7. Suppressing the production of vitamin A restored the asthmatic symptoms in the MMP7 deficient mice.

"It is important to know which mediators in the airway appears to be setting off the initial cascade of events that result in the asthmatic reaction in the lung; it would be like getting to the top of the food chain," they said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 5, 2009, 6:15 AM CT

Antibody treatment for sever asthma

Antibody treatment for sever asthma
McMaster University scientists have found patients with a very severe asthma benefit from injections of the antibody, mepolizumab.

The study by Dr. Param Nair and his colleagues based at The Firestone Institute for Respiratory Disease, St. Joseph's Healthcare, found patients who require a lot of medication, including prednisone, to control their disease benefit from the injections.

The research reported in the New England Journal (NEJM) (NEJM), investigated asthmatics with a persisting type of airway inflammation with inflammatory cells called eosinophils. It is estimated there are 60,000 to 120,000 Canadians with this condition.

"Mepolizumab works by blocking the production of eosinophils," said the study's senior author Dr. Paul O'Byrne. "By preventing their production, we were able to improve asthma, reduce the need for prednisone and really show that eosinophils are important in causing asthma symptoms in these patients." O'Byrne is the E. J. Moran Campbell Professor in Respiratory Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at McMaster University, and executive director of the Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.

Of three million asthmatics in Canada, about five to eight per cent are severe asthmatics. About half of these have severe asthma with persistent eosinophilia. Eventhough these asthmatics are fewer in number, they represent huge costs to the health care system because frequent flare-ups which can require admission to hospital.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 5, 2009, 6:08 AM CT

How much screen time is enough for children with asthma?

How much screen time is enough for children with asthma?
Urban children with asthma engage in an average of an hour more of screen time daily than the maximum amount American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends. This is the first study to examine screen time among children with asthma.

"We know that both asthma and excessive screen time can be linked to other difficulties, including behavior problems, difficulty with attention, poor school performance and obesity," said Kelly M. Conn, M.P.H., of General Pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong and main author of the study, which was published recently in Academic Pediatrics. (Academic Pediatrics changed its name from Ambulatory Pediatrics this year.) The study was conducted out of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

As a part of a larger study on how to more effectively treat asthma, Conn and her colleagues surveyed parents of urban children with asthma in Rochester, NY, to better understand their screen time viewing habits. Screen time includes TV watching and video tapes, playing video and computer games and using the Internet. The study observed that 74 percent of the 226 children whose parents were surveyed exceeded more than two hours of screen time per day. On average, these children with asthma watched 3.4 hours daily.

"Even though these findings are preliminary, a message for parents would be to remain aware of the amount of time your child is spending in front of screens and try to encourage your child to participate in a range of activities," Conn said. The types of programs children watch are also important; young children should watch shows meant for their age group, rather than watching PG-13 or R-rated movies, or playing Teen-rated games.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 4, 2009, 6:28 AM CT

Even natural perfumes may cause allergies

Even natural perfumes may cause allergies
This is Ph.D. candidate Lina Hagvall from the University of Gothenburg.

Hypersensitivity to perfumes is the most common contact allergy in adults. Research at the University of Gothenburg has demonstrated that even natural aromatic oils, which a number of deem harmless in comparison to synthetic perfumes, may cause allergic reactions.

Roughly one in five adults in northern Europe is believed to suffer from contact allergy to one or more chemicals. The most common is nickel allergy, but a number of people also suffer from contact allergy to perfumes even perfume substances that at first glance appear to be harmless can cause allergic reactions. New eczema-provoking allergens are formed by reaction with acid in the ambient air (known as autoxidation) or with skin enzymes.

Modern society usually regards anything that comes from nature as being healthier and less dangerous. Where it concerns natural aromas, known as essential oils, a number of manufacturers think that natural antioxidants in these oils offer protection against autoxidation thus making them safer and longer lasting than artificial perfumes. Research at the University of Gothenburg shows this is not the case.

Lina Hagvall, a researcher at the University of Gothenburg's Department of Chemistry, has examined natural lavender oil in her thesis. Her results show that essential oils do not prevent the formation of allergenic substances through reactions with acid; something which had not previously been possible to confirm. Hagvall's thesis also examines geraniol, a common constituent of perfumes such as rose oil. The study shows geraniol by itself to be only slightly allergenic. However through autoxidation and reaction with skin enzymes, the substance is activated and becomes the closely related allergen geranial. This is the first time these activation pathways have been demonstrated for the substance.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 30, 2009, 6:09 AM CT

New class of allergy drugs

New class of allergy drugs
If you've ever wondered why some allergic reactions progress quickly and may even become fatal, a new research report reported in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org) provides an important part of the answer. In the report, researchers from Queen's University of Belfast, University of Oxford and Trinity College Dublin show for the first time that eotaxin, a chemical that helps immune cells locate the site of infection, blocks basic "fighter" cells from transforming into "seeker" dendritic cells, resulting in a heightened allergic response.

"Our study reveals a new role for the chemokine eotaxin in controlling immune cell types at the site of allergic reaction," said Nigel Stevenson, a researcher involved in the study. "These findings are crucial for our understanding of allergic responses and appears to be instrumental for the design of new allergy drugs".

Stevenson and his colleagues made this discovery by using immune cells grown in the lab and from healthy volunteers. Then the scientists mimicked what occurs during an allergic reaction by treating the cells with eotaxin, which was previously believed to only attract immune cells during an allergic reaction. Through a series of laboratory procedures, they tracked changes in immune cell type and observed that eotaxin inhibits monocytes becoming dendritic cells (that find foreign invaders so other immune cells can neutralize them), resulting in more "fighter" cells being present during an allergic response. This discovery shows how and why eotaxin plays an important role in the severity of allergic reactions and appears to be a target for an entirely new class of allergy medications.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 27, 2009, 6:18 AM CT

Fast-food diet cancels out benefits of breastfeeding

Fast-food diet cancels out benefits of breastfeeding
A number of studies have shown that breastfeeding appears to reduce the chance of children developing asthma. But a newly published study led by a University of Alberta professor has observed that eating fast food more than once or twice a week negated the beneficial effects that breastfeeding has in protecting children from the respiratory disease.

The article appears online in the international journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy based in London, England. Many different findings led the scientists to their conclusion showing links between fast food and asthma, breastfeeding and asthma, and all three together.

"Like other studies, we observed that fast-food consumption was linked to asthma," said the senior author, Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj (pronounced koh-ZUHR-skee), an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the U of A's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

The research confirmed the findings of a number of other studies about the benefits of breastfeeding in relation to asthma. Kozyrskyj et al. observed that breastfeeding for too short a time was associated with a higher risk of asthma, or on the other hand that children exclusively breastfed 12 weeks or longer as infants had a lower risk.

"But this beneficial effect was only seen in children who did not consume fast food, or only occasionally had fast food," she added.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 26, 2009, 11:35 PM CT

Controversy of using stimulants to treat asthma

Controversy of using stimulants to treat asthma
HOUSTON Just when the Food and Drug Administration is reconsidering the use of stimulants to treat asthma, a new research study offers further evidence to support a University of Houston professor's theory that an opposite approach to asthma treatment may be in order.

Richard A. Bond, professor of pharmacology at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy (UHCOP), has been investigating whether beta-2 adrenoreceptor antagonist drugs (or beta blockers) ultimately might be a safer, more effective strategy for long-term asthma management than the currently used beta-2 adrenoreceptor agonists (or stimulants).

The beta-2 adrenoreceptor is a receptor found in many cells, including the smooth muscle lining the airways, and has long been a target for asthma drugs. However, a recent study shows the absence of asthma-like symptoms in a mouse model that lacks the key gene that produces the receptor. This lends further evidence to Bond's theory that questions whether the pharmaceutical industry should be working to block or inhibit the receptor instead of the current approach of chronically stimulating it to reduce asthma symptoms.

The study, "Beta2-Adrenoreceptor Signaling is Required for the Development of an Asthma Phenotype in a Murine Model," is in the current online issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials. A follow-up commentary by an independent scientist in the field also would be published in the print issue of PNAS in February.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 30, 2008, 7:13 AM CT

Anti-fungal drug against asthma

Anti-fungal drug against asthma
Some patients with severe asthma who also have allergic sensitivity to certain fungi enjoy great improvements in their quality of life and on other measures after taking an antifungal drug, as per new research from The University of Manchester in England.

The findings were published in the first issue for January of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

"We knew that a number of people with severe asthma are sensitized to several airborne fungi which can worsen asthma without overt clinical signs. The question was: does antifungal treatment provide any clinical benefit," said David Denning, F.R.C.P., F.R.C.Path., professor of medicine and medical mycology at The University of Manchester and lead investigator of the study.

In 2006, the most recent year for which official statistics are available, there were more than 16 million adults with self-reported asthma in the U.S.; about 20 percent of them have severe asthma.

A small number of severe asthmaticsabout one percent are known to have a syndrome called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, an extreme allergy to Aspergillus fumigatus fungus that is linked to the long-term colonization of their respiratory tracts with the fungus. But a number of more 20 to 50 percent are sensitized to a variety of fungi without showing overt clinical signs or demonstrable colonization. It is these patients with severe asthma with fungal sensitization, or "SAFS", as the scientists named the syndrome, who are most likely to enjoy marked improvement with the antifungal treatment.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists at Yale have brought to light a mechanism that regulates the way an internal organelle, the Golgi apparatus, duplicates as cells prepare to divide, according to a report in Science Express.Graham Warren, professor of cell biology, and colleagues at Yale study Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite that causes Sleeping Sickness. Like a number of parasites, it is exceptionally streamlined and has only one of each internal organelle, making it ideal for studying processes of more complex organisms that have a number of copies in each cell.

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