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October 29, 2006, 6:45 PM CT

Switch Involved In Allergy

Switch Involved In Allergy
A research team has identified a key enzyme responsible for triggering a chain of events that results in allergic reaction, as per new study findings published online this week in Nature Immunology.

The work by scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University, the Hospital for Special Surgery and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York sets the stage for development of new strategies and target therapies that control allergic disease the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States.

Allergic diseases such as asthma and hay fever are problematic for about 30 percent of the population in the developed world. Scientists have developed various therapys to control allergy, but no cure has been found.

The team has demonstrated, for the first time, the role of a proteolytic enzyme called ADAM10 that releases a major allergy regulatory protein from the surface of cells and thereby promotes a stronger allergic response. The identification of drugs that inhibit ADAM10's ability to release this molecule could revolutionize therapy of asthma and allergic disease.

"Our research, for the first time, may represent a therapy strategy to prevent, rather than simply control IgE-mediated allergy," said Daniel Conrad, Ph.D., a professor in VCU's Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Conrad directed the research conducted at VCU. IgE is an antibody known to trigger Type I allergic disease.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 16, 2006, 9:56 PM CT

Asthma Linked To Soot From Diesel Trucks

Asthma Linked To Soot From Diesel Trucks
Soot particles spewing from the exhaust of diesel trucks constitute a major contributor to the alarmingly high rates of asthma symptoms among school-aged children in the South Bronx, as per the results of a five-year study by scientists at New York University's School of Medicine and Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Over the course of the study, asthma symptoms, especially wheezing, doubled among elementary school children on high traffic days, as large numbers attend schools in close proximity to busy truck routes because of past land-use decisions.

The South Bronx has among the highest incidences of asthma hospital admissions in New York City, and a recent city survey of asthma in the South Bronx's Hunts Point district found an asthma prevalence rate in elementary school of 21 percent to 23 percent. The South Bronx is surrounded by several major highways, including Interstates 95, 87, 278 and 895. At Hunts Point Market alone, some 12,000 trucks roll in and out daily.

The study is a collaboration of NYU School of Medicine, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and four community groups The Point Community Development Corporation, Sports Foundation, Inc., We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc., and Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice Inc. Endorsed by Congressman Jose E. Serrano, the aim of the study was to examine the impact of industrial emissions on air quality and to direct policy initiatives. Serrano sponsored the press conference today where the findings were discussed.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 15, 2006, 7:02 PM CT

Friendly Bacteria To Fight Food Allergies

Friendly Bacteria To Fight Food Allergies
Feeding babies alcoholic milk may help to protect against some food allergies. Kefir, a traditional fermented drink, is consumed in Eastern Europe as a health food, and is often used to wean babies, as it is easily digested. Food allergy prevalence is particularly high in children under the age of three, with around 5-8% of infants at risk. Currently the only therapy is avoidance of the problematic food.

"Friendly" bacteria in kefir may play a role in blocking the pathway involved in allergic responses, Lisa Richards reports in Chemistry & Industry, SCI's fortnightly magazine. Research published recently [Monday 16 October 2006(DOI 10.1002/jsfa2469)] in the SCI's Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture has shown that the milk drink inhibits the allergen specific antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE is involved in immune responses to inactivate organisms that might cause disease. However, in the presence of allergens it can also activate cells responsible for the release of histamine, a chemical which stimulates allergic responses, such as inflammation and constriction of airways.

Ji-Ruei Liu's team of researchers at the National Formosa University, Yunlin, Taiwan, fed mice the milky drink, and observed that after 3 weeks, the amount of ovalbumin (OVA) specific IgE was reduced three-fold. Ovalbumin is an allergenic protein found in egg whites, which cause most allergies in young children. Kefir is also reported to prevent food antigens from passing through the intestinal wall.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 11, 2006, 8:20 PM CT

Allergy Runs In The Family

Allergy Runs In The Family Nurse practitioner Sherry Stanforth evaluates a child's allergic reactions to a skin prick test.
Infants whose parents have allergies that produce symptoms like wheezing, asthma, hay fever or hives risk developing allergic sensitization much earlier in life than previously reported, as per a research studyby Cincinnati researchers.

The study suggests that the current practice of avoiding skin testing for airborne allergens before age 4 or 5 should be reconsidered, so children in this high-risk group can be detected early and monitored for the possibility of later allergic respiratory disease.

Produced by researchers in UC's departments of environmental health and internal medicine and at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the study is published in the October 2006 edition of The Journal of Pediatrics.

The Cincinnati scientists collected data on 680 children being reviewed for enrollment in the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and compared their results with findings in a 2004 Swedish study.

Using the skin-prick allergy test, the Swedish group observed that in their general population-which included children whose parents did not suffer from allergies-7 percent had allergic sensitivity at age 1. The Swedes tested five allergens, two of which were food allergens.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 4, 2006, 10:13 PM CT

Experimental Ragweed Therapy

Experimental Ragweed Therapy
Americans accustomed to the seasonal misery of sneezing, runny noses and itchy, watery eyes caused by ragweed pollen might one day benefit from an experimental allergy therapy that not only requires fewer injections than standard immunotherapy, but leads to a marked reduction in symptoms that persists for at least a year after treatment has stopped, as per a new study in the October 5 issue of The New England Journal (NEJM) (NEJM). The research was sponsored by the Immune Tolerance Network, which is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), both components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International.

"As a number of as 40 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies caused by airborne pollens produced by grasses, trees and weeds," says NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "Finding new therapies for allergy sufferers is certainly an important research goal".

"This innovative research holds great promise for helping people with allergies," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "A short course of immunotherapy that reduces allergic symptoms over an extended period of time will significantly improve the quality of life for a number of people".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 1, 2006, 8:38 PM CT

Questions About GMOs And Allergies

Questions About GMOs And Allergies
The potential of genetically engineered foods to cause allergic reactions in humans is a big reason for opposition to such crops. Although protocols are in place to ask questions about the allergy-causing possibilities, there has been no test that offers definitive answers.

But all of that could change as a Michigan State University researcher has developed the first animal model to test whether genetically engineered foods could cause human allergic reactions. Venu Gangur, MSU assistant professor of food science and human nutrition, has received a $447,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to validate the test.

Genetically engineered crops are created by inserting a protein from a different organism into the original crop's genome. This is usually done to create a plant that is more resistant to insects or diseases.

The Food and Agriculture Organization within the World Health Organization has a structured approach to determining whether genetically engineered foods cause allergies, according to Gangur, who also is a faculty member in the National Food Safety and Toxicology Center. "But it has a major flaw. A critical question in that process asks, 'Does the protein cause an allergic reaction in animals?' The problem is that there has been no good animal model available to test this".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 25, 2006, 7:18 PM CT

Latex-Free Balloons

Latex-Free Balloons
Via Allergy blog

Yesterday, my son celebrated his birthday in the kindergarten. We brought a cake, which I made sure was nut-free, becasue aside from my son, there was one other child with nut allergies. We also brought some ballons, which was a hit among the kiddies, but in hindsight, could have caused a problem.

What if there was a child with latex allergies? or among the teachers? I didn't even bother to ask, bad me! Good thing that it turned out nobody had allergies to latex.

If you're hosting a party, or will be using balloons for other purposes where guests or other people are involved, you might want to consider using Mylar, vinyl, or plastic balloons. MisterBalloons also carry a wide range of latex-free balloons you can choose from. Check them out!........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 14, 2006, 7:27 PM CT

Are the Dangers of Food Allergies in Children Exaggerated?

Are the Dangers of Food Allergies in Children Exaggerated?
Since I started writing this blog, I have encountered reports of increasing incidences of food allergies innumerable times. It is alarming and intriguing. Conversely, to some extent, it is comforting knowing that my son who had, and still has, many food allergies, is not an isolated case. There are a number of of us, and I believe in the strength of numbers.

But Dr. Allan Colver, a professor of community child health at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, says that the dangers of childhood food allergies are over-estimated, and that prescribing adrenaline-injecting EpiPens to children with food allergies may only be fuelling anxiety in parents unnecessarily.

Jonathan Hourihane, a professor of pediatrics and child health at University College Cork in Ireland, however, disagrees, and maintains that autoinjectors are justified as part of an integrated care plan.

Read about their debate in the CBC News, or the full article reported in the British Medical Journal. You may also want to read a comment left by Jonathan Shaw, Director of The Allergy Show, who disagrees with Dr. Colver:........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 14, 2006, 7:24 PM CT

Tree Pollens and Allergies

Tree Pollens and Allergies
Eventhough ragweed is the main culprit for most hay fever cases in summer, some trees also contribute considerably to the pollen in the air. Here are some of the top "problem" trees for people with allergic rhinitis or pollen allergies:

Grey Alder: Cross-reactivity may also occur between this and birch or oak.

White Elm: A major source of pollen and is a favorite avenue tree in cities and parks.

Olive: There are 10 allergenic components identified it its pollen, and cross-reactivity between olive and Ash has been observed.

London Plane: An allergenic glycoprotein compound has been isolated from the pollen extract.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 7, 2006, 9:12 PM CT

Army Of Cells To Repair Injury

Army Of Cells To Repair Injury
To speed healing at sites of injury - such as heart muscle after a heart attack or brain tissue after a stroke - doctors would like to be able to hasten the formation of new blood vessels. One promising approach is to "mobilize" patients' blood vessel-forming cells, called angiogenic cells, so these cells can reach the injured area.

Recently, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis demonstrated that a drug called AMD3100 can mobilize angiogenic cells from bone marrow of human patients in a matter of hours instead of days, as was the case with a related agent called G-CSF.

Angiogenic cells reside mainly in the bone marrow, and when mobilized they can circulate in the bloodstream, homing to sites of injury and helping repair and regrow blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to tissues.

"Like AMD3100, G-CSF can bring these beneficial cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, but with G-CSF you don't see an increase in angiogenic cells until the fourth day," says senior author Daniel C. Link, M.D., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Oncology. "In a patient who has had a heart attack, that may be too late. In fact, two clinical trials of G-SCF found the treatment doesn't improve recovery from heart attacks."........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         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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