Dear Doc: Wheat, gluten, inflammation — baffling!

Dear Doc: Wheat, gluten, inflammation — baffling!

Dear Dr. K: I’ve had a blood test for gluten sensitivity, allergy tests for wheat and even an intestinal biopsy for celiac. All the tests are negative, but I still feel better when I avoid wheat. What gives? What gives is that wheat is not good for you. No medical test is perfect. Even “gold standard” tests such as chest X-ray for pneumonia or cardiac catheterization for coronary blockage sometimes fail to demonstrate an existing abnormality. The bottom line is…

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Drug hypersensitivity genetic?

Drug hypersensitivity genetic?

The most common cause for drug allergy is from IgE-mediated (allergic) reactions, such as having hives from penicillin. New research is discovering a second mechanism for drug reaction being called “drug hypersensitivity,” as it is mediated by T-lymphocytes. The reactions are different from the arch-typical “allergy” in that they tend to be somewhat delayed and different types of rashes. Examples are measles-type bumps, the life-threatening skin condition Steven-Johnson Syndrome or liver irritation. Of great interest is that there seems to…

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‘Magic Bullet’ antibodies beef up to meet today’s need

‘Magic Bullet’ antibodies beef up to meet today’s need

In the early 1900s, German scientist and Nobel Laureate Paul Ehrlich pioneered an antiserum to help combat diphtheria. His anti-serum saved many lives in the pre-antibiotic era. He also popularized the concept in medicine of a “Magische Kugel” (Magic Bullet). His idea was to find treatments that were so specific that they only worked on their specific targets without any collateral effect or damage to the body. In 1975 Cesar Milstein and Georges Kohler (also Nobel Laureates) invented hybridoma technology…

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Q – Tips: • Buteyko

Q – Tips: • Buteyko

Buteyko is a Russian breathing technique to improve control of asthma through respiratory exercises. Basically, it consists of daily sessions of progressively incremental breath holding. Research studies have shown improvement in asthma and even reduction in medication.

Q – Tips: • Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome

Q – Tips: • Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome is an autoimmune eye problem that starts with recurrent bouts of “pink” or “red eye”. Eventually it can cause the eyelashes to turn white and the retina to detach. Proper diagnosis by an ophthalmologist is key to anyone suffering repeated bouts of “red eye.”

First “pro,” now add “pre” for even more gut benefits

First “pro,” now add “pre” for even more gut benefits

Over the past five years this newsletter has offered numerous articles about the health benefits of probiotics. We have learned that because 80 percent of the immune cells in the human body are found lining the GI tract, it is critical that these cells see a normal, healthy microbiome (like a micro-ecosystem in the body.) Altering healthy gut flora leads to both a pro-inflammatory and a pro-allergic state, predisposing to auto-immune and allergic disorders. Ingesting healthy microbes in the form…

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Flu vaccine meets new booster

Flu vaccine meets new booster

  Recent research done at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis led to an unusual discovery! Rapamycin, a drug normally used to suppress the immune system was found to bolster the powers of the flu vaccine. Rapamycin was originally discovered in a soil sample taken on Easter Island (whose Polynesian name is Rapanui; hence, “rapamycin).” Early on it was found to have antifungal properties, but additional research revealed it to also have immunosuppressant and anti-tumor properties. Giving low doses…

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When managing iron supplements, turns out that less is more

When managing iron supplements, turns out that less is more

We are obligate aerobic creatures requiring constant, good oxygenation. Allergic individuals sometimes have less than ideal oxygen delivery because of nasal obstruction or asthma. If, in addition, they are anemic, then oxygen delivery to the tissues is reduced for a second reason. Iron deficiency anemia is fairly common, especially in growing children and menstruating females. The usual therapy for this is oral iron supplementation. Until recently, this was recommended on a daily basis. However, recent research published in the Journal…

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Battle plan for repeat sinus infections

Battle plan for repeat sinus infections

Dear Dr. K: I don’t seem capable of getting just one sinus infection. Once I get the first one, I seem to get two or three more before it’s all over. Can anything be done? At the risk of sounding smart-alecky, first and foremost, don’t get the first infection. By this I mean try to avoid catching colds or URIs (upper-respiratory infections). In general people don’t “catch” a sinus infection; it usually occurs as a sequel to a viral cold/URI…

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Q – Tips: venom

Q – Tips: venom

Stanford researchers found an interesting paradox: Individuals with venom allergy (bees, wasps, etc.) are less likely to die from the toxic poison effect of venoms, such as from hundreds of bee stings or snake bites (!) Reason: The chemicals released by mast cells (the allergy cells that cause allergic symptoms), inactivate the biologic poison of the venom.