Monday, July 7, 2014

Pets are people, too? Allergy edition.

Most of us are familiar with allergies to dogs and cats. But what about our dogs and cats who suffer from allergies?  Here is a question I have about the allergy epidemic - if environmental factors contribute to the allergy epidemic in people, wouldn't we expect our fellow mammalian pets who share our same environment (dogs, cats, etc!) to be increasingly allergic? This little thought was inspired by discovering that a new animal clinic specializing in allergy and ears recently opened in my neck of the woods. Who would've thunk - a specialty clinic for allergies in our pets?! Basic economics dictates that supply and demand strive to be in equilibrium. Clearly there must be a great enough demand...

I honestly do not know the answer, but I hope to explore this idea further. Thoughts? Any vets out there willing to weigh in with knowledge/observations/peer-reviewed evidence? Feel free to comment below or send me a direct email (see contact) Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Too good to be true science - creating mistrust or assurance?

While science is our greatest sense of hope, it can also be a source of immense frustration. Today I'm reminded that the products of science are influenced by imperfect people, and at least for me, feeling "frustrated" understates things a bit.
Creative commons license: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_scientist#mediaviewer/File:Mad_scientist.svg


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Meet Me in Chicago - FARE-bound!

The bags are mostly packed. The itinerary set and in less than 24 hours I can't wait to descend upon that most spectacular city skyline - Chicago!

The biggest non-profit for food allergies, Food Allergy Research and Education (aka - FARE), is hosting their annual conference this weekend. It promises to be a highly educational and inspirational event. If you happen to be there, don't be a stranger. I'm excited to meet a few old friends and a lot of new friends who are all part of this food allergy journey. If you happen to live in and around Chicago, it's still not too late to attend. You can buy tickets at the door.
If you're there from 3pm-4pm on Saturday, please stop by to hear me speak about Making Sense of the Science Behind Food Allergies (although if you miss it, I completely understand. There are so many great options to choose from at the same time!).

Hope to meet you soon! I'll be the science geek wearing the DNA double helix earrings!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

State advocacy - On the Oregon trail


Advocacy feels a bit like slogging the Oregon Trail, tracking slowly across the Great Plains by horse-drawn covered wagon.  A good day measures progress in double digit miles.  Long, slow haul is an apt description. Ironically, winning the Oregon Trail means you make it to the Willamette River Valley, which is technically where we are. Hrrumph.  

This post is a follow-up to last year’s post on advocacy for Oregon SB611 and HB2749. I hope this serves as a call to action for Oregonians, but also provides a glimpse into the advocacy process at the state level for people in other states.  I am happy to report that these bills unanimously passed state legislature last year, but it was clear more work needed to be done. Oregon SB611 established that schools in Oregon are permitted (not required) to carry unassigned life-saving epinephrine. The rules and guidelines surrounding epinephrine and more generally allergy management in schools were saved for another day for the State Board of Education to decide.

Oregon state capitol building - Salem, OR. Blooming cherry trees everywhere!
Another day is now.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Book Review - Food Allergies: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Science, and the Search for a Cure


Early last year, I put a query out to my fledgling Facebook fan base, “What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a scientist?”  Only one person responded, but that one response absolutely nailed it. “I'm not a scientist but I follow science and believe that at its best, science tells the best stories.”  That golden insight came from none other than, Henry Ehrlich, co-author of Asthma Allergies Children:  A Parent’s Guide, editor of the corresponding website AsthmaAllergiesChildren.com, and now author of the book Food Allergies: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Science, and the Search for a Cure. And boy, did he not only follow the science, but he tells its gripping story to an entire food allergy community.