Celiac disease needs two genes and virus to switch on

Celiac disease needs two genes and virus to switch on

It has been known for some time that two HLA genes (DQ2, DQ8) predispose to celiac disease. What was recently discovered, and reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, is that is seems to take a virus to activate these genes that leads to the disease.  The research focused on the interplay between viruses and genes causing celiac disease, with its gluten sensitivity. The genes alone don’t cause celiac disease. The virus that appears to be the culprit is…

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Mighty mites proven peskier

Mighty mites proven peskier

Dust mites have long been known as the No. 1 cause for allergic asthma around the world. They are the “perfect respirable particle” – at only seven microns in size – and thus, easily inhaled into the lungs. Based on this information it has long been assumed that the development of dust-mite allergy must occur via breathing in the particles. Well, new research at the Pasteur Institute in Paris has found otherwise. It seems that the early development of dust-mite…

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Pets in home: many allergy studies, mixed results

Pets in home: many allergy studies, mixed results

By Sasha Klemawesch, MD Finally, scientific proof of dogs’ superiority! Research studies have reported a variety of health benefits provided to owners by their dogs; perhaps most pertinent to this newsletter being those related to allergies. A trio of studies in 2003, ’04 and ‘05 in various allergy journals (Current Opinions in Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and Current Allergy Asthma Reports) all reported that children who had dogs in their homes as infants were…

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Selfies

Selfies

Dear Dr. K: Among the many challenges and downsides of our smartphones, can you point to any not-so-obvious upsides to these instruments we glue our eyeballs to?   As it turns out, today’s craze in smartphone selfies may have some medical value that extends beyond vanity. To date, three medical conditions have been diagnosable from selfies: pancreatic cancer, skin cancers and oxygen desaturation. It seems other people’s scrutiny of selfies posted on social media can lead to changes being noticed….

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Q – Tips: Don’t get burned…

Q – Tips: Don’t get burned…

If you are going to get cut or burned, do it during daylight hours. Scientists have discovered a marked circadian (body clock) difference in healing from injuries. Wounds incurred at night take 60% longer to heal than those incurred during daytime hours. There is slower growth of skin cells and collagen when injuries occur at night.

Allergy testing: body’s timing reveals clues

Allergy testing: body’s timing reveals clues

Dear Dr. K: Until my husband recently came to see you I didn’t realize there was any other type of allergy tests than the prick tests I received. Can you explain? The skin test your husband received was patch-testing to try to ferret the cause of his skin rash. The test is designed to determine if he is sensitive to any contact allergens. The patches are applied and left in place for several days before being read. The test investigates…

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Shingrix now available; better protection from shingles

Shingrix now available; better protection from shingles

Shingrix is the new shingles vaccine which was recently approved by the FDA. It is an improved vaccine for preventing shingles and its complications. Unlike its predecessor vaccine, Zostavax, it requires two doses to be given between two and six months apart. It is a better vaccine because it uses recombinant technology plus an adjuvant. Recombinant technology means inserting the DNA encoding for the shingles virus into a tissue culture. The culture produces the protein antigens of the virus, but…

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Sensitive – but timely and critical conversation for families to have

Sensitive – but timely and critical conversation for families to have

 Death. Unfortunately, in my line of work, it’s part of my daily life. If you’ve had an appointment with my dad anytime in the past year, you know that I recently shifted gears from an Emergency residency to a Critical Care fellowship. Having spent the last several years in the Emergency Department (ED), I’d forgotten what a different beast death is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In the ED, death is swift, often unexpected and sometimes merciful. ICU deaths…

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Q – Tips: Dogs and allergies

Q – Tips: Dogs and allergies

 The University of Chicago just finished a research study showing the benefit of dog ownership in reducing the likelihood of allergies in children born into a pet-owning household. Children born to allergic parents reduced their risk for developing allergies by 33% if born into a household with dogs.