AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: allergies

Gut bacteria effects the development of allergies!

Have you wondered why some people have allergies and some don’t? Well, researchers have found that the lack of certain gut bacteria can play a role in the development of allergies and autoimmune diseases.

Cornell Medicine researchers have uncovered an intriguing connection between gut bacteria and early immune system development. Their study, published in Science Immunology, reveals that certain bacteria in newborns produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter crucial for educating gut immune cells, particularly T-regulatory cells (Tregs). Tregs, or regulatory T cells, are a specialized subset of white blood cells that suppress immune responses to maintain immune tolerance and prevent autoimmune diseases. Tregs play a vital role in preventing allergic reactions to food and gut microbes during infancy. The findings shed light on the importance of beneficial gut bacteria in early immune system training and may offer insights into combating allergies and autoimmune diseases later in life.

This relates to AP bio through the importance of neurotransmitters in this research. In AP bio, we learned how neurons transport messages using a process involving neurotransmitters. In the process of transport for neurons, neurons communicate messages through a sequence of events involving electrical and chemical signals. When stimulated, a neuron generates an electrical impulse known as an action potential. This action potential travels along the neuron’s length, eventually reaching its terminal branches called axon terminals. Here, neurotransmitters are released into the synapse, the gap between neurons. These neurotransmitters bind to receptors on the neighboring neuron, causing changes in its electrical potential. If the combined effect of these changes reaches a certain threshold, it triggers the generation of a new action potential in the receiving neuron. This process repeats, allowing messages to be relayed from neuron to neuron throughout the nervous system.

Wow! It’s so fascinating how a person’s levels of certain bacteria can influence whether or not a person has allergies. I wonder how else can bacteria can influence a person’s health?

A New Step for Fighting Allergies Has Been Taken

Scientists are one step closer to resolving your allergies. New studies have found that certain immune cells are responsible for causing allergic reactions to harmless things such as pollen, peanuts, and dander. Understanding where these allergens come from allows scientists to dive deeper into cures for them.

Depiction of a person suffering from Allergic Rhinitis

How Do Allergies Develop?

Allergies occur when the antibody IgE is released on innocuous proteinsIgE is produced by memory B cells. It is designed to ward off bacterial infections and neutralize toxins. However, sometimes it triggers an immune response to harmless substances. When a person is first exposed to an allergen, they release a large amount of IgE. The next time they are exposed to the allergen, they may have an allergic reaction. Specific memory B cells called MBC2s are responsible for remembering the proteins that spark the allergic reactions. As we learned in AP Biology, when the immune system is triggered, large amounts of responses occur in the body. The body will physically respond with symptoms such as hives, fever, or even anaphylactic shock. These symptoms are in parallel to symptoms of allergic reactions. These symptoms are in an attempt to rid the body of the invader. Inside of the body, the response begins with proteins on macrophages displaying the invader antigen and releases cytokines. T helper cells recognize the antigen and trigger an attack response. T killer cells kill infected cells while B plasma cells secrete antibodies to bind and neutralize the invader. The macrophages then eat and destroy it. Finally, T memory cells prevent reinfection while B memory cells patrol the plasma to prevent reinfection. This entire response occurs to people with allergies when there is a non-threatening pathogen in the system. 

Primary immune response 1

The Studies

Immunologist Joshua Koenig studied 90,000 people with allergies and their B-memory cells. He used RNA sequencing to find the specific memory-B cells, MBC2s, making the antibodies responsible for immune responses against parasitic worms and allergies. In people with peanut allergies, Koenig found an increased amount of MBC2s and an enhanced amount of IgE antibodies. 


In immunologist Maria Curotto de Lafaille’s study, she sampled children with and without allergies. She also found that children with allergies have more MBC2 cells than children without allergies. She found that cells switch from making protective IgE antibodies to allergy causing ones. Before the switch, cells made IgE, but not the protein. The RNA enables the antibody to switch the type of antibody it makes when it encounters an allergen. The signal switch depends on a protein called JAK. Stopping JAK production could prevent memory cells from switching to IgE production in contact with allergens. 


The Future

If scientists can find a way to manage the production of IgEs when in contact with harmless allergens, we could be looking at a potential cure for allergies! Would you participate in a treatment for allergies if it was applicable to you?

This Immune Cell Might Be the Key to Getting Rid of Your Allergies

There is still so much to discover about the human body. Since we are made up of 100 trillion cells, we are constantly learning more and more each day about our cells, their functions, and the processes that they contribute to.

One such cell, known as an innate lymphoid cell, was discovered about a decade ago, but all we knew was that it functions similarly to T-cells. As we learned in AP Biology, helper T-cells cells play a large role in our adaptive immune system response, releasing cytokines, which activate more helper T-cells, cytotoxic T-cells, and B-cells to fight invading pathogens and infected cells. Innate lymphoid cells are also able to release cytokines but are a part of the innate immune system, hence why they are known as the innate counterparts of T-cells. Because of their overlapping functions, many scientists believed their function to be redundant and unnecessary… until now!

ILC Cell 3

Research from the Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Group led by Dr. Christoph Klose in Charité has shown that group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) are a vital part of the immune response. By using an animal model and single-cell sequencing, the scientists were able to determine the main functions of ILC2s. The team found that the presence of ILC2s relates to the development of eosinophils, disease-fighting white blood cells, which help promote the immune response of inflammation. Without ILC2 present, eosinophils were not fully developed and were unable to get involved in the inflammatory processes in the tissue. The scientists also discovered that ILC2s promote epithelial cells to produce mucus and expel parasites from the body. Without ILC2s, it became increasingly difficult to produce mucus in the tissue and to combat parasites. With this study, ILC2s have finally been recognized for their own roles in the immune response!

Dr. Klose took this study one step further by examining the relationship between ILC2s and symptoms of allergies. As inflammation and increased mucus production are common symptoms of allergies and ILC2s are linked to both, it is understandable the results demonstrated symptoms of allergies were improved when ILC2s were not present. Dr. Klose hopes to conduct further research on these cells and believes they may be the key to developing new allergy therapies. It is incredible to see how gaining a better understanding of one of our cells can unlock a door to new treatments, medications, and advancements in the field of medicine.




Allergic to Water? Insight into Aquagenic Urticaria the allergy to water.

Your favorite Biology blogger, Monoseanaride, is here to educate biology lovers all across the globe on Aquagenic Urticaria, also known as, the allergy to water. This is a special that you do not want to miss out on.


Aquagenic Urticaria (AU) is an extremely rare disease that causes an allergic reaction when coming into contact with water. This allergic reaction includes urticaria forming on the area where the water came into contact with the skin. This disease is mostly found in women, and the symptoms usually begin at the onset of puberty.




Aquagenic Urticaria (AU) was first discovered by Shelley and Ramsey back in 1964 when they reported three cases. One case was a 19-year-old boy who had reported multiple episodes of urticaria. The second case was a four-year-old boy who suffered from the same symptoms as the 19-year-old man. Both patients suffered from pinhead-sized wheals around their bodies. Neither patient had any reaction from ingesting water, after multiple experiments, it was concluded that this reaction was caused by the water touching the surface of the skin. There was no case report on the third initial case discovered. Since these initial findings, fewer than 100 cases have been reported since.

Symptoms and Treatment-

The symptoms of AU include an itchy and painful rash after coming into contact with water. The rash is most commonly found on the neck, arms, and chest. The rash can form within minutes of coming into contact with water. Symptoms begin to fade after drying off in 30-60 minutes. In extreme cases symptoms can ensue on the digestion of water, these symptoms could include: wheezing, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, and a rash around the mouth. There is no official cure for AU. In the original diagnosis of AU doses of Fexofenadine were prescribed to help alleviate symptoms. Now antihistamines are given to help reverse the allergy-induced effects of AU.


This reaction is caused by the release of a chemical called histamine the chemical responsible for fighting off the symptoms of an allergic reaction. There is no evidence as to where this disease originated, but there are two theories. Some scientists believe that a substance dissolved in water enters the skin and causes the hives. This theory the scientists believe that it is an allergen in the water, rather than water itself causing the hives. The second theory posits that interaction between water and a substance found in, or on our skin creates a toxic material, which leads to the hives. It is unsure whether or not the disease can be inherited. In most cases AU is appeared sporadically, although there have been familial cases discovered, such as this one family who was passed through three generations.

Why Water is necessary for human life-

The human body is made up of about 60%, the brain and heart are made up of about 73% water, the lungs are made up of about 83% water, the skins and muscles are made of 64% water, and the bones are made up of about 31% water. Water is essential for animals and plants for reasons more than to quench thirst, or to shower, but rather because it is known as the universal solvent. Water is notorious for its capabilities to dissolve many different molecules. That’s not all though, water is used for many things such as aiding cell transport, cellular structure, and even is part of multiple chemical reactions such as photosynthesis in plants, and dehydration synthesis, a chemical reaction that helps connect monomers to make polymers, in animals. Water helps the folding of amino acids inside the cell. Water is also seen going through the cell membrane in a process called Osmosis, a process that spreads water to areas of high concentration and obtains equilibrium. 

We Didn’t Start the Fire…Gut Microbes Did.

Many scientists have hypothesized that infants’ gut microbiota could influence the development of their immune system. Recently, a test led by Drs. Christine C. Johnson at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and Susan Lynch at the University of California, San Francisco, but this theory to test. Specifically, they set out to examine the relationship between an infant’s gut microbiota and their relative risk of atopy and asthma. The researchers inspected the composition of gut microbes in stool samples from almost 300 infants—all part of a diverse study group born in and around Detroit between 2003 and 2007—by means of examining sequence variation within ribosomal RNA. Ultimately, the team found that the infants could be divided into 3 separate groups, each with distinct bacterial and fungal gut microbiota.

When blood samples obtained from the infants at 2 years of age were tested for sensitivity to allergens, the 3 microbiota groups had significantly different risks for allergen sensitivity. The “high-risk” microbiota group had a relatively lower abundance of certain bacteria and a higher level of some fungi, and was more likely to be diagnosed with asthma at 4 years of age. This seeming link between gut microbiota and allergy and asthma was also manifested when other factors associated with allergic disease—such as breastfeeding—were controlled. Moreover, the researchers found that the high-risk group had a distinct set of metabolites that lacked anti-inflammatory fatty acids and breast milk-derived oligosaccharides that were found in children in the low-risk microbiota group, increasing vulnerability to inflammation.

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Neonatal gut microbiota play a huge role in health and disease (Credit: Eric Atkins)

The researchers also mixed immune cells from healthy adult donors in solutions containing metabolites extracted from the infant’s stool samples. The high-risk group’s metabolite samples increased the amount of allergy-promoting immune cells interleukin-4, a cell-signaling protein associated with allergies, and also reduced T-regulatory cells, an essential group of immune cells that suppress allergic responses. This reduction in T-regulatory cells was also spurred by a lipid that the team identified, called 12,13-DiHOME, that was found at high levels in the high-risk group. Discussing this finding, Lynch expressed to The Scientist, “That for me is incredibly exciting as it suggests that microbial-associated metabolites in the neonatal gut may represent an important driver of early-life immune cell phenotypes associated with disease development in childhood.”

The team plans to conduct a similar study that will focus on environmental factors and how they may affect the development of the gut microbiota. According to Lynch, “Understanding the basis of human-microbial development may prove critical to unraveling the basis of allergy and asthma and to developing preventative therapeutic strategies.”

Could Hygiene Be Making Us Sick?

In today’s world, people are more cautious than ever about cleanliness and hygiene. One would be hard- pressed to walk into an elementary school where hand sanitizer lined the halls and a plethora of foods weren’t avoided. It seems as if the parenting goal of the 21st century is to sterilize every surface that their child tries to touch. But could this shelter of cleanliness actually be making these children more susceptible to illness?


The National Microbiome Initiative has reason to believe so. Via attentive study of the diversity of bacteria that call the human body home, scientists have determined that sterilizing the world of a young child may inhibit the development of his or her microbiome and consequent immune abilities. Scientists have determined that proper exposure to “dirt” plays a vital part in “training” the immune response to bodily intruders. Although a human’s bacterial microbiome is mostly formed within the first 100 days of life, continued exposure to foreign substances is vital for its proper development. Whether it be a strain of bacteria, a peanut, or a certain animal, when children aren’t exposed to the full range of microbes that the world has to offer they develop with a lower capability to manage them.

Since this generation of children are growing up in an increasingly sterile world, it is intuitive that the prevalence of allergies has skyrocketed. In a 2016 study at the University of California San Francisco, researchers found that one- month old children who lacked particular gut microbes were three times as likely to develop an allergy by age two. Their immune response is not properly trained to distinguish between what belongs in the human body and what is an intruder, and thus is more likely to mistake something as banine as a peanut or gluten for an intruder.

Although pediatric hygiene is important, maybe it’s time for parents to stop putting a Clorox wipe to every surface their children touch. Who knows? A tumble in the playground dirt may help develop a toddler’s microbiome and not just scuff up their jeans.

What came first, the chicken, the egg, or the allergic reaction?

A new study showed the beneficial effects CRISPR/Cas9 can have on those with allergies… in this case, to chickens! For those who don’t know, CRISPR/Cas9 is a gene-editing tool that is used to target certain parts of DNA and modify, disable or enable them. The tool haScreen Shot 2016-04-11 at 12.45.11 AMs been used all across science to inhibit diseases, fix problems with fetuses, change traits, and now to help genetically modify food. Using CRISPR/Cas9 is different than the current definition of genetically modified, which includes injecting chemicals into the food to maximize the amount or change some part of it. This means we humans are ingesting the chemicals; this has led to many concerns. However, CRISPR/Cas9 uses a different approach.

In this specific example, CRISPR/Cas9 creates knockout chickens, or chickens that have had their genes “knocked out”, turned off. Specifically, the ovalbumin (OVA) and the ovomucoid (OVM) genes.  These genes code for proteins that are found in egg whites. It has been discovered that many people are allergic to the proteins produced, so CRISPR/Cas9 targets the genes and turns them off and no proteins are produced. These “genetically modified” eggs are the same as regular eggs just hypoallergenic. In addition, some vaccines are made with egg whites, CRISPR/Cas9 will make it possible for the people who usually have an immune response to the egg whites in those vaccines, to safely receive them. One of the most notable vaccines that uses egg whites is influenza, a very popular vaccine that most of the population receives, and those who couldn’t were at a disadvantage before CRISPR/Cas9. The scientists have said they will continue to cross the modified chickens to see if they are able to knockout more common allergens. So no matter if the chicken or the egg came first, they are now both safe to consume by humans.


Infants’ Feces Says a Lot about the Gut Microbiome

Who knew studying babies’ poop can actually lead to amazing discoveries about childbirth, breastfeeding, antibiotics, allergies, and asthma?

That’s exactly what scientists Fredrik Bäckhed and Jovanna Dahlgren at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Wang Jun at the Beijing Genomics Institute-Shenzhen, China recently learned when they conducted a study analyzing feces from 98 Swedish infants.

But before we get into the details of the study, let’s get down the basics first. What exactly is the gut microbiome?

Gut microbiome is the name given to the population of microbiota organisms that live in the human intestine. These microorganisms are unique, not only because there are trillions of them but also because they have milliions of genes, and can function as a person’s identity card (much like a fingerprint or a strand of hair).

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Recently there’s been a lot of buzz in the science world about the gut microbiome because it seems as though it plays various crucial functions, and this study is just one of many. The Swedish and Chinese scientists discovered a few ways in how the gut microbiome affects childbirth, breastfeeding, and development.

There are two ways to give birth: vaginally or via a cesarean section, or C-section. Comparing the feces collected from babies born vaginally and from babies born via C-section, scientists discovered that the feces from the latter contains a significantly less similar microbiome to the microbiome of their mothers.

They also determined that nutrition during the early stages of an infant’s life is a core factor in the development of the gut microbiome.

Our findings surprisingly demonstrated that cessation of breastfeeding, rather than introduction of solid foods, is the major driver in the development of an adult-like microbiota

-Fredrik Bäckhed, lead study author

Bacteria rely on the mother’s milk to grow. Once the bacteria’s access to that milk stops, the bacteria stops growing. In its place, adult-like microorganisms emerge.

In addition, the gut microbiome acts as nutrients and vitamins to the infant’s growth and development, and gives aid to important processes such as making amino acids.

The study also critiques the amount of antibiotics given to babies when they’re born. There’s speculation that the baby’s gut microbiome is negatively impacted by the overabundance and overexposure of antibiotics. Besides the obvious risk of antibiotic resistance, one hypothesis is that when exposed to antibiotics early on, the gut microbiome loses important bacteria that helps immune cells mature. This is believed to be the reason why allergies and asthma are now widely prevalent.

Though this study is just a preliminary, it’s amazing just how big of an effect the gut microbiome has on us, and how much new research is coming out.

Want to learn more about the gut microbiome? Check out other sources about the microbiome, such as it’s relationship on the brain, and how it can change the brain’s function, how it can help reduce weight, and junk food’s negative impact on it, and make sure to comment below!



Original Article

A Breath of Fresh Air: Epigenetic Studies Help Asthmatics

Asthma and allergies affect many people worldwide. Up until recently, treatments for both asthma and allergies were administered without an appropriate prediction of responses; However, this is about to change. In a recent study conducted by scientists at Imperial College London, “30 new genes that predispose people to allergies and asthma” were found. The discovery of these genes means that new treatments for allergies are possible and more accurate predictions for current treatment responses will be available.

Photo by Author

Photo by Author

By observing the epigenetic changes, ones that influence gene activity- not genetic code, the scientists were able to identify genes which are linked to triggering allergic responses. Such genes regulate specific antibodies. Genes become inactive through methylation: the attachment of methyl molecules to DNA. The scientists studied white blood cells of families with asthma to see if methylation levels in specific genomic locations were associated with levels of an antibody in the blood. Immunoglobin E (IgE) is the antibody studied in the case. The antibody IgE was known prior to this study, but the genes which activities it regulates were not. After monitoring the IgE levels in the blood, researchers saw a strong correlation between IgE and low methylation at 36 places in 34 genes. These genes are overstimulated in asthmatics, thus the production of IgE is increased, contributing to asthma symptoms. In expanding the investigation, researchers came to believe that IgE-involved genes may activate eosinophils, a type of white blood cell which in asthmatics promotes airway inflammation by gathering and releasing chemicals in airways/lungs. Researchers believed that these genes, and their ability to activate eosinophils, then cause the most damage. In order to test this, researchers isolated eosinophils from the blood of subjects and demonstrated that all 34 genes have high activity levels in asthmatics with high IgE levels. Thanks to the findings of new activation signals, patients can avoid high costs and ineffective “treatment-trials” because we’ll be able to predict responses to treatments with more accuracy. Professors Cookson and Moffatt, the leaders of the investigation, give credit to epigenetics for allowing them to make a breakthrough in discovering new potential drug targets for allergies and asthma and sharpening the accuracy of treatment-response predictions. Professor Cookson explained that, “the genetic code that can influence disease and DNA sequencing can only take you so far. Our study shows that modifications on top of the DNA that control how genes are read may be even more important.”

As someone who suffers from allergic asthma, I find it intriguing how the disease-triggering genes aren’t inactive, thus leading to poor lung function, but rather they are overstimulated. Our genes’ ability to regulate disease-triggering antibody activity is amazing. With new studies like this one, we can see that the solution to proper activity regulation is in epigenetic changes, rather than the broad expectations of “our genes”.  This just goes to show that epigenetics is helping us make strides in the ever-changing world of medicine. It should be interesting to see how epigenetic medical-solutions, the current gold mine of Biological research, evolve in the near future.


Biggest Ever Epigenetics Project!!



Identical Twins


This article is about a project that has recently been planned out with respect to

epigenetics. It is the largest project to date and will cost around $30,000,000 to complete. Epigenetics is the study of cellular and psychological trait variations that are not caused by DNA sequence, but rather what within the DNA is triggered and shown. It is a relatively new field and has exploded in recent years. The heads of this project are TwinsUK and BGI, both very credited organizations in the realm of epigenetics. Epigenetics is the newest and recently the most popular field of all genetics and the goal of this project is to use the twins and the resources given to understand why and how epigenetics occurs.

The plan is to review the patterns of 20,000,000 sites in the DNA of each identical twin (they must be identical because their DNA must be the same and not vary) and compare the DNA with the other twins. The aim is to not look at similarities, but to look at differences and figure out how twins get different diseases if their DNA is identical. They will focus on obesity, diabetes, allergies, heart diseases, etc. at first. Until recently, science did not understand why twins could receive different diseases since their DNA is identical to their other twin, but by studying epigenetics and how genes can be triggered to do different things based on surroundings and circumstance, this idea is plausible.

Being able to locate what genes turn on to trigger certain diseases along with how to control this is something that will benefit not only our general knowledge but will also advance health care to levels that it has never seen. Experiments such as this have been done before but only with a handful of twins. The goal in this experiment is to increase the amount of twins tremendously in order to increase the accuracy of their data.

The Executive Director of BGI, Professor Jun Wang stated that the goal of this experiment is to “unlock many secrets about human genetics that we don’t currently understand, and to accelerate research and applications in human healthcare.”


Anti-bacteria or Pro-allergy?

Remember triclosan? You know, that anti-bacteria agent we once talked about? Well, according to a new story in the Norwegian Environment and Childhood Asthma Study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and an American study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, triclosan can contribute to an increased risk of allergy development in children.

As we know it, triclosan

  • is used to prevent bacterial growth
  • does not work against all types of bacteria
  • added mostly to cosmetic products such as toothpaste, deodorant and soap
  • also added to kitchen utensils and textiles
  • little triclosan is absorbed through the skin
  • significant absorption through the mucous membranes in the mouth (toothpaste)
  • has been in use for over 40 years in some products
  • from animal experiments we know that triclosan acts to reinforce the development of Immunoglobulin (IgE) towards allergens

In the study, 623 urine samples were collected and measured at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, USA. Approximately 50 per cent of the Norwegian children had detectable levels of triclosan, while 80 per cent of American children had measurable levels. The children had approximately the same amount of triclosan exposure. The new Norwegian study found similar associations between allergies and triclosan levels measured in children’s urine. The study found that triclosan levels measured in urine were associated with elevated levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and rhinitis (blocked nose/hay fever) in 10 year-olds.

When in contact with triclosan, ones bacteria on the skin, in the mouth, and in the intestines can be compromised. Some of the bacteria destroyed is “good” bacteria which can cause an increased risk of developing allergies (hygiene hypothesis). Therefore, increased use of triclosan and antibacterial products has generally been associated with an increased incidence of allergies.

In a study of triclosan use in Norway in 2001, it was found that 85 per cent of the total amount of triclosan came from cosmetic products, of which 75 per cent were toothpaste. Since this study, triclosan has been removed from a variety of products.

For products to make sure you stay away from, please visit this link.

 (Taken by Nationaal Archief)


Your child isn’t nuts, he just can’t eat them!

Have you ever been immunized? If you are reading this, live in the United States, and attended any form of schooling of course the answer is yes! You have taken precautions to ensure that you do not get sick from things like the Flu or Chicken Pox. Just like you wouldn’t want to get sick from the flu, you shouldn’t want to get sick from allergies!  As a young woman who has intolerances to gluten, corn, soy, lactose and a tree nut allergy, I know allergies should not be taken lightly. Parents are beginning to diagnose food allergies and do not bother to inform their child’s physician.

Photo by Hannah W.

According to a study done by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the official publication of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

  • 70 percent report receiving a physician’s diagnosis for their child’s food allergy
  • Lower income and minority households were more likely to have a child with an undiagnosed food allergy.
  • Of the physician-diagnosed children, 32 percent did not receive diagnostic testing — such as a blood, skin or oral food challenge test.
  • A skin test was the most popular diagnostic test with 46 percent. A blood test was second with 39 percent.
  • Only 1 in 5 of reported that their child received an oral food challenge test — the gold standard of food allergy diagnose

Parents, for the most part, do not have the degrees or the smarts to fully treat their children’s allergies and keep their children safe without knowing the gravity of the allergies.

Here are key findings on the kind of reactions children had to the top nine food allergies, which are: egg, finfish, milk, peanut, sesame, shellfish, soy, tree nut and wheat:

  • Cutaneous symptoms, such as hives, puffy eyes or lips, and eczema occurred in 80 percent of food-induced anaphylactic reactions.
  • During severe, life-threatening reactions, hives only occurred in 40 percent of the cases and puffy eyes or lips in 34 percent of the cases
The findings show us that 20% of the time, it is not obvious that a child is in a life threatening situation due to food. That is why you need to 20% of the time anaphylaxis occurs.  If you have a young child, they also may not be able to communicate how they are feeling so it is important to be informed and stay safe. If you, or someone you know have discovered any food allergy or have had hives, puffy eyes, puffy lips, or eczema but don’t know the reason visit a doctor! There is no reason to not be safe and informed about your allergies.
To learn more about food allergies please visit this website.
Help yourself and your loved ones- get tested for food allergies!

Spring Allergies?

Photo Credit Flickr user: spakattacks

I don’t know about you but, I tend to have very severe environmental allergies in the spring. And spring is right around the corner! These allergies are often called hay fever. I came across an article that sheds light on some things one might be doing to aggravate spring allergies.

I found it very surprising that one of the things that can aggravate your allergy suffering is “noshing of fruits and veggies.” One of my favorite snacks is strawberries, but could this cause me more suffering during my allergy season? Many people who have seasonal allergies also suffer from pollen food allergy syndrome (also known as oral allergy syndrome). About 70 percent of people with birch tree allergies and about one in five people with grass allergies suffer from this condition. (my odds are pretty high).

You  might be wondering how you can tell if you have allergies or just a common cold. Here is an article that has more information on how to determine if you are sick with a cold or have allergies.

Now that I may have to stop snacking on fruit so much, I researched meals to help fight allergies. I also researched just some foods in general that will help with spring allergies, cause I most likely won’t have time to cook all those meals. Who knows maybe these foods could actually make a difference!

The best advice is not to procrastinate and start taking medicine before your symptoms will appear. There are many over the counter allergy medicines, but your allergist or doctor could always prescribe something stronger if necessary. Some experts are predicting spring of 2012 could be one of the worst allergy seasons in ten years due to the warmer temperatures in January. This increase in temperature has caused plants to begin blooming ahead of time. So I better stock up on some yogurt and fish!


Would you like allergies with that C section?

New born delivery baby photo

Although winter is annoyingly cold, at least there are some upsides, Christmas, hot coco, and a break from allergy season. For some people,the months from March to September can be horrible…if they have allergies. Their bodies feels sickly, their noses feel itchy, and their snot is icky. The loud sneezing can be so embarrassing, and they begin to wonder what they did to deserve this cruel and unusual punishment? NOTHING! If you are one of those people, don’t feel bad, it isn’t YOUR fault. Like most things in life, you can blame it on your parents. For keeping you too clean?

Scientist in Denmark have related the amount of allergies people have to the lifestyle they had growing up. According to studies done at Gentofte Hospital, the more babies and infants are introduced to bacteria at a young age, the more likely they won’t be as allergic to things.  “Reduced diversity of the intestinal microbiota during infancy was associated with increased risk of allergic disease at school age..But if there was considerable diversity, the risk was reduced, and the greater the variation, the lower the risk.” said Gentofte Hospital consultant Professor Hans Bisgaard.

The time to being exposing babies starts right at birth and up to three months later. Wait, does this mean after birth we should make babies visit EVERY wing in the hospital.

Stranger, the fact someone has allergies could rely on how they were delievered. In the womb, the infant is protected by the mother’s immune defences. As an infant is delivered it is surrounded by new bacteria. A study showed, that those babies who were born vaginally, and were exposed to all the bactieria in the mother’s rectum,  have much less allergies than the babies from a C section who weren’t as exposed to the bacteria in their mother.

However, Professor Bisgaard isn’t stopping his research at connecting early life factors to allergies, he has also connected it to asthma and hay fever. Bisgaard’s continued research might be able to tie diseaseas such as obesity and diabetes to another early life factors as well.

Who knows what other things we’ll be able to fault are parents with in the future?

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