Archive for February, 2012

Allergic Rhinitis Study – Factors in Teens

A German study of Allergic Rhinitis (AR) in adolescence reveals that AR can be predicted with a degree of certainty.

The study of 2810 prepubescent children followed into adolescence  compiled by Jessica Kellberger, Dipl-Stat, from the University Hospital of Munich, Germany, and colleagues shows the strongest predictors of AR is positive skin-prick tests for outdoor allergens.

“Our prediction models indicate a substantial increase in the likelihood of new onset of AR in girls with high socioeconomic status and parental history of asthma who have not been exclusively breast-fed for 2 or more months and who presented with a positive [skin-prick test] response to both outdoor and indoor allergens at age 9 to 11 years,” they write.

“The risk factors indicated in our study are in accordance with those of other studies. However, thus far, none of these studies have used the information for individual prediction of disease course.”

Reaction to the findings suggest the positive allergy test may help in answering is it a cold or allergies question when dealing with a specific patient’s health.

“I think this paper is probably more useful to general pediatric practitioners, because they are the ones who eventually tell the difference between colds and allergic rhinitis when deciding to make the referral and when to look further to see what the patient’s allergic to,” said Weihong Zheng, MD, an allergist at Tufts Medical Center and assistant professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Zheng was not involved in the study.

The study’s abstract is available here:

If you have questions about Allergic Rhinitis in adults or children- contact my office for a consultation 866-632-5537.

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Hypoallergenic Pets

I am frequently asked to recommend a “allergy free, hypoallergenic pet.”   Now as Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, the question has come up again.


Pets with little or no hair are often advertised as such.  However, the  fact remains that protein in the pet’s saliva is the allergy trigger.  As the animal grooms or offers an affectionate lick, the trigger is released. Additionally, as the saliva dries the allergen can become airborne.

If the pet discussion continues, see an allergist. Depending on the severity of  the allergy, a pet may not make any sense. If the sensitivity is mild, spend time around a potential pet to see how the allergy sufferer reacts.

For more on pet allergies visit : Common Allergies

Call my office at 866-632-5537 for a consultation.  Together we can test, diagnose and treat pet allergies.

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Immunological Positives of Growing Up on a Farm

Studying piglets, which are often used as models for humans since they share many aspects of physiology, metabolism, genetics and immunity, Dr. Marie Lewis’ research out of the University of Bristol’s school of veterinary sciences resulted in findings that showed early life in a complex farm environment increased the number of regulatory T-lymphocytes, the cells that damp down the immune system and limit immune responses.

In the study, piglets were nursed by mothers on a farm while siblings spent day one and onwards under very hygienic conditions and were fed formula milk, depicting the environment in which human babies are raised.

Compared to isolator piglets, the farm-reared piglets have a reduced numbers of immune cells which drive immune responses (T-lymphocytes) in intestinal tissues. Importantly, the farm-raised piglets also had significantly increased numbers of a subset of these cells, the regulatory T-lymphocytes, which reduce allergic responses and limit inflammation, reported Dr. Lewis.

This shift in the ratio of stimulatory and regulatory cells appeared to have functional effects since the farm-reared piglets also exhibited decreased antibody responses to novel food proteins when they were weaned.

Regulatory T-cells have been identified in many mammalian species, including humans, and appear to be universal regulators of immune systems and a reduction in their numbers is often associated with the development of allergies as well as autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

“At this point it is not clear exactly what caused the increased capacity for immune regulation in our farm-reared piglets. Our previous work suggests that intestinal bacteria play a pivotal role in the development of a competent immune system and these bacteria are obtained from the environment during early life,” said Lewis.

Lewis and her team suggested additional work is required to determine the extent to which other farm-associated factors, such as social and maternal interactions, aerial contaminants, antigens from bedding and early nutrition, contributed to the impact of the environment on increased local and systemic immune regulation.

Interesting findings.  What’s your take? You can read more about the study here

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No Fragances for NH Employees?

New Hampshire House Bill 1444, state workers who interact with the public as a part of their job would be prohibited from wearing fragrances or scented products during business hours. If approved the law will go into effect in 60 days.

As we have previously discussed, perfumes by their design are an indoor pollutant and can irritate inflamed airways of those who already suffer from asthma or allergies. Those affected by breathing difficulties, inflamed airways due to nasal allergies or asthma should avoid perfumes when possible.

If you experience breathing difficulties from a sensitivity to perfumes, air fresheners, or scented products give me a call 866-635-5532 for a consultation. We can assist you by treating the cause resulting in symptom relief.  You can breathe easier.

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