Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Omalizumab for Asthma

Omalizumab (Xolair, Genentech) is a recombinant humanized IgG1 monoclonal anti-IgE antibody that binds to the IgE molecule at the same epitope on the Fc region that binds to FcεRI.11,12 This design means that omalizumab is not anaphylactogenic, since it cannot interact with IgE that is already bound to cell surfaces and thus cannot induce degranulation of mast cells or basophils.8,13 Instead, omalizumab binds to circulating IgE, regardless of allergen specificity, forming small, biologically inert IgE–anti-IgE complexes without activating the complement cascade.8,12,14 An 89 to 99 percent reduction in free serum IgE (i.e., IgE not bound to omalizumab) occurs soon after the administration of omalizumab, and low levels persist throughout treatment with appropriate doses.14,15 Proof-of-concept studies have shown that omalizumab reduces both early- and late-phase asthmatic responses after allergen inhalation challenge,16 has a marked effect on late-phase as compared with early-phase skin responses,17 decreases eosinophil numbers in sputum18 and submucosal bronchial specimens,18 and also down-regulates FcεRI on basophils,19 mast cells,20 and dendritic cells.21 A reduction in the expression of FcεRI on basophils and mast cells decreases the binding of circulating IgE, thus preventing the release of inflammatory mediators. A reduction in the expression of FcεRI on dendritic cells may decrease allergen processing and presentation.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hayfever Symptoms And Remedies.

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is an allergic inflammation where the individual nasal airways becomes blocked when dust, allergen or pollen grains attack the nasal path. Most of the time, people with weak immunity are more susceptible to pollenosis. When the pollens or dust goes into the the body, it triggers the production of antibodies.

These antibodies contain histamine is a nitrogen compound that regulates the physiological function and acts as neurotransmitter in the physiology. The pollenosis is classified in various categories such as tree pollen allergies, pollen allergies, animal allergies, dust mite allergies, perennial allergic rhinitis and seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

Monday, November 22, 2010

Eye Allergies

An eye allergy that affects the conjunctiva, a clear layer of skin overlying the eyes, is commonly referred to as allergic conjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis is divided into several major subtypes, but the most common subtypes are seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) and perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC). SAC and PAC are triggered by an immune reaction involving a sensitized individual and an allergen. Simply stated, this means that if you are allergic to a particular substance and then come into contact with it, you experience an allergic reaction (symptoms like itching and sneezing).

Although it frequently occurs, allergic conjunctivitis is most commonly seen in areas with high seasonal allergens.

Causes of Eye Allergies

Eye allergies often affect the conjunctiva, a clear layer of skin overlying the eyes. This clear layer of skin is the same type of skin that lines the inside surface of the nose. Because these two areas are so similar, the same allergens (substances that induce an allergic reaction) can trigger the same allergic response in both areas.

Asthma And Panic Attacks

Asthma and panic attacks often go hand in hand. Studies have shown that there is a strong relationship between the two and people having asthma are often more prone to panic attacks. The finding is significant in the sense that it could pave new ways for asthma treatment. According to these studies, a person with asthma is 4.5 times more likely to have panic attacks than those who do not have the disease. Vice versa, people who suffer panic attacks are more likely to develop asthma in course of time.

The problem here is that it is often difficult to distinguish between asthma and panic attacks. Panic attacks are not life-threatening, but asthma is. So, if a person has both, he or she should be extremely careful. It has been observed that an asthma attack can cause such anxiety that it may easily cause a panic attack, making the asthma attack even worse and forming a terrible cycle. In both asthma and panic attacks, the victim finds breathing difficult and loses the ability to think and remain calm.

Friday, November 19, 2010

WeatherMD Helps You Manage Environmental Triggers of Disease

AccuWeather is now offering an iPhone app that helps translate current and forecast conditions into medically relevant information. WeatherMD provides weather/health maps and charts that predict how conditions will influence people with a number of relevant ailments. Probably most useful for people with conditions like hay fever, asthma, and arthritis, it is also practical for anyone planning to exercise outdoors. The app costs $4 and currently only provides info for US locations. 

You'll appreciate accurate forecasts and current conditions that include wind speed and direction, sky conditions, as well as AccuWeather.com patented RealFeel temperature, Healthy Heart Exercise, and Running indices so you know how to plan and dress for your daily run or bike ride.

Neti Pot for Sinus

With increasing pollution and chemicals in our environment, there is an enormous rise in the number of people who suffer various forms of nasal congestion and respiratory illnesses. 

Alternative health practitioners throughout the world recommend the regular practice of nasal cleansing using a saline solution as part of a regular regimen of health and wellness, a basic health-maintenance activity equal to flossing your teeth.  

Neti is a gentle, safe, efficient way to deliver a good cleansing dose of saline to the nose. Although the practice of nasal irrigation originated in India, today there are numerous people in Europe and the United States who use this simple technique as part of their daily routine.

Asthma Differs in Rich, Poor Countries

The link between childhood asthma and allergies may be twice as strong in rich nations compared with poorer countries.

That's according to a new study from researchers including Gudrun Weinmayr, PhD, of Germany's Ulm University.

They gathered data on more than 54,000 children aged 8-12 in 22 countries worldwide, including study centers in the U.K., Ghana, India, Brazil, China, Sweden, and Ecuador.

Some of the kids lived in big cities. Others lived in rural areas. Their parents reported the children's asthma symptoms. More than half of the kids also got allergy skin tests.

Spray Cleaners May Up Asthma Risk

Using spray home cleaning products, even as little as once a week, may increase an adult's risk for developing asthma symptoms, a new study shows.

Frequent use of aerosolized chemical cleaners has previously been linked to asthma in cleaning professionals. But the new study is the first to examine the impact of exposure to spray cleaners on home users.

Researchers concluded that use of spray household cleaners may be an important contributor to asthma in adults.

The risk of developing asthma increased with the frequency of use and the number of different products used, but on average regular use of spray cleaners and air fresheners was found to be associated with a 30% to 50% increase in asthma risk.

Researcher Jan-Paul Zock, PhD, says this finding means that as many as one in seven asthma cases in adults may be caused by the use of spray cleaners.

"These findings must be confirmed, but it is clear that people need to use caution when they use these products," he says.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wheezing With Colds Raises Risk of Asthma

Infants and toddlers who wheeze when they are sick with colds have a big risk of developing asthma later in childhood, a new study shows.

Wheezing with rhinovirus infection during the first three years of life was associated with a tenfold increase in asthma risk by age 6, researchers from the University of Wisconsin report.
Nearly 90% of the children in the study who wheezed with rhinovirus infection during their third year of life had a diagnosis of asthma three years later.

There are more than 100 identified rhinoviruses that are known to cause colds, but until now, these viruses have not been strongly associated with asthma risk, the study's principal investigator tells WebMD.

Instead, much attention has been focused on another common infectious agent, known as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Young children who are hospitalized with RSV infections have a high risk of developing asthma later in childhood.

"When we started this study we fully expected to find that RSV was the big culprit, but that is not what we found," says Robert F. Lemanske Jr., MD.

Electrical Stimulation Eases Asthma Attack

Here’s a shocking way to help asthma patients catch their breath during a sudden and severe attack: Deliver tiny electrical impulses under the skin in the neck.

Researchers from five U.S. institutions have found that electrical stimulation can safely be used to open the airways during an acute asthma attack when traditional medications do not work. According to the American Lung Association, about 23 million Americans are living with asthma.

The small study involved four conscious and responsive adults aged 26 to 58 who visited a hospital emergency room during a moderate-to-severe asthma attack and whose symptoms did not improve after using inhalers and powerful anti-inflammatory (steroid) medications. Such treatments were considered a failure if the patient scored 70% or less on a lung function test that measured how much air could be forced out of the lungs after taking a deep breath. This is called force expiratory volume, or FEV. The amount of air forced out in the first second is known as FEV1.

How to use a Nebulizer

A nebulizer turns your asthma medicine into a mist. It is easy and pleasant to breathe the medicine into your lungs this way. If you use a nebulizer, your asthma medicines will come in liquid form.

With a nebulizer, medicine goes into your lungs when you take slow, deep breaths for 10 to 15 minutes.

Many patients with asthma do not need to use a nebulizer. Another way to get your medicine is with an inhaler. Inhalers work just as well, and they are easier to use.

Most nebulizers are small, so they are easy to carry with you. Most nebulizers use air compressors. A different kind uses sound vibrations. These are called "ultrasonic nebulizers." They are quieter, but they cost more money.

10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Asthma Friendly

Allergens are one of the most common reasons asthma symptoms flare. Importantly, there are a number of things you can do in your home to prevent your asthma from worsening. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, these 10 things will help keep your asthma in check:

  1. Take it outside. Secondhand smoke is a common asthma trigger. Encourage people to quit and make sure they smoke outside, not in your home or car.
  2. Good night, little mite! Dust mites are also common asthma triggers. Covering mattresses and pillows with dust-proof  zippered covers and washing all bedding once a week in hot water will help keep the mites at bay.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Food Allergies Linked to Asthma Risk

The study, which appears in the October issue of Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, is the largest to offer a national snapshot of food allergy prevalence.

Children are at greater risk for food allergy than adults, and black male children are particularly at risk, the study shows.

"This gives us a good perspective, and the prevalence number is pretty solid," says study researcher Andy Liu, MD, an allergist at National Jewish Health in Denver.

Food allergies are on most everyone's radar screen these days with growing numbers of schools calling themselves "peanut-aware" or "peanut-free" and parents routinely asked to provide information on their child's food allergies.

Food Allergies on the Rise?

Researchers are not sure if there has been an actual rise in food allergies because they lack background data.

"There has been some suggestion that the rate of food allergy has been increasing, and it may be," Liu says. "There is certainly more awareness. And many of us, when think back to when we were in school, we didn't hear about food allergy."

Liu tells WebMD that when he was charged with bringing in snacks for his son's kindergarten class, he was stunned to learn that six of 28 kids had registered food allergies.

"Schools have moved to a position where they are taking food allergy seriously," he says. "Families were treated as pariahs before and were told to look for other school options if they had children with food allergies."

Researchers analyzed data on 8,203 people, ranging in age from 1 to older than 60, who completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2005-2006. Participants also had blood tests to confirm the presence of four food allergies: peanut, milk, egg, and shrimp. Among people with food allergy, 1.3% were allergic to peanuts, 0.4% were allergic to milk, 0.2% had and egg allergy, and 1% were allergic to shrimp, the study shows

Fall Allergies

Though the flowers are no longer blooming and the air has turned crisp and cool, many allergy sufferers get no reprieve during the fall months. The allergy triggers might be slightly different, but they can be just as misery-inducing as the flower pollen that fills the air in the spring and summer.

What Causes Fall Allergies?

Male plants release tiny cells called pollen into the air in order to reproduce. When these pollen or other allergy triggers get into the noses of certain people, their immune system mistakenly sees them as foreign invaders and releases antibodies -- substances that normally identify and go after bacteria, viruses, and other illness-causing organisms. The antibodies attack the allergens, which leads to the release of chemicals called histamines into the blood. Histamines trigger the runny nose, itchy eyes, and other symptoms of allergies.

During the fall season, ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger. Though the yellow-flowering weed typically begins pollinating in August, it can linger well into the fall months. About three-quarters of people who are allergic to spring pollen-producing plants are also allergic to ragweed. Ragweed pollen can travel for hundreds of miles on the wind, so even if it doesn't grow where you live, it can still make you miserable if you're allergic to it.

Mold is another culprit, because its spores can easily get airborne. Mold thrives in damp areas, both indoors and outdoors. The piles of damp leaves that line yards and streets in the fall are breeding grounds for mold, as are damp basements and bathrooms at home.

Dust mites -- microscopic, spider-like insects -- are yet another common indoor allergen. They are most prevalent during the humid summer months, but can get stirred into the air the first time you turn on your furnace in the fall. From the air, dust mites can make their way into your nose, triggering sneezes, wheezes, and runny noses.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Eliminating the Source of Asthma-Causing Immune Molecules

Asthma and other allergic diseases are caused by inappropriate immune responses. Soluble IgE molecules, produced by immune cells known as B cells, are key immune mediators of these diseases. Therapeutic targeting of IgE in the blood can neutralize its effects and is an effective treatment for moderate-to-severe allergic asthma. However, this approach does not halt IgE production and patients need to be treated repeatedly.

But now, a team of researchers, at Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, has developed a way to specifically eliminate IgE-producing B cells, providing a potential new long-lasting therapeutic approach to treating asthma and other allergic diseases.

New Blood Test for Newborns to Detect Allergy Risk

A simple blood test can now predict whether newborn babies are at high risk of developing allergies as they grow older, thanks to research involving the University of Adelaide.

Professor Tony Ferrante, an immunologist from SA Pathology and the Children's Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, says the new marker may be the most significant breakthrough in allergy testing for some decades.

"A protein in the immune cells of newborns appears to hold the answer as to whether a baby will either be protected, or susceptible to the development of allergies later on," Professor Ferrante says.

Brain Pathways Linking Social Stress and Inflammation Identified

Everyone experiences social stress, whether it is nervousness over a job interview, difficulty meeting people at parties, or angst over giving a speech. In a new report, UCLA researchers have discovered that how your brain responds to social stressors can influence the body's immune system in ways that may negatively affect health.

Lead author George Slavich, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, and senior author Shelley Taylor, a UCLA professor of psychology, show that individuals who exhibit greater neural sensitivity to social rejection also exhibit greater increases in inflammatory activity to social stress.

And although such increases can be adaptive, chronic inflammation can increase the risk of a variety of disorders, including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and depression.

The study appears in the current online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"It turns out, there are important differences in how people interpret and respond to social situations," Slavich said. "For example, some people see giving a speech in front of an audience as a welcome challenge; others see it as threatening and distressing. In this study, we sought to examine the neural bases for these differences in response and to understand how these differences relate to biological processes that can affect human health and well-being."

Possible Alternate Therapy for Adults With Poorly Controlled Asthma

A drug commonly used for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) successfully treats adults whose asthma is not well-controlled on low doses of inhaled corticosteroids, reported researchers supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

"This study's results show that tiotropium bromide might provide an alternative to other asthma treatments, expanding options available to patients for controlling their asthma," said NHLBI Acting Director Susan B. Shurin, M.D. "The goal in managing asthma is to prevent symptoms so patients can pursue activities to the fullest."

According to the study, adding tiotropium bromide to low doses of inhaled corticosteroids is more effective at controlling asthma than doubling inhaled corticosteroids alone, and as effective as adding the long-acting beta agonist salmeterol. The results were published online September 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the Annual Congress of the European Respiratory Society in Barcelona, Spain.

Black Rice Bran May Help Fight Disease-Related Inflammation

Scientists are reporting evidence that black rice -- a little-known variety of the grain that is the staple food for one-third of the world population -- may help soothe the inflammation involved in allergies, asthma, and other diseases.

Their study appears in ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Mendel Friedman and colleagues point out that their previous research showed several potential health benefits of eating black rice bran. Bran is the outer husk of the grain, which is removed during the processing of brown rice to produce the familiar white rice. Those experiments, which were done in cell cultures, hinted that black rice bran suppressed the release of histamine, which causes inflammation.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Healing with water: the work of "water cure" pioneer Dr. Batmanghelidj

Those of you who are familiar with the work of the late Dr B. may own his book called "The Water Cure," or "Water for health, for Healing, for Life: You're Not Sick, You're Thirsty." He's also the author of "Your Body's Many Cries for Water." Essentially, Dr. B is the foremost authority on the relationship between the consumption of water and states of health or disease in the human body.

As he explains in great detail in his many books, most common diseases (for which there are a variety of names such as asthma, arthritis, hypertension and so on) are really just names given to patterns of symptoms created by the body's drought management system. When the human body begins to get dehydrated, it initiates a drought management system that seeks to conserve water. The symptoms characterized by this drought management effort are given disease names by conventional medicine and then treated with toxic prescription drugs.

Here's a straightforward example of what I'm talking about: the brain must be kept hydrated at all times. So the body, when it is lacking water, will do everything possible to keep supplying adequate water to the brain. This involves limiting the loss of water in other areas of the body. As Dr. B points out, simply breathing causes the loss of a significant quantity of water each and every day, depending on the climate in which you live and your level of physical exercise.

If you are experiencing chronic dehydration from not drinking enough water, or from drinking water-depleting drinks such as coffee, beer or beverages containing sugar, your body tries to prevent respiratory water loss by producing histamines which close off the capillaries in your lungs. Through the constriction of these capillaries, water loss is reduced, but of course breathing is made far more difficult. It's important to understand that the body is doing this on purpose. The body is producing histamines as a strategy, not as a disease or something gone awry. The body wants to constrict the capillaries in your lungs because it is trying to save your brain.

Asthma attacks found to be caused by suppressed immune system

A study published in the journal Nature Medicine has found that asthma sufferers have low levels of an immune system protein that acts as the lungs' first defense against the cold viruses that can cause severe asthma attacks.

Researchers from Imperial College and the Medical Research Council Centre on Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma compared the lung cells of people with and without asthma, and found that asthma sufferers have low levels of interferon -- an antiviral protein generated by the immune system to fight off common cold viruses called rhinovirus. The researchers found a direct correlation between low levels of the protein and higher severity of asthma attacks.

"The discovery of this mechanism could be of huge importance in how we treat asthma attacks," says Professor Sebastian Johnston, the study's lead researcher. "Delivery of the deficient interferons by inhalers could be an ideal way to treat and prevent severe attacks of asthma, potentially vastly improving the quality of life for many asthma patients."

Johnston's team is currently conducting trials to discover why asthma sufferers have low interferon levels, as well as how to treat them. Asthma experts have welcomed the results of the study, and are working on treatments to increase levels of interferon in asthma patients.

"What this study really shows," explained Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate, "is that asthma should be treated by supporting the patient's immune system function, not by hijacking the biochemistry of the lungs with synthetic chemicals and antihistamines. Conventional medical researchers look at these results and conclude that interferons should be artificially blasted into the lungs," Adams adds, "but the more obvious solution is to help patients manufacture their own interferon proteins, which they do freely and automatically when immune function is restored through nutritional therapies, stress reduction, avoidance of toxic chemicals and other natural health strategies."

Foods That Cure Asthma and Allergies

Outbreaks of asthma and allergies have increased considerably since the early 1980s.  Asthma statistics outline a jump of 74% for children between the ages of 5-14 years and 160% for children under four years old, according to the National Institutes of Health.  Additionally, one of every four children in the U.S. also suffers from some type of allergy.  With annual costs in the billions, researchers offer a glimpse of hope for a natural cure.

Earlier this month, published findings in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology from a seven-year study of 460 Spanish children concluded that a definitive link exists between symptom-free children and a diet rich in "fruity vegetables" and fish.  Fruity vegetables are those that grow from a blossom in the plant that comes from seed; such veggies include tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, green beans, cucumbers and butternut squash, among others.

Scientists explain that the protective effects of this type of diet were irrefutable, and were very specific to this kind of vegetables.  Researchers tested different types of foods such as diary, meats and vegetables, but only fruity vegetables and fish were beneficial to these conditions.

Although this is not the first study that links a benefit of a diet rich in fish and vegetables to health improvement, the findings here are quite powerful as the researchers followed the children from the womb until age six, taking the mother's dietary habits into consideration among other factors.  Incidents of asthma and allergies were reduced significantly in children consuming more than 2 oz of fish and 1½ oz of fruity vegetables a day.

Common asthma inhaler causing deaths, researchers assert

Three common asthma inhalers containing the drugs salmeterol or formoterol may be causing four out of five U.S. asthma-related deaths per year and should be taken off the market, researchers from Cornell and Stanford universities have concluded after a search of medical literature.

They base these conclusions on a statistical analysis of 19 published trials involving 33,826 patients. This so-called meta-analysis found that patients who inhaled the long-acting beta-agonists salmeterol (trade names Serevent and Advair, both made by GlaxoSmithKline) or formoterol (trade name Foradil, made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals) were 3.5 times more likely to die from asthma and 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized (whether or not death resulted), compared with those taking a placebo.

The reason, say the researchers, is because although these medications relieve asthma symptoms, they also promote bronchial inflammation and sensitivity without warning.

Why Scented Products (Fakegrances) Are Not Safe

If all fake fragrances (I call them fakegrances) were banned tomorrow, the world would be a dramatically healthier place by the following day. That's not going to happen, but the more people who refuse to use them in any form, the faster they'll disperse (so to speak). But watch out, those who manufacture products containing fakegrances are sneaky. The word "unscented" usually means that fragrances have been used to cover up fragrances. To actually avoid fragrances you have to look for the words "fragrance free" on the label. By fake fragrances I mean that they're not found in nature. Oh sure, they may smell like a rose, or mint, or apple, but what goes into creating that aroma has nothing to do with the flower or fruit. Virtually all perfumes, scented laundry soaps and fabric softeners, so-called air fresheners (they should be called air poisoners) and many cleaning products are scented with fakegrances. Even dry cleaners are getting into the act, handing back clothes that are clean, pressed and exuding fragrance. Perfumes are All Fake Well, almost all. Unless they're pure essential oils, they're made from a nasty brew of dozens if not hundreds of chemicals which are, of course, a secret. For example, the benzene family of chemicals tends to have a sweetish aroma that is very popular among perfumers. The benzenes are petroleum-based, so they're cheap, easy to come by, and, by the way, a known cause of leukemia. It was one thing when a woman spritzed some benzene on her wrist before a romantic evening, but it's quite another when it's everywhere from clothes to cars to the restroom in the dentist's office. Or how about those phthalates, plastics that can interfere with the normal sexual development of a fetus or infant. Phthalates have recently been banned from toys in California which is great, but how about clothes and bed sheets? Apparently phthalates make perfumes stick around longer so they're in just about everything scented. Asthmatics Should Look for Fakegrances as Causes I don't want to downplay those good old-fashioned allergens such as ragweed and cats, but according to the Environmental Working Group, "Fragrance formulas are considered to be among the top five known allergens and can trigger asthma attacks." Are doctors giving this information to their asthmatic patients? Not very often. I'll bet you didn't know that many processed foods contain fakegrances. Take for example diacetyl, a chemical that gives microwave popcorn its buttery flavor and aroma, and also causes serious lung disease when heated and inhaled frequently. Diacetyl is being phased out of microwave popcorn, but not before many popcorn factory workers were permanently disabled by it. Now it might take a lot of microwave popcorn fumes to knock down an adult, but how about a child with asthma? For optimal health, it's important to avoid fakegrances, and it's also important to speak up if they're in a public area. You'll be amazed at how many other people will suddenly admit they hate fakegrances when you speak up. If someone in your workplace is using heavy perfume, or there's a so-called air freshener in the restroom, do something about it. You have a right to breathe clean air. How about products that claim to be "natural scented"? Sorry about that, but "naturally scented" means absolutely nothing. It probably smells like something in nature such as apple or rose or jasmine, but it's likely made from the same old nasty chemical brew, complete with carcinogens, xenohormones and allergens. The only way to be sure that a scented product is for real is to read the label. If it says, "pure essential oils" or "lavender oil" for example, it's the genuine article.

Ginseng Reverses Lung Damage in Asthma

Asthma is a disease of the airways and lungs where airflow both in and out of the lungs is restricted. It is characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. Most asthmatics have intermittent "attacks" and are symptom free at other times. Some asthmatics however, are never symptom free. Over time, there is damage to the tissues of the lungs and until now, this damage was thought to be irreversible.

Current asthma therapies such as inhaled steroids are effective in reducing inflammation but do nothing to heal the tissues of the airways. These drugs also have serious side effects such as cataracts, osteoporosis and decreased immune response. New therapeutic options that have fewer side effects and reverse chronic changes in the lungs are essential. This study aimed to determine if oral administration of ginseng would reverse lung histopathology (cell damage).

Broccoli Protects Against Asthma, Rhinitis and Lung Disease

If you don't already eat broccoli regularly, you could be putting your ability to breathe easily at risk. The reason? Research by University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) scientists concludes sulforaphane, a natural compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower), appears to protect against respiratory inflammation that causes asthma, allergic rhinitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions that make it hard to breathe.

Free radicals have long been known to cause oxidative tissue damage -- and that can lead to inflammation and respiratory disorders such as COPD and asthma. The new study, just published in the March edition of the journal Clinical Immunology, documents that sulforaphane found in broccoli triggers an increase of antioxidant enzymes which protects the airways against free radicals that most people breathe daily every time they are in polluted air, pollen, diesel exhaust and tobacco smoke.

Pollution Causes Genetic Changes that Lead to Asthma

Prenatal exposure to air pollution appears to cause genetic changes that predispose unborn infants to asthma later in life, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the Center for Environmental Genetics a the University of Cincinnati and published in the journal PLoS ONE.

"Our data support the concept that environmental exposures can interact with genes during key developmental periods to trigger disease onset later in life, and that tissues are being reprogrammed to become abnormal later," lead researcher Shuk-mei Ho said.

Researchers had pregnant women wear backpack air monitors that analyzed the women's exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a type of pollution produced by combustion that is characteristic of the air in high-traffic areas. The researchers also examined the expression of the ACSL3 gene in their unborn children.

High maternal exposure to PAHs was significantly associated with chemical changes in the fetus related to the expression of ASCL3. At the age of five, children who had exhibited these changes in the womb were significantly more likely to have asthma than children who had not. The researchers believe that air pollution induces changes in gene expression without actually changing the structure of the gene itself, as in a mutation.

"We know that children living in polluted areas have a higher incidence of asthma but what we didn't know was it was affecting a gene," said Keith Prowse, vice-president of the British Lung Foundation. "If you look at cord blood and you find the gene has been modified you know the child is more likely to get asthma so you can treat them early."

Scientists know that ASCL3 is expressed in the lung, and believe that it plays a role in setting or maintaining the structure of cell membranes. They do not yet know exactly how expression of the gene contributes to the development of asthma.

Sources for this story include: news.bbc.co.uk.

Benefits of Hypnosis in Treating Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition affecting the lungs. It causes inflammation of the airways and causes people with asthma to be more sensitive to the particles they breathe in. Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness. Symptoms can be mild or they can be severe. Severe symptoms of asthma are known as asthma attacks. Many alternative treatments such as hypnosis, relaxation, yoga, and stress management have been found to be highly effective (Bray, Kehle, Peck, Margiano, Dobson, Peczynski, Gardner, Theodore, & Arlic, 2006).

Asthma affects 20 million people in the United States and it is estimated that 9 million are children under the age of 18. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), every day 40,000 American's with asthma miss school or work; 30,000 have an asthma attack; 5,000 visit the emergency room; 1,000 are admitted to a hospital; and 11 people die. These statistics show that asthma is a serious chronic condition that demands attention.

Prevent Asthma and Allergy Symptoms Naturally

Many years ago, an Iranian doctor named Dr. Batmanghelidj reported on the occurrence of asthma and allergies with states of chronic dehydration. Although the connection was plausible, the science had not been done to back up this claim. Today, more science has been conducted to look at this phenomena and the relationship seems valid.

Both asthma and allergies are due to abnormal immune responses. Under both conditions, simple irritants cause massive inflammatory attacks that damage tissue. The key question is always: Why is my body not healing itself? The answer is always the same: Toxicity and/or Deficiency. A common and easily addressed deficiency that is present in what is estimated to be anywhere between 80-98% of society is chronic dehydration.

Acetaminophen Linked to Asthma

Childhood asthma, a common disorder which causes shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness in the chest, has just been linked to the use of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is widely used as an over the counter pain reliever in children because of its perceived safety.

Asthma in children has actually been on the rise at an alarming rate for the past two decades. Aside from speculation about dietary and environmental causes, there has not been solid evidence as to what the real cause is for this increase.

That is, until now. Studies have shown that acetaminophen use in toddlers resulted in asthma-like symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty catching breath. The correlation occurred because symptoms were noticed directly after taking this popular over the counter pain reliever.

Eating hamburgers linked to Asthma

Children who eat three or more hamburgers a week may be more likely to develop asthma than children who eat fewer burgers, according to a study published in the journal Thorax.

The researchers studied more than 50,000 children in 20 countries between 1995 and 2005. Parents of participants were asked about their children's diet and medical history, including incidence of wheezing or diagnosis with asthma. The researchers found that among children living in richer countries, eating three or more burgers per week was significantly associated with a higher risk of asthma. This effect was not seen in less wealthy countries.