Beer tested in a new study, including some brands labeled "low-gluten, " contains levels of hordein, the form of gluten present in barley, that could cause symptoms in patients with celiac disease (CD), the autoimmune condition treated with a life-long gluten-free diet, scientists are reporting. The study, which weighs in on a controversy over the gluten content of beer, appears in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research. Michelle Colgrave and colleagues explain that celiac disease (CD) affects more than 2 million people worldwide. Gluten, a protein found in foods and beverages made from barley, wheat and rye triggers a reaction in CD patients that affects the small intestine, blocking the absorption of essential nutrients from food. Symptoms vary, but often include diarrhea or constipation, fatigue and abdominal pain.
Scientists have discovered a missing link between the body's biological clock and sugar metabolism system, a finding that may help avoid the serious side effects of drugs used for treating asthma, allergies and arthritis. In a paper published last week in Nature, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies report finding that proteins that control the body's biological rhythms, known as cryptochromes, also interact with metabolic switches that are targeted by certain anti-inflammatory drugs. The finding suggests that side effects of current drugs might be avoided by considering patients' biological rhythms when administering drugs, or by developing new drugs that target the cryptochromes. "We knew that our sleep and wake cycle are tied to when our bodies process nutrients, but how this happened at the genetic and molecular level was a complete mystery, " says Ronald M.
Scientists at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have used advanced light microscopy to show that a substance can be differently absorbed by the skin, depending on what it is mixed with. This may determine whether it causes contact allergy or not. "We have also been able to identify specific cells and proteins in the skin with which a contact allergen interacts. The results increase our understanding of the mechanisms behind contact allergy", says Carl Simonsson at the Department of Chemistry, University of Gothenburg. The skin is the largest organ in the human body and plays many vital roles, one of which is to prevent harmful microorganisms from invading the body. The principal barrier is constituted by a layer of skin cells around a few microns thick, known as the "stratum corneum".
A new study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet shows that infants with low concentrations of the stress-related hormone cortisol in their saliva develop fewer allergies than other infants. Hopefully this new knowledge will be useful in future allergy prevention. The study is published in the December paper issue of Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The incidence of allergies in children has increased over the past few decades, especially in the West. In Sweden, 30 to 40 percent of children have some kind of allergy. A combination of environmental and lifestyle factors during pregnancy and early infancy are thought to be responsible for the sharp rise in allergic diseases. "Psychosocial factors and the stress hormone cortisol are associated with allergic diseases, " says Dr Fredrik Stenius of the Department of Clinical Research and Education at Stockholm South General Hospital.
Contact allergy affects around 20% of the population in the western world. Scientists are working intensively to develop alternative test methods that do not require animal testing. A research group at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has now developed a unique test method that enables graded results to be obtained using cultured skin cells. "We have made several discoveries about the mechanism behind contact allergy, one of which is that allergenic substances react with keratin 5 and 14 in the skin. The skin cells form what are known as "blebs" when exposed to allergenic substances, and this can be used to test whether a substance is allergenic", says Sofia Andersson from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Gothenburg. Metals such as nickel, and substances in perfume and preservatives are among the most common allergenic substances.