Friday, September 12, 2014

You're prepared for an allergy emergency, but is your child?

Be prepared. It’s a mantra in our house. I thought I was prepared, I thought my 6 year old son was prepared. He was not, and therefore, I was not. Let me explain…

There are “2 pillars” to managing food allergies – prevent reactions and prepare to respond to the emergency (see AllergyHome’s great educational materials). We’ve had a few years to “prepare” ourselves to respond to a food allergy emergency should it arise. I thought I was “prepared” for when to use the epinephrine autoinjector (e.g. EpiPen, Auvi-Q), and I would not hesitate to use it. As an allergy parent, you go through all the scenarios, you have nightmares about scenarios, you hear of other family’s scenarios, and every time, you think about how you would respond in that scenario.

Image used with permission by AllergyHome.org

Saturday, September 6, 2014

My "hot" new asthma piece at Asthma Allergies Children!

I'm no stranger to my enthusiasm for Asthma Allergies Children as a source of great information and thought-provoking original pieces on allergic disorders. 


You'll just have to go read the piece to find out why it's so "hot!"

"Large Cayenne" by André Karwath aka Aka - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Large_Cayenne.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Large_Cayenne.jpg

Friday, August 22, 2014

Eosinophilic Esophagitis - Scientific Excitement - Part 2 of 2

PART 2  - BEYOND THE GWAS – FUNCTIONAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR EoE?

This is the exciting conclusion to parsing the findings in Kottyan, et al., 2014 (1).  Just in case you missed it or need a refresher, here is a link to PART 1 – BACKGROUND TO UNDERSTAND EoE AND THE RESEARCH FINDINGS.

Brief summary of Part 1
After the researchers compared over 1.5 million regions of the genome between EoE and control subjects, they identified 4 different regions that were strongly associated with EoE.  Going back to the analogy used in Part 1 – the researchers identified the flutes among the cacophony of the warming up orchestra.  Now, they needed to analyze the melodies those flutes were playing – stated biologically, they needed to figure out if any of those flutes (i.e. – regions of DNA identified in the GWAS) played faulty melodies (i.e. – errors in genes getting expressed that may lead to EoE). Just because there is a difference in DNA between EoE patients and those without EoE (controls) doesn’t necessarily mean that it is important biologically – a flute could play the wrong note, but it may harmonize with the intended note (e.g. make no difference to EoE). They were looking for a clear, dissonant “wrong note.” Lead author and researcher on the paper, Dr. Leah Kottyan relayed to me that in this line of work, identifying the differences in DNA is the “easy” part. Now came the “hard” part.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eosinophilic Esophagitis - Scientific Excitement - Part 1 of 2

The allergy world was abuzz this past week that a major research breakthrough for Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) was published in Nature Genetics (1), spear-headed by Dr. Marc Rothenberg’s lab at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (follow the lab on FaceBook). For anyone dealing with this devastating allergic disorder, the news was welcome, but what does it all mean? And what could the future hold for people dealing with EoE or allergic disorders more generally?

My hope is to distill some pretty intense science in this two part series – the paper is scientifically very cool, yet very dense! Tackling this paper is not for the faint of heart (myself included)!

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...