Dear Dr. K; I received BCG treatments for my bladder cancer. Now I hear it is being used for diabetes. Is that true?

Dear Dr. K; I received BCG treatments for my bladder cancer. Now I hear it is being used for diabetes. Is that true?

The one second answer is “yes”, but there is an over 100-year-old story behind that.  BCG, properly called Bacillus Calmette-Guerin is a live attenuated (weakened) form of tuberculosis.  The vaccine has been around for 100 years and is routinely given to children in nearly all non-Western countries to prevent TB.  Not long after the vaccine was developed in the 1920’s scientists noted a significant decrease in childhood death rates not only from TB but from many unrelated infections.  More recent…

Read More Read More

IgG Food Testing

IgG Food Testing

IgG food testing (also known as food sensitivity testing) was recently discussed in an editorial from Yale in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.   The physicians at Yale sited the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology and the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in recommending strongly against the use of IgG food testing.  IgG (Immunoglobulin G) is one of the main immune proteins in humans.  It serves both “recognition” and “protection” functions.  Homeland Security might serve as…

Read More Read More

Covid-19 and Immunocompromised Patients

Covid-19 and Immunocompromised Patients

There is still much to learn about Corona virus.  One area that is particularly problematic is how to protect patients that are immunocompromised (roughly 5% of the US population) due to organ transplant, auto-immune/rheumatic diseases, cancer, and dialysis.  It has been long understood that the efficacy of many vaccines is attenuated in immunocompromised patients and this also seems to be the case for Covid-19 vaccines.  Timing of the vaccine is important and it should be administered between chemotherapy cycles.  For…

Read More Read More

Dear Dr. K; Any good news on Covid vaccines?

Dear Dr. K; Any good news on Covid vaccines?

The answer is yes: they are working well and luckily the foibles are generally mild.  Globally there are eleven different vaccines currently in use, but so far only 2% of the world’s population has been vaccinated.  We need to do better, including vaccines that don’t have elaborate requirements for transport or refrigeration.  Another 251 vaccines are at some stage of development including 60 that are entering human trials.  Let me tell you about some of the very promising ones.  Vaxxinity…

Read More Read More

Q-Tips: pollen allergy

Q-Tips: pollen allergy

We are currently in grass pollen season and soon to be added is ragweed pollen.  People with grass pollen allergy may have worse symptoms this time of year if they ingest foods that share allergenic components with the pollen.  These grass related foods are: melons, oranges, kiwi, tomato, and peanut.  Ragweed related foods include: melons, banana, artichoke, cucumber, zucchini, echinacea, chamomile and hibiscus tea.

Fluvoxamine for Covid-19?

Fluvoxamine for Covid-19?

Many drugs have been considered for treatment of Covid-19 and several monoclonal antibodies have been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA.  However, the only FDA approved drug for treating Covid-19 is the IV antiviral Remdesivir that inhibits RNA polymerase.  Fluvoxamine is one of many SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) that are used to treat anxiety and depression.  However, Fluvoxamine is structurally unrelated to the other SSRI’s.  In addition to its serotonin modulating activity, it is a strong agonist (stimulator)…

Read More Read More

Mother and Fetus Get Well Together

Mother and Fetus Get Well Together

Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) is an inherited deficiency of functional C-1-esterase inhibitor (C-1-INH) and is characterized by unpredictable recurrent episodes of painful often disabling swelling of the abdomen or face or extremities.  In the recent past several new drugs have become available to treat this condition.  One of the most exciting ones is Ruconest, which is a C-1-esterase inhibitor made by recombinant technology.  Thus, it works by replacing what the patient fails to make (or fails to make in a functional…

Read More Read More

Catnip and Mosquitoes

Catnip and Mosquitoes

Neuroscientists at Northwestern University have made an amazing discovery about catnip, it repels mosquitoes and other insects.  The active component of catnip (Nepeta catoria) is nepetalactone which stimulates a neuroreceptor called TRPA1.  TRPA1 is found in most animals from insects to humans, and transmits pain sensation to the brain.  TRPA1 can also be triggered by hot, cold, and irritants.  The interesting thing is that when applied to humans as a repellant it does not trigger a pain response in the…

Read More Read More

Circadian Cycles

Circadian Cycles

The New England Journal of Medicine recently had a review article on circadian mechanisms.  What was once thought to simply control sleep/wake periodicity and females’ monthly cycles is now known to control our complex physiology even down to a cellular level.  Also, they are not unique to humans but have been present in all life forms (plant and animal) for the past 3 billion years.  This universal presence indicates that circadian cycles are critical for both fitness and survival of…

Read More Read More

Topical Steroids & Bone Density

Topical Steroids & Bone Density

It has been known for a long time that systemic steroids can affect bone density.  This effect is both dose and durations of therapy related.  Until recently, there has not been a good scientific study of topical steroids and bones.  Danish scientists recently Finished (pun intended) a 15-year study of 723,000 adults using topical steroids.  They found that long term use of medium or high potency steroids did contribute to the development of osteoporosis and also increased risk for bone…

Read More Read More