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Aspirin may help prevent asthma in women

Allergies • • AsthmaJun 13 08

In a large study of healthy women, taking low doses of aspirin reduced the occurrence of asthma, investigators at Harvard Medical School report.

Two recently reported studies among adult men and women have indicated a significant reduction in the risk of newly diagnosed asthma associated with regular aspirin use, lead investigator Dr. T. Kurth and colleagues note.

To further investigate, the Boston-based researchers analyzed data from the Women’s Health Study, in which more than 37,000 female health professionals age 45 and older with no previous history of asthma were randomly assigned aspirin 100 milligrams every other day or placebo.

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New finding links pollution to childhood allergies

Children's Health • • AllergiesJun 13 08

German researchers say they have found some of the strongest evidence yet linking traffic pollution to childhood allergies.

The risk of developing asthma, hay fever, eczema or other allergies is about 50 percent higher for children living 50 metres (yards) from a busy road than for those living 1,000 metres away, they said in a study released on Friday.

Previous research has linked pollution to allergies, but to date observational studies in the field have been inconsistent, said Joachim Heinrich, an epidemiologist at the Helmholtz Research Centre for Environment and Health in Munich.

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Culture-specific asthma education has benefits

Allergies • • AsthmaMay 26 08

Educating asthma sufferers in a way that is specific and appropriate to their individual and cultural needs can make a positive difference in their quality of life, researchers have found.

“Culture-specific programs, in comparison to generic education programs or usual care, were effective at improving asthma related quality of life for adults and asthma knowledge scores for children and parents,” Emily Bailey told Reuters Health.

However, “There is not enough evidence at this stage to say that culture-specific programs will show an improvement for asthma exacerbations,” said Bailey, of Menzies School of Health Research in Queensland, Australia.

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Bee Prepared for Summer Allergies

AllergiesMay 09 08

Itchy, watery eyes. Stuffy nose. Sneezing. Sound familiar? As much as we love it, warm weather can spell misery for the 20 million to 30 million Americans who suffer from allergies. According to Dr. Leslie Miller, director of the Emergency Department, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion, the majority of spring respiratory problems come from inhaling such allergens as trees or grass pollen and mold spores. Exposure to dust, pet dander, and other indoor pollutants can worsen the severity of spring and summer allergies, essentially adding fuel to the fire.

In addition, Dr. William Reisacher, an otorhinolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says allergies can trigger or worsen asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Drs. Miller and Reisacher suggest the following tips to help allergy sufferers’ weather through the season:

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Asthma ‘drops’ may treat allergic asthma in kids

Children's Health • • Allergies • • AsthmaApr 03 08

Children who suffer from asthma triggered by allergens - so-called allergic asthma—may benefit from an “under the tongue” therapy designed to increase tolerance to offending allergens, and, in turn, decrease asthma symptoms and medication use.

Research shows that sublingual immunotherapy, or SLIT, reduces symptoms and use of rescue medication use in children with allergic asthma, according to a report in the medical journal Chest. SLIT involves the oral administration of allergen extracts, either through soluble tablets or drops.

Dr. Giorgio Walter Canonica, of the University of Genoa, Italy, and colleagues pooled data from nine randomized, controlled clinical trials in order to assess the efficacy of SLIT in the treatment of allergic asthma in children.

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Study Offers Clues About Patient Allergies to Cancer Drug

Allergies • • Cancer • • Drug AbuseMar 14 08

Members of a study team led by Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills of the University of Virginia Health System knew they had a medical mystery on their hands. When treated with the widely-used cancer drug, cetuximab, patients in several states – mostly in the Southeast – were experiencing allergic reactions more frequently and more severely than those living elsewhere. Reactions typically occurred during initial treatment and sometimes included anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition characterized by a rapid drop in blood pressure, fainting, difficulty breathing, and wheezing.

Previous research had shown that 22 percent of patients in Tennessee and North Carolina had severe allergic reactions to the drug. Even higher reaction rates and clusters of cases had been reported in Arkansas, Missouri and Virginia. This data contrasted sharply with the drug’s label, which states that three percent of patients experienced severe allergic reactions, and with results in the northeast, where less than one percent of patients receiving cetuximab had allergic reactions.

“There seemed to be a link between geographic location and allergic response, and we wanted to know why,” explains Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills, Professor of Medicine, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at UVA. The team’s findings, published in the March 13, 2008 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, offer a key clue to solving this mystery.

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Severely milk-allergic kids can be desensitized

Children's Health • • AllergiesMar 04 08

Children who have a potentially life-threatening allergy to cow’s milk can often “learn” to tolerate milk through a carefully orchestrated, supervised program in which they sample milk in progressively higher doses, research suggests.

After one year, more than one-third of cow’s milk allergic children who completed the program had become completely tolerant to cow’s milk and more than half could tolerate limited amounts of milk, the research team reports in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

“Desensitization, or ‘specific oral tolerance induction,’ can be achieved in a significant percentage of children with very severe allergic reactions,” Dr. Egidio Barbi from ‘Burlo Garofolo’ University of Trieste told Reuters Health.

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Increased Allergen Levels in Homes Linked to Asthma

Allergies • • AsthmaMar 02 08

Results from a new national survey demonstrate that elevated allergen levels in the home are associated with asthma symptoms in allergic individuals. The study suggests that asthmatics that have allergies may alleviate symptoms by reducing allergen exposures inside their homes. The work was carried out by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the University of Iowa, Rho Inc., and the Constella Group. The team’s findings may help millions of Americans who suffer from asthma.

“Indoor allergen exposures are of great importance in relation to asthma because most people spend a majority of their time indoors, especially at home,” said Darryl Zeldin, M.D., a Principal Investigator in the Laboratory of Respiratory Biology at NIEHS and senior author on the paper.

Asthma is one of the most common chronic ailments in the United States, affecting more than 22 million people. Asthma has been shown to be triggered by a wide range of substances called allergens.

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Daily asthma meds keep lungs in play during exercise

Allergies • • Drug News • • ImmunologyFeb 29 08

Taking asthma medication daily can help prevent the tightening of the airways or “bronchoconstriction” with physical exertion that affects many children with asthma, a new study from Poland confirms.

Dr. Iwona Stelmach of N. Copernicus Hospital in Lodz and colleagues found that of the four treatments they evaluated, the two including the anti-asthma drug montelukast (Singulair) were the most effective, but all were better than placebo.

“Control of childhood asthma with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction can be obtained by using regular controller treatment,” Stelmach and colleagues write in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Mediterranean Diet in Pregnancy Helps Ward Off Childhood Asthma and Allergy

Children's Health • • Allergies • • Dieting • • PregnancyJan 15 08

Mums to be who eat a Mediterranean diet while pregnant could help stave off the risks of asthma and allergy in their children, suggests research published ahead of print in Thorax.

The findings are based on 468 mother and child pairs, who were tracked from pregnancy up to 6.5 years after the birth.

What the mothers ate during pregnancy and what their children were eating by the time they were 6 years old were assessed using food frequency questionnaires.

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Handling Pesticides Associated with Greater Asthma Risk in Farm Women

Allergies • • AsthmaDec 30 07

New research on farm women has shown that contact with some commonly used pesticides in farm work may increase their risk of allergic asthma.

“Farm women are an understudied occupational group,” said Jane Hoppin, Sc.D., of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and lead author of the study. “More than half the women in our study applied pesticides, but there is very little known about the risks.”

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Menopausal Women May Have an Increased Asthma Risk

Allergies • • Asthma • • Gender: FemaleDec 20 07

Menopause is associated with lower lung function and more respiratory symptoms, especially among lean women, according to a new study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI).

The study, “Lung function, respiratory symptoms, and the menopausal transition,” can be found in the articles in press section of the JACI Web site, http://www.jacionline.org. The JACI is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

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Many kids may not outgrow cow’s milk allergy

Children's Health • • Allergies • • ImmunologyDec 19 07

Cow’s milk allergy persists longer than previously reported, and the majority of children may retain the sensitivity into school age, study findings suggest.

“The old data saying that most milk allergy will be easily outgrown, usually by the age of 3 years, is most likely wrong,” Dr. Robert A. Wood, at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told Reuters Health.

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Animal food allergens unmasked

AllergiesOct 15 07

The relatedness of an animal food protein to a human protein determines whether it can cause allergy, according to new research by scientists from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich and the Medical University of Vienna.

In theory all proteins have the potential to become allergens, but the study found that in practice the ability of animal food proteins to act as allergens depends on their evolutionary distance from a human equivalent.

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Allergies not linked to asthma in urban adults

AllergiesAug 09 07

Asthmatic adults living in inner-city areas are often allergic to many triggers, such as dust mites or pets, but this sensitization does not appear to increase the severity of their asthma.

“We were expecting that sensitization would be related to worse asthma outcomes, as in children,” lead investigator Dr. Juan P. Wisnivesky told Reuters Health.

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