Concerns are being raised as to how modern lifestyles may cause physiological defense mechanisms in light of the dramatic increase of people suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases, such as allergies, asthma and irritable bowel syndrome. Researchers have conducted a perspective foresight study along the lines of the European Science Foundation's (ESF) predictions, evaluating the challenges linked to chronic inflammatory diseases. Their findings, published in a supplement to The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), the official journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), report details of 10 key areas with the highest priority for research. Harald Renz, MD, committee chair of the Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiochemistry, Molecular Diagnostics, Phillips University in Marburg, Germany comments: "Many transmissible diseases have been effectively eradicated over the last half century, yet there has been a marked increase in the incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases.
A mouse model to investigate allergy to fenugreek has been developed by Norwegian researchers. The model can also be used to study cross-reactivity to peanut, soy and lupin, major food allergens with public health relevance. Fenugreek is a member of the legume family and is used as an ingredient in curries, chutneys and teas. Allergic reactions to fenugreek may be severe yet its presence is rarely declared in ingredient listings. There is also great concern about potential cross-reactivity with other legumes such as peanut, soy and lupin. "Allergens that are hidden in generic terms like spices, pose a special problem for food-allergic people. Fenugreek is a well-known food ingredient in Asian dishes, and as dietary patterns are changing, we will be more exposed to fenugreek also in Norway.
This product may contain nuts." It's an increasingly common warning on food labels of all kinds, given the recent heightened awareness of the dangers of nut allergies. Roughly three million Americans suffer from peanut allergies; yet current diagnostic methods don't detect every case. New findings by University of Virginia scientists, however, may allow for the development of more sensitive diagnostic tools and a better understanding of nut allergies. The study, "Structural and Immunologic Characterization of Ara h 1, a Major Peanut Allergen, " appeared in the November 11 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Rethinking the Proteins In the study, researchers determined that the emerging cutting-edge use of a recombinant, or artificially produced, protein in diagnostic tests may not be a suitable replacement for the natural protein Ara h 1, one of the major peanut allergens.
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.
Getting out the boxes of holiday decorations from years gone by is a time-honored tradition. But in addition to stirring up memories, it also stirs up allergies. "The dust from the boxes and on the decorations that have been packed away in dank basements or dusty attics is triggering reactions in my allergy and asthma patients, " said Joseph Leija, MD, allergist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. During the allergy season (March - October) Dr. Leija is responsible for providing the official allergy count for the Midwest available at Gottlieb's Web site and phone line, and through Chicago media outlets. Carol Leopold suffers from severe allergies and so do her 12-year-old twins. "My husband and daughter are fine but fresh Christmas trees and fur from Santa's suit make my sons and I choke up and stop breathing, " she said.