When Bitter is Sweet

When Bitter is Sweet

Asthma affects millions of people worldwide.  The pathophysiology is complex but involves exaggerated smooth muscle contraction in the airways along with inflammation that in a chronic state causes airway remodeling (narrowing).  The majority of current therapies for asthma address these two issues.  Bronchodilators relax the smooth muscles and anti-inflammatories treat the inflammation.  Despite the panoply of these medications there are still many asthmatics who either don’t respond as well as desired or have untoward side effects from the medications.  Recent…

Read More Read More

PPI’s and Mast Cells

PPI’s and Mast Cells

PPI’s aka protein pump inhibitors have been a true God-send for millions of patients with upper gastrointestinal problems: from reflux to gastritis to ulcers.  In large part they have supplanted the previously developed H-2 blockers:  Zantac, Axid, Pepcid and Tagamet.  Both groups of medicines work by reducing production of the stomach acid, hydrochloric acid.  The chemical formula for this acid is HCI because it is made up of a hydrogen ion (also known as a proton) and a chloride ion….

Read More Read More

Dear Dr. K; Can food allergy cause migraines?

Dear Dr. K; Can food allergy cause migraines?

Migraines are caused by genetic makeup but can be precipitated by many factors including food allergy.  The genetic science of migraine is very complex and still evolving.  Suffice it to say that it can be monogenetic or polygenetic.  Monogenetic means a single gene causes the individual to be prone to migraines whereas polygenetic means a whole variety of genes can play a role.  Migraine headache has a complex physiology that involves vascular (blood vessel) changes, electrical changes, and chemical changes…

Read More Read More

Dear Dr. K; Are you personally going to take the coronavirus vaccine?

Dear Dr. K; Are you personally going to take the coronavirus vaccine?

Yes. And let me tell you why.  In 1720 the average life expectancy in this country was 25.  A hundred years later in 1820 it was 41.  Then in 1920 it hit 54.  Currently it is in the mid-70’s.  Despite all the marvels of modern medicine from antibiotics, to trans-vascular heart surgery, to organ transplantation, the major reasons for this improvement in life expectancy boil down to the big three S’s:  sanitation, shoes, and shots. It is hard to believe…

Read More Read More

Covid-19 and Allergy

Covid-19 and Allergy

Harvard researchers recently published their findings regarding allergic disorders and susceptibility to Covid-19.  The study was conducted on 220,000 people between January and May of this year.  Previous to this study it has been known that people at greater risk for and from this virus include those: over 65, with pre-existing lung disease, with chronic kidney disease, with diabetes, with hypertension, with heart disease, obesity, with cancer, smokers, with immune compromising illnesses, with organ transplants and with HIV.  Now it…

Read More Read More

Rhinitis

Rhinitis

The recently published Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology had an update on rhinitis.  Rhinitis incorporates two Greek words:  rhinos, meaning nose, and itis, meaning disease or inflammation.  The condition falls into two categories; allergic rhinitis or non-allergic rhinitis.  The former is pretty straightforward in that it is caused primarily by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mites and animal dander but to a lesser degree (and not quite as obviously) due to food allergy.  Despite the nasal focus of…

Read More Read More

Fc Receptor Therapy

Fc Receptor Therapy

There are five types of immune proteins called immunoglobulins (Ig):  IgG, IgD, IgA, IgM and IgE.  In general, these immune proteins are an integral part of our host defense system.  However, just as Benedict Arnold turned traitor to the American cause, so too our immune proteins can sometimes go awry.  This is the definition of auto-immune disease, i.e. our own immune proteins attack us.  There are two ends of all five immune proteins and they are called the F ab…

Read More Read More

Air Pollution and Health

Air Pollution and Health

It may seem hard to believe but every day we breathe in more than 10,000 liters of air.  Depending on the degree of pollutants in that air, the human lungs can either cope with it or not. As I write these words, I can’t help but think of one of the “I Love Lucy” episodes where she and Ethel get a job in a candy factory hand wrapping expensive chocolates as they come down a conveyor belt.  Early on, the…

Read More Read More

T3SS and T4SS

T3SS and T4SS

Even though bacteria far predate human existence, we have co-evolved once humans hit the scene.  It may be hard to believe in terms of cell count but our total number of human cells (10 trillion cells) is exceeded by a logarithm by the number of bacteria in our microbiota (100 trillion cells).  We humans carry roughly 35,000 different species of bacteria on us and in us.  Despite the very large variety of bacteria on planet earth only about 100 species…

Read More Read More

Dear Dr. K,

Dear Dr. K,

Recently I got a severe leg abrasion when I had an accident on my motorcycle.  I needed surgery to clean the leg and stop all the bleeding.  Three days later my leg got red and swollen and itched.  My surgeon gave me an antibiotic thinking it was infected.  But the culture was negative, and the leg kept getting worse.  Then, he gave me prednisone and the leg got better quickly.  Any ideas? Well, I’m no Dr. House, but since I…

Read More Read More