Today's tree pollen count in Chicago is 1600, which is 100 more than the 1500 limit, which indicates a dangerous air quality warning. Dr. Joseph Leija, who performs the official allergy count for the Midwest states: "After only seven days of allergy count recording, we are documenting the first air quality alert in the 2012 allergy reporting season. This is the first day of spring and this air quality alert will make many Midwesterners very miserable." Today's official Gottlieb Allergy Count in Chicago is, "Trees Very High, Grass Low, Mold Low and Ragweed Low", which means that many people in Chicago will be complaining about headaches, sinus congestion, runny noses and fatigue today. Dr. Joseph Leija, allergist at Loyola's Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, is the only certified allergist by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily official allergy count for the Midwest.
Worldwide increases in the incidences of asthma, allergies, infectious and cardiovascular diseases will result from a variety of impacts of global climate change, including rising temperatures, worsening ozone levels in urban areas, the spread of desertification, and expansions of the ranges of communicable diseases as the planet heats up, the professional organization representing respiratory and airway physicians stated in a new position paper. The paper is published online and in print in the Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society. The society is the professional organization for pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons and respiratory therapists, among others. It issued the position paper to help its members know how to respond to these changes with their patients and within their communities, and to add their voices to calls for international cooperation to respond to the existing and anticipated negative health effects of global warming.
Widely used antibiotics may increase incidence and severity of allergic asthma in early life, according to a University of British Columbia study. The study, published in the journal EMBO reports, shows that certain antibiotics that affect intestinal bacteria also had a profound impact on allergic asthma. "It has long been suspected that kids exposed to more antibiotics - like those in developed countries - are more prone to allergic asthma, " says the study's author, UBC microbiologist Brett Finlay. "Our study is the first experimental proof that shows how." Finlay's team at UBC's Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology and Michael Smith Laboratories examined how two widely used antibiotics - streptomycin and vancomycin - affected the bacterial "ecosystem" in the gut. They found that vancomycin profoundly alters the bacterial communities in the intestine and increases severity of asthma in mouse models.
Blood testing to determine a link between food and illness is increasingly common, but some tests are not considered diagnostic and can lead to confusion, according to a primer in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Both traditional physicians and holistic medicine practitioners may offer blood testing to diagnose adverse reactions to food. A food allergy is a specific immunologic reaction to a food that can be reproduced with exposure to the food in question. An intolerance is an adverse reaction without an immunologic response, such as lactose intolerance. However, "food sensitivity" is a general term that may be used for any symptom or response that is thought to be food related. The distinctions between all of the above may not be clear to patients and can be misunderstood.
Researchers from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and the University of Melbourne have identified a new way to accurately test for peanut allergy. It is hoped the test will be more cost effective and convenient than standard approaches and minimise over-diagnosis of peanut allergy in the community. Currently, an oral food challenge is the standard for diagnosing peanut allergy, and while an oral food challenge is definitive in diagnosing patients, it is time-consuming, costly and patients risk severe reactions such as anaphylaxis. The new test researchers have identified uses part of the peanut protein called 'Arah2' and involves a two-step screening process. Researchers found they could perform a blood test, followed by the Arah2 test, which was more accurate and highly predictive than using one of the tests alone.