Apr
14
2013

Allergies Not Only In Spring

Springtime is the time of spring allergies: those affected develop a runny nose, itchy eyes and in more severe cases they may experience a flare-up of asthma. Allergies can be triggered by the increase of pollen counts in the air that occurs every spring. In those who are sensitive, this leads to antibody formation in the blood. But often people have not only sensitivities to the pollens of spring bloomers; they may also be allergic to spores from molds, to dust mites and may have underlying allergies to foods. The immune system has memory cells that memorize that a person has had an allergic encounter to one of these items in the past, and allergic reactions can become more significant with a future encounter. Allergies can also be made worse when a person has food sensitivities and there are cross reactions between pollens of trees or grasses that can share surface protein regions with similar protein regions in foods.

It is known that cross allergies are possible between birch pollen and apple, carrots or hazelnut. In its extreme form allergies due to antibodies, called IgE antibodies, can cause anaphylaxis. A person presensitized by inhaling birch pollen, after eating an apple, hazelnuts or a carrot can develop itching of the throat, swelling of the lips and very quickly deteriorate getting into an anaphylactic shock.

Other cross allergies exist between ragweed pollen, which is a powerful inhalant allergen and melons or bananas. Again there are specific IgE antibodies that are responsible for this immune reaction. In this case the ragweed allergy primes the immune system to produce IgE antibodies, which are potentiated by certain foods that share similar protein components as the ragweed pollen.

In the following I will deal with inhalant allergies separately from food allergies.

Allergies Not Only In Spring

Allergies Not Only In Spring

Inhalant allergies

Inhalant allergies are easier to diagnose and to treat than food allergies. Your doctor will likely refer you to an allergist when you have allergies that do not respond to treatment with intermittent over the counter antihistamines. Your symptoms may come on in the spring with itchy eyes and a runny nose. From year to year you find that you become more and more dependent on antihistamines and nose drops to unplug your nose. The allergist likely will do sensitivity tests, which consist of skin prick or scratch tests on the back or the forearms.

In more serious allergies, where the patient has coughing and wheezing attacks following allergic reactions, the allergist may suggest to start intermittent allergy injections alongside the standard inhalation therapy for asthma. An allergy serum is prescribed where the lab mixes ingredients based on all of the positive tests that led to a strongly positive skin reactions when allergy testing was done. Typically the family doctor or his nurse will start the allergy injections initially in weekly intervals, later when the maintenance dose is reached, it may be modified to injections every 10 to 14 days.

The allergy injections stimulate the immune system to produce harmless competing antibodies, which counteract the disease producing allergic antibodies. In the process of desensitization shots the immune system will normalize, which means that the inflammatory response of the immune system settles down to normal.

This is not the end of the story with inhalant allergies. The patient needs to be retested on a yearly basis by the allergist. The immune system changes all the time as new allergies can develop and old ones may go away.

Retesting is necessary to keep track of what is going on and to change the composition of the allergy serum. Those patients who are working together with the allergist can do very well, and often they gradually outgrow their allergies. Others may not be so lucky. They may have reactions to the allergy injections. In these cases avoidance of what causes the allergy may be the only solution to treat the allergies.

There is an alternative to allergy injections, which has been used in Europe, namely a sublingual immunotherapy. Recently there has been a review of the literature for FDA approval that is needed for oral desensitization for ragweed, dust mites, grass pollen and cat dander. It will take some time before the FDA approval process will become a reality for sublingual desensitization in the US.

A special form of inhalant allergies are allergies to pets (mainly dogs and cats, but also allergies to petting zoo animals). The dander that the human comes in contact with is a protein contained in the animal hair. It causes hives when it touches the skin. This occurs as the dander is absorbed through the skin and meets the local mast cells that release histamine. This in turn is responsible for the hive formation. Sneezing and even asthma can develop from inhaled protein particles that reach the lungs. Allergy injections for the treatment of animal dander allergies are very limited as they often do not help or make the allergies worse. Avoidance of animal contact is usually what the allergist recommends as the solution, a recommendation, which often is not appreciated by the affected animal lover.

Food allergies

Often we eat  some foods more frequently, because they are our favorites. This means that our gut lymphocytes that get in contact with these foods can start to react to one or more of the foods we ingest. At this time we may experience abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and a host of other possible symptoms.

The physician will tell the patient that testing for food allergies is a problem as most of the usual skin tests employed for inhalant allergies do not reliably work in determining food allergies. The doctor will ask the patient or the mother of the child with food allergies to keep a food diary and keep track of the allergic symptoms in the diary as well. An elimination diet will have to be devised based on the information gathered in the diary as it becomes clear from that record which foods cause which symptoms. The foods causing allergic symptoms are subsequently eliminated. This is a cumbersome process, but it is the most reliable method of testing and treating food allergies.

In the past there was a blood tests, called RAST test, which tested for common food allergies that can cause severe allergic reactions like egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, crustacean shellfish and soy. Since about 2010 this has been replaced by the more sensitive ImmunoCAP Specific IgE test.

Children often develop food allergies to egg, milk, wheat, nuts, peanuts and soy, which are food allergies with positive IgE tests. When they age, their immune system develops tolerance to many of these foods and they often outgrow these allergies.

There are other popular lab tests where a blood drop is analyzed with IgG, IgM and IgE antibodies against a panel of foods. A number of suppliers offer these tests.  However, the specificity, sensitivity and reliability can pose problems with regard to the interpretation of the results: allergists often point out that a test may be a false positive when a person likes certain foods and IgG antibodies against this food show up despite the patient having no symptoms. Another specialist may interpret this to indicate that the body shows early sensitization to a certain food, but clinically it is not yet obvious. In other words the sensitivity of the test is so high that it undermines the validity of the test. Recently a panel of international scientists reviewed the validity of these IgG based food intolerance tests and they found the tests not reliable.

The immune responses to food allergies are complicated as there are immediate type immune reactions and delayed type immune reactions. The immediate immune responses are investigated with the above mentioned ImmunoCAP Specific IgE test. The delayed immune responses can be measured using the ELISA test.

Other considerations about allergies

You see from this discussion that a patient with allergies needs a properly trained allergist who will do a comprehensive analysis involving a thorough history, examination, blood tests and immune tests.  The test results have to be interpreted with the experience and the clinical judgment of the specialist.

Since the 1970’s when Clearfield wheat was introduced around the world on a large scale, which has a much higher gliadin (gluten) content than the old wheat varieties. As a result of exposure to this new type of wheat gluten intolerance and leaky gut syndrome have increased substantially in the world population. Genetically modified foods like soy, corn, sugar beets, canola and more have challenged the immune system of sensitive humans even more to an extent, which is not fully understood yet. We do know that some people can develop autoimmune diseases and this may be the reason that a host of diseases that belong into this disease category (MS, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, ankylosing spondylitis etc.) are much more common now than in the past.

After food elimination for 2 to 12 months depending on the severity of the food allergy, your body may have eliminated the allergy to the food you have avoided, in other words your body built up tolerance. Before you expose yourself to any food that you used to be allergic to and that you want to re-test, it is best to have an EpiPen ready in case your allergy has not resolved. Caution is necessary with regard to foods that cause more severe allergies, e.g. shellfish or peanuts, which may last life long. It is safer to avoid these foods that cause more severe allergies altogether.

Allergic reactions of the immune system belong into the category of chronic inflammatory diseases. These are known to be the root of chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. When you are vigilant about allergies and get proper assessment and treatment by an allergist, you will prevent serious health problems including the above mentioned chronic diseases.

More on asthma, which is a chronic inflammatory lung condition, often associated with multiple environmental allergies:

http://nethealthbook.com/lung-disease/asthma-introduction/

Last edited Nov. 6, 2014

Jan
14
2013

Treat The Cause, Not The Disease

Traditionally, in Western medicine the doctor listens to the patient’s complaints, examines the patient, does some tests and then comes to a diagnosis. A specific treatment regarding this diagnosis is then developed and a cure is expected. When there is no treatment success, it is disappointing or frustrating to both the patient and the physician. With anti-aging medicine a different approach is suggested where the cause of the disease is treated rather than the disease. With this approach the doctor can incorporate all of the aspects that play a role with regard to the causes.

Dr. Allan Magaziner gave a lecture regarding this topic at the 20th Annual World Congress On Anti-Aging And Regenerative Medicine in Las Vegas (Dec. 12 to 15, 2012). His talk was entitled “Treat the Causes, Not the Disease…With a Patient-Centered, Integrative Approach”. He explained that there are 12 different categories that need to be taken into account when it comes to delineating causes of an illness in a patient, which he called the “diagnostic dozen”.
1.      Is there oxidative stress?
2.      Is there nutrient imbalance?
3.      Is digestive absorption optimal?
4.      Are there food intolerances?
5.      Is there mitochondrial dysfunction?
6.      Are the hormones and neurotransmitters functioning properly?
7.      Is the patient under excessive stress?
8.      Are there specific electromagnetic field disturbances in the body and would biofeedback be helpful?
9.      Is the body’s toxic burden so high that it requires detoxification treatment?
10.    Has there been environmental exposure to heavy metals?
11.    Are genetic factors making the patient more vulnerable to disease?
12.    Is the immune system weakened and are there signs of inflammation or chronic infection?

Treat The Cause, Not The Disease

Treat The Cause, Not The Disease

Life in the 21st century has become more complex. We are exposed to various degrees of pollution, such as lead and mercury, but also to BPA from plastic bottles. 93% of  Americans, Dr. Magaziner said show measurable levels of BPA in urine. BPA after many years of exposure has been shown to cause breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men!
An example of a 3 year old boy with autism was given, where all of the diagnostic factors were discussed. Conventional medicine treats autism by giving the children special educational programs and speech therapy on the one hand and by treating their gait problems with physiotherapy treatments on the other hand. Needless to say that typically an autistic child does not respond to this approach. When Dr. Magaziner saw this autistic child, blood tests were ordered that showed heavy metal toxicity for which several chelation treatments had to be ordered. The child had a leaky gut syndrome, had chronic yeast infection and gut dysbiosis. All of these problems had to be separately addressed. Within a few weeks the child improved, the balance problems disappeared, attention span, concentration and memory improved and the child started taking an interest in what was happening around him.
Another case was discussed, namely a 13 year old girl that presented with Crohn’s disease. The girl had blood in her stools and had terrible bowel cramps. Conventional medicine including steroid therapy had failed to show improvements. Going through the diagnostic dozen revealed several important positive findings that were unknown before. As a result attention to these factors led to a complete cure. Important findings in this girl were food sensitivities that could be pinpointed with a battery of blood tests involving IG-G, IG-A and IG-E antibodies to various food groups. The foods that the child was found to be allergic to were subsequently avoided; the most important of them was wheat. Using an electro-diagnostic tool, called ONDAMED was also used to normalize abnormal electromagnetic fields in the gastrointestinal region.
Perhaps the most impressive case was a patient with Lyme disease. Traditional medicine has very little to offer to such a patient and often the patient will go on to develop a fibromyalgia like arthritic condition leading to chronic disability. The patient responded to a combination treatment consisting of such various things as Curcumin, vitamin D3, cinnamon, CoQ10, D-Ribose, L-Carnitine, magnesium and zinc to help various enzymatic reactions regarding the anti-inflammatory effect. Intravenous vitamin C was also given to strengthen the Detox system. All of this helped to detoxify the patient and support the adrenal gland function. In addition 10 treatments of ONDAMED were given involving various frequency settings to assist the body in its recovery. The patient had a complete recovery from severe Lyme disease!
Dr. Magaziner was also one of the speakers in a company sponsored evening about the use of ONDAMED in the treatment of Lyme disease. A total of 7 cases of Lyme disease were presented where ONDMED was successfully used to treat this difficult to cure condition! The common denominator in these cases was that various low grade infections lingered on and other environmental factors weakened the immune system further. ONDAMED helped to strengthen the immune system together with detoxification treatments.
There is nothing magic about the new approach of treating patients.  Proactive  medicine treats the cause of the patient’s illness while conventional medicine focuses on treating symptoms or a diagnosed disease. Often there are several causes that can hide behind a diagnosis and exist parallel in a patient. It is only when all of these causes are treated successfully that the patient will recover and regain full health.

Last updated January 17, 2013

Dec
17
2012

Lessons from the 2012 Anti-Aging Conference in Las Vegas…From Wheat to Autoimmune Disease and Obesity.

It is not possible to summarize all the multitude of lectures from a three day conference on one page. However, what was striking was that several topics such as autoimmunity, obesity, diabetes, hormone disbalances and more did develop into a common thread. Dr. William Davis, the author of the book “Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health” explained how the BASF, a major chemical company from Germany was able to chemically modify the genes of wheat in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The farmers liked that the new wheat (called Clearfield wheat) grew with stronger roots, shorter final stems and much larger grains so the yield per acre was higher. This type of wheat was patented under the name of Clearfield wheat and sold all around the world. What was not publicized at the time was that the gliadin content increased manifold from the composition of wheat strains used for thousands of years before. Gliadin gets rid of the glue like substance between the gut cells and causes leaky gut syndrome, something that was mentioned at many other lectures throughout the conference. This leads to exposure of immune cells to foreign proteins from the gut, which causes the immune system to hyper react with autoimmune antibodies.

Dr. Aristo Vojdani explained in his lecture that there are three stages of autoimmune disease. First, there is the silent stage where there are no symptoms, but the immune system is starting to react. Next there is autoimmune reactivity, which is the second stage. The third stage is autoimmune disease where there are signs of loss of body function. Autoimmunity develops in about 1/3 of identical twins in families who are prone to this. When non-identical twins were examined as a control group, only 2% to 5% of twins developed it. This tells us that genetics are responsible for only about 1/3 of the cases of autoimmunity. The other 2/3 come from the environment such as genetically modified foods, toxic chemicals, and chronic infections and also from substances excreted by fat cells. Dr. Vojdani emphasized that gliadin in our foods has become one of the major factors of driving autoimmune diseases up in the last few decades. It is the immune cells, called T cells that will determine whether our own cells are considered “self” or whether they are considered “foreign” and are attacked as they are in autoimmune diseases such as Celiac’s disease, ulcerative colitis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, MS and others.

Las Vegas December 15, 2012v

Las Vegas, December 15, 2012

There are regulatory T cells, which are good and T cells whose genetic material has been changed to become Th17 cells, a kind of “Pac Man” cell that attacks cells inside the body. Altered gut flora (called gut dysbiosis) in connection with a leaky gut syndrome contributes to the formation of these aggressive Th17 cells. It is the combination of gliadin with bowel dysbiosis that drives the development of autoimmune diseases. Behind this is the fact that the gut plays a major role in the normal functioning of the immune system. Normally there is a tight connection between the gut cells that form the lining of the gut so that there is no exposure of immune cells from the blood to the contents of the gut flora. We are fortunate that researchers have developed antibody titer tests for the major food groups and these can be valuable pointers that can be used as a tool during the first two stages of autoimmunity before autoimmune disease causes permanent damage. Using these tests on large population groups researchers have found that common food allergies develop against wheat, dairy products, soy and eggs (as Dr. Pamela Smith remarked and Dr. Thomas Alexander explained in detail).  IG-G, IG-A and IG-E antibody tests can be run from a few blood drops and tested against a whole battery of common foods. This helps the physician to monitor the development and treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Back to the leaky gut and obesity. The obesity wave in North America and the rest of the world started when the newly patented Clearfield wheat was introduced. With the higher gliadin in wheat products the balance in the gut was changed, more gliadin entered the body, it bound to the opiate receptors of the appetite center (although it is structurally differently from opium) and caused a hunger for more of the same product. The excess calories –in this case from wheat products- are stored as fat. Fat cells by themselves have their own hormones and inflammatory substances causing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and even cancer. Add to this that with obesity the enzyme aromatase from fat cells causes elevated estrogen production, which causes estrogen dominance and results in heart disease and breast cancer in females and heart disease and prostate cancer in males.

So, this is the story of the A4M conference 2012 in a nutshell: Wheat products with the increased gliadin (gluten) content have caused increased leaky gut syndrome in the population since the 1970’s. This is the cause of the wheat addiction, which was further fueled by the obsession of the regulatory bodies to recommend strongly eating according to the food pyramid (a splendid marketing pyramid for wheat consumption, as one of the recommended  products are cereals and wheat).With these findings  the cause of the obesity wave can be clearly seen. Along with obesity comes the flood of autoimmune diseases, which have developed from the action of the Pac Man type TH17 immune cells that attack various tissues in the body. The common denominator in the body is a low grade chronic inflammation that Dr. Aristo Vojdani explained in more detail. This causes blood vessel diseases culminating in high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.

There were many other lectures that I attended. Some dealt with bio-identical hormone replacement, some with telomere health, and others with the effect of fitness on an ongoing basis to achieve longevity. Like a red thread lifestyle issues were discussed in almost every lecture. Nutrition is not the only factor in longevity. Exercise on a regular basis can be instrumental in preventing about 50% of disease, especially the main killers like heart attacks, strokes and cancer.

More information on celiac disease: http://nethealthbook.com/digestive-system-and-gastrointestinal-disorders/celiac-disease/

Last updated Nov. 6, 2014

Dec
01
2008

Treating Gastroesophageal Reflux Helps Asthmatic Kids

Asthma in children can be associated with allergies, but as Dr. Aaron K. Kobernick reported recently, other health conditions can also contribute to childhood asthma. He found that approximately two thirds of children with persistent asthma who had no allergic symptoms had another health condition, namely gastroesophageal reflux disease. The condition of acid reflux aggravates asthma. A prospective study examined children with moderate persistent asthma over a 2 year period. Initially the children underwent spirometry testing to assess their lung function. Another test involved monitoring of the acidity (ph values) in the esophagus of those children. The latter test demonstrated that the majority of the asthmatic kids also had GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Treating Gastroesophageal Reflux Helps Asthmatic Kids

Acid reflux aggravates asthma

 

 

 

Those children who were free of acid reflux received asthma medication only, but the patients with acid reflux and asthma received medication to treat the reflux.
In some cases surgical intervention was necessary. It became apparent that the children whose reflux was treated either surgically or with medication had an improvement of asthma symptoms of 22 to 25 %, whereas asthma medication alone contributed only to an improvement of 11%. Dr. Kobernick concluded that the large airways can react to the exposure of stomach acid, which results in an aggravation of asthma symptoms. Treating the acid reflux condition will result in less asthma in young patients with GERD.

More information on:

1. Asthma: http://nethealthbook.com/lung-disease/asthma-introduction/

2. GERD: http://nethealthbook.com/digestive-system-and-gastrointestinal-disorders/acid-reflux-gerd-esophagitis-barretts-esophagus/

Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, November 6 – 11, 2008, Seattle, Washington

Last updated Nov. 6, 2014

Jun
01
2008

Boost Babies’ Health with Mom’s Diet

Prenatal supplements and good advice on proper nutrition during pregnancy have long been included in proper prenatal care. Importance has been placed on folic acid to prevent neural tube defects in the fetal development. Calcium is recommended, often in the form of dairy products, but it does not end there: just swallowing the supplement and adding some more milk may be helpful but not quite enough. Certain dietary habits have been found more beneficial, such as the eating habits in the Mediterranean countries. A research team from the University of Crete in Heraclion, Greece included women who were involved in antenatal care at all general practices in Menorca, Spain. The study took place in the time frame of 12 month starting in 1997. After six and a half years 460 children were also included in the analysis.

Dietary habits were studied and assessed by food questionnaires and the children were assessed for the development of allergies and asthma.

Boost Babies’ Health with Mom’s Diet

Boost Babies’ Health with Mom’s Diet

The children of mothers who consumed the most vegetables, fish and legumes were almost 80% less likely to have persistent wheeze and more than 40 % less likely to have allergies. The results are consistent with the fact that a high level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet during pregnancy is protective not only to the mother but also to the child.

More information about prenatal visits (where nutritional habits are checked as well): http://nethealthbook.com/womens-health-gynecology-and-obstetrics/pregnancy-labor-delivery-2/prenatal-visits/

Reference: The Medical Post, April 22, 2008, page 25

Last edited December 18, 2014

May
01
2008

Tree Pollen Connected With Mood Disorders

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) does have its grip on people who react to a lack of sunlight in the winter month. As a result depression in the winter season is not uncommon. Some people just report it as feeling “down” and “tired” or report a lack of energy. Despite all the reports about SA, epidemiological studies have shown that the rate of depression is not the highest in dreary months like January or February but it spikes in the months of April and June. Dr.Teodor Postolache, a psychiatrist at the University of Maryland made a recent presentation at a meeting of the American Acadamy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunolgy delving into the reason for this finding. He compared the exposure of tree pollen which triggers a cytokine release to a tsunami.Virtually no outdoor allergens are present in the winter months, but with the release of tree pollen people who are vulnerable to allergies are exposed to massive amounts of allergens. The released cytokines may affect brain function and behaviour, resulting ultimately in changed cortisol levels and an altered serotonin metabolism. After breathing the cytokines are already released in the nose and they can continue their action in the prefrontal brain area where the centers for mood, anxiety and impulsivity are located. Dr. Postolache and his colleagues confirmed that individuals with a history of allergy and asthma had a 2.5 fold of suicide compared to controls and those with allergic rhinitis had a 1.7 fold higher risk.

Tree Pollen Connected With Mood Disorders

Tree Pollen Connected With Mood Disorders

For the first time it could also be demonstrated that cytokine levels in suicide victims were significantly elevated in the orbitofrontal cortex, the brain area that affects mood. Intranasal corticosteroids in the form of nosedrops can bring significant relief to allergy sufferers, and Dr. Postolache and his team will examine the benefits of intranasal corticosteroids closer  in a clinical study. Whereas systemic corticosteroids have shown a negative impact on mood disorders and depression, the local application of a nasal spray or drops is geared to abolish the pathways from the nose to the brain for the inflammatory cytokines.

More information on seasonal rhinitis: http://nethealthbook.com/ear-nose-and-throat-diseases-otolaryngology-ent/nose-problems/allergic-rhinitis/

Reference: The Medical Post, April 1, 2008, page 1, 34

Last edited November 3, 2014

Jul
01
2007

Asthma And Bronchitis From Exposure To Chlorinated Water In Infancy

Every new parent has the wish to stimulate infants in healthy development. Children’s programs are plentiful, whether they involve gymnastics and dance or toddlers play. It is no surprise that swimming classes are also offered, and parents are not only looking at the water fun but also at water safety. They want the best for their baby and make use of swim groups that are offered for babies and infants.

It turns out that it may be better to hold off on putting baby into swim classes at the public indoor pool. The water is fine, but the chlorination is the problem. It is common to see a irritation of the eyes due to chlorination, but data reported in the June issue of Pediatrics described findings from a group of 341 school children age 10 to 13, 13% of whom had participates in infant swimming programs point to damaging effects on the respiratory organs. Among others the respiratory condition of these children was assessed. The infant swimming group had signs of so-called Clara cell damage and changed permeability of the lining of the lung. The group that had been enrolled in infant swim groups also had significantly elevated odds of having chest tightness, physician-diagnosed asthma and exercise-induced airway constriction. The problems were aggravated even more, if the children were exposed to parental smoking.

Asthma And Bronchitis From Exposure To Chlorinated Water In Infancy

Chlorinated water exposure during childhood leads to asthma later in life

The researchers conclude that infant swim practice in chlorinated indoor swimming pools is associated with airway changes, which along with other factors can predispose children to the development of asthma and recurrent bronchitis. More research is recommended to examine the effects of chlorination products on the infant respiratory tract.

More information on asthma: http://nethealthbook.com/lung-disease/asthma-introduction/

Reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20075053 : Voisin C, Sardella A, Marcucci F, Bernard A.: ” Infant swimming in chlorinated pools and the risks of bronchiolitis, asthma and allergy.” Eur Respir J. 2010 Jul;36(1):41-7. Epub 2010 Jan 14.

Last edited November 2, 2014

Jul
01
2007

Incense Use Causes Cancer Of The Respiratory System

Incense use has been common in East Asia for a long time, but also in the Western world incense burning is not uncommon. It became very much “in” to burn incense sticks to create a certain “atmosphere” in a room. Incense burning during religious celebrations in some churches is a custom that goes back well over 1000 years. It is easy enough to observe, how a cloud of incense triggers a chorus of coughing and clearing of throats in a church ceremony. It has never been a laughing matter to people who suffer of allergies and asthma, as incense smoke –just like any other smoke- is a source of airway irritation.

But a bit of a cough and airway irritation are the smaller problems that long term incense use has in store. A study involving 61,320 Singapore Chinese showed that long term users had more than twice the relative risk of non-nasopharyngeal cancers of the upper respiratory tract, compared with people who did not use incense. The risk of squamous cell carcinomas of the lung rose 1.7 fold and the risk of squamous cell carcinomas of the entire respiratory tract rose 1.8-fold among long-term incense users, wrote Dr. Fribourg and his colleagues of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis who conducted the study. The participants in the study were 45 to 75 years old and free of cancer when they enrolled in the study from 1993 to 1998. Living conditions, life style and dietary factors were examined and results were adjusted for a host of factors, such as cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, gender differences, and intake of Chinese preserved food.

Incense Use Causes Cancer Of The Respiratory System

Incense Use Causes Cancer Of The Respiratory System

The researchers also noted that incense burning is deeply engrained into the way of daily living in Southeast Asia. About half of the population burns incense at home every day. Incense smoke contains a large amount of particular matter and the burning releases many possible carcinogens including polyaromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyls and benzene.

More information regarding nose cancer: http://nethealthbook.com/ear-nose-and-throat-diseases-otolaryngology-ent/nose-problems/nose-cancer/

Reference: First published June 21, 2007 and subsequently published in a 2008 journal.

Last edited November 2, 2014

Mar
01
2007

Dental Signs Indicators for Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a condition, where a person is unable to tolerate wheat products. In other words they have a wheat allergy. It is not enough to avoid the standard foods like bread and other bakery goods that contain wheat. Wheat makes its appearance in many foods and also in taste enhancers like monosodium glutamate. Alone for this reason it is important for a person with celiac disease to carefully read labels in order to avoid foods that contain gluten, which is the offending substance. Often celiac disease goes undetected for many years, but there are early signs that can help to take action sooner rather than later.

Dr.T.Malahias, D.D.S., a dentist from Groton, Conn presented his findings at a recent international symposium for celiac disease. He pointed out that there are signs that are visible in the dental enamel, which will already be present in childhood, once the permanent teeth appear at about age 6. The bilateral symmetrical markings are defects in the tooth enamel. they can be brownish, yellow or white and are most commonly seen on the central incisors. They give the tooth a mottled, non-shiny appearance. Patients with this appearance may also have problems with the delayed eruption of the permanent teeth. These markings are permanent, and even after following a gluten-free diet they will stay, as the development of the enamel started already in the third or fourth month of life. While there may be other reasons for this abnormality, celiac disease should be considered in the context of the patient’s history.

Dental Signs Indicators for Celiac Disease

Dental enamel defects may be the only signs of celiac disease

The results are quite significant in pediatric groups: in patients less than 12 years of age who had celiac disease the rate of enamel defects ran at 90% as compared to 44% of the others without celiac disease. People who have recurrent unexplained aphthous ulcers should take notice too. Five percent have been found to have undiagnosed celiac disease as a result of the constant and chronic overstimulation of the immune system by gluten substances. Once celiac patients start with a gluten-free diet, the ulcers will occur less frequently.

More information on celiac disease: http://nethealthbook.com/digestive-system-and-gastrointestinal-disorders/celiac-disease/

Reference: Based on MD Consult News, January 31, 2007

Last edited November 2, 2014

Dec
01
2006

Asthma Medication May Not Be Enough

Doctors at an asthma clinic in New York were puzzled as to why their patients were not getting better even after continued medical care. Even though the patients were compliant with their medications, they needed oral steroids and presented with more severe asthma attacks at the emergency department. Looking into the living conditions of the patient group that continued having problems provided some insight: they lived in housing units that were dilapidated. In a program in which St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and other clinics participated, with the help of legal services of an attorney law firm the hospital was getting help for patients, who lived in substandard housing. When a patient lived in a building with dust, mold, roaches or rodents, any amount of treatment for asthma was almost futile. Even though there were letters and phone calls from social workers to landlords, unacceptable conditions in these housing units were not corrected. One letter from the New York Legal Assistance Group finally did the job. In plain English the notice to the negligent landlord said: Clean the place up or see me in court.

Dr. Luis Chug at St. Luke followed up on the patients one year later. Patients who needed 18 courses of oral steroids could reduce the treatment to just 2 the year after the cleanup. Patients who had made 14 trips to the emergency department because of asthma attacks the year before made only 2 after the conditions were corrected. The overall asthma of the patients also improved. Ten patients were afraid to go to a lawyer to seek help. A year later their living conditions predictably had remained the same. Their asthma had not improved either. The legal action was cost effective, reported Dr. Chug. Each emergency visit cost the hospital about $470 in services, and each course of prednisone cost about $345. The patients do not pay legal fees. Instead the service is funded by grants from participating hospitals. The study shows very clearly how practical public health measures can be used to correct health problems. The legal processes available in New York City are not unique in North America, as many local and regional governments have statutes requiring proper building maintenance.

Asthma Medication May Not Be Enough

Substandard housing bad for asthma

The results are also relevant to asthma patients who are not struggling with substandard housing. Patients with asthma simply cannot get better, when they live among irritants and allergy causing substances. Dust, cigarette smoke, perfumes, home fragrances, vapors from household cleansers, animal dander from house pets or feathers from a seemingly cozy down comforter can be the culprits for patients with asthma that does not improve despite treatment.

More information about:

1. asthma: http://nethealthbook.com/lung-disease/asthma-introduction/

2. mold allergies: https://www.askdrray.com/mold-allergies-often-overlooked/

Reference: The Medical Post, November 14, 2006, page 23 and 25

Last edited November 2, 2014