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Can Man’s Best Friend Chase Away Eczema, Asthma?

Parents of children struggling with eczema or asthma might think that having a dog would only make it harder to control their child’s condition.

But two new studies suggest man’s furry best friend might actually provide some protection against allergic diseases.

The first study contends that having a dog in the house before you’re even born may help keep eczema at bay at least until your toddler years. The skin disorder is marked by dry, extremely itchy patches.

“Eczema is usually the first manifestation of [allergic disease] and eczema can predict the development of other [allergic diseases] as kids grow,” said study author Dr. Gagandeep Cheema, an allergy and immunology fellow at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

The researchers analyzed 782 mother-child pairs and collected data on prenatal exposure to dogs, which included days where a dog spent at least one hour inside the home.

When the investigators compared kids with prenatal dog exposure to those without, the risk of eczema was reduced in children of dog households by about half at age 2. The effect appeared to diminish by age 10, but Cheema said the researchers are still gathering data and suggested that finding might eventually change.

The second study looked at living with dogs and the odds of asthma symptoms linked to substances found on the dog, such as bacteria, or the dog’s own allergens. This study included 188 children from Baltimore with the breathing and wheezing disorder. Ninety-two percent were black, and their average age was 10.

Researchers from this study found that the non-allergen substances on the dogs appeared to reduce the need for an asthma inhaler and reduced nighttime symptoms of asthma. On the flip side, exposure to allergen-inducing proteins from dogs seemed to up the odds of inhaler use and nighttime symptoms.

“Among urban children with asthma who were allergic to dogs, spending time with a dog might be associated with two different effects,” said study author Dr. Po-Yang Tsou, from Johns Hopkins University.

“There seems to be a protective effect on asthma of non-allergen dog-associated exposures, and a harmful effect of allergen exposure. However, dog allergen exposure remains a major concern for kids who are allergic to dogs,” Tsou said in a statement.

Dr. Craig Osleeb is a pediatric allergist and immunologist at Northern Westchester Medical Center in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He reviewed both studies and said the research left a lot of questions unanswered.

Osleeb noted that the kids with higher exposure to the dog allergen proteins were the ones that tended to have more symptoms. He said isolating those proteins that caused worse symptoms might be a way to help families with asthmatic children find dogs that may help asthma rather than make it worse, though it’s too soon to tell yet.

Tsou’s study found no protective effect from exposure to cats. The research also didn’t find a benefit from exposure to other common allergens such as dust mites or cockroaches.

Cheema said it’s too soon to say whether or not people should try to increase exposure to dogs to keep allergic diseases at bay.

“I wouldn’t tell anyone to go get a dog. It can be a dangerous thing if people have severe allergies and asthma,” she noted.

But for parents who already have a dog in the home, “it’s definitely fair to say that this and other research has shown that a dog may be protective,” she added.

Cheema said the current theory is that having a dog may expose children to substances that affect their microbiome — the natural mix of bacteria found in the gut.

Both studies were to be presented Friday at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s annual meeting, in Boston. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

By Serena Gordon    HealthDay Reporter    FRIDAY, Oct. 27, 2017
SOURCES: Gagandeep Cheema, M.D., allergy and immunology fellow, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit; Craig Osleeb, M.D., pediatric allergist and immunologist, Northern Westchester Medical Center, Mount Kisco, N.Y.; Oct. 27, 2017, presentation, American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology meeting, Boston
source: www.webmd.com    WebMD News from HealthDay


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Eczema’s Effects More Than Skin Deep

Itchy skin condition also linked to a number of other ills, skin specialist says

People dealing with the itchy skin condition known as eczema may have other medical conditions to cope with as well, including heart disease, a dermatologist says.

Eczema, which causes dry, red patches of skin and intense itchiness, affects an estimated one-quarter of children in the United States. And, as many as seven million adults also have eczema, Dr. Jonathan Silverberg said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release.

“Although it affects the skin, eczema is not just skin-deep. This disease can have a serious impact on patients’ quality of life and overall health, both physically and mentally,” Silverberg said.

He’s assistant professor in dermatology, medical social sciences and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

skin-cancer-doctor-seeing-patients

Eczema has been linked to an increased risk of health conditions such as asthma, hay fever, food allergy, obesity and heart disease, Silverberg said.

The reasons for this are unclear. But, the connection may be eczema-related inflammation affecting the entire body, he said. Or, the negative effects of eczema symptoms on sleep and health habits may play a role, he added.

People with eczema also have a higher risk of skin and other infections. And, the frequent intense itching of eczema and its effect on the skin’s appearance may contribute to a greater risk of mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, Silverberg said.

Controlling flare-ups of eczema symptoms may help reduce the risk of problems such as sleep disturbance, but heart disease and other conditions may develop due to eczema’s long-term effects on the body, Silverberg said.

That’s why it’s important for treatment to not only improve symptoms in the short-term, but also to manage eczema for the long-term, he said.

By Robert Preidt     HealthDay Reporter     FRIDAY, July 29, 2016 (HealthDay News) 
SOURCE: American Academy of Dermatology, news release, July 28, 2016
 


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Fast food linked to higher asthma and allergy risk

New study links fast-food consumption to a greater risk for developing asthma, eczema and allergies.

Tue, Jan 15 2013

Teens and kids who eat a lot of fast food may be at greater risk for developing asthma,eczema and allergies, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal’s respiratory magazine, Thorax.
For the study, researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom looked at surveys from more than 500,000 kids in 51 countries to determine how diet affected their allergy-related risks. They found that eating fast food three times a week may lead to asthma, eczema and itchy, watery eyes in children.
  

 

Researchers surveyed kids and their parents to determine whether or not they experienced symptoms of allergies, asthma and eczema. Participants also shared what types of foods they consumed each week. In the study, children in their early teens who ate fast food three or more times each week had a 39 percent greater risk of severe asthma. For 6- and 7-year-olds, there was a 27 percent increased risk. Overall, kids who ate fast food three or more times a week had about a 30 percent increased risk of severe allergies. The results were consistent across all age groups regardless of gender or socioeconomic status.  
Interestingly, kids who ate fruit were able to cut their risk of developing these conditions. Researchers found that kids who ate three or more portions of fruit each week reduced their risk of severe asthma, eczema and allergies by between 11 and 14 percent.

source: mnn.com


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"Good bacteria" during pregnancy may ward off eczema: study

Thu Oct 25, 2012 

(Reuters) – Babies were less likely to get the itchy skin rash eczema when their mothers took probiotics during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, according to a study from Finland.

Researchers said it’s possible that probiotics – which are thought to help balance bacteria populations in the gut and prevent disease-causing strains from spreading – may influence babies’ health through immune cells that cross the placenta and later are passed in breast milk.

“Prevention regimen with specific probiotics administered to the pregnant and breast-feeding mother, that is, prenatally and postnatally, is safe and effective in reducing the risk of eczema in infants with allergic mothers,” wrote lead author Samuli Rautava of Turku University Central Hospital, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

For the study, Rautava and his colleagues assigned 241 pregnant women to take one of two different probiotic combinations, given as a powder mixed with water once daily, or a bacteria-free placebo powder.

All of the mothers-to-be had a history of allergies, so their babies were at extra-high risk of eczema and other allergic reactions.

The women drank their assigned concoction for the last two months of pregnancy and their first two months of breastfeeding. Researchers then tracked their babies’ health for two years to see how many developed rashes.

By the end of the study, 71 percent of babies in the placebo group had had eczema at least once, compared to 29 percent of babies whose mother took either probiotic combination.


Chronic eczema was diagnosed in 26 percent of placebo kids, compared to 10 percent and six percent, respectively, of those in the two probiotic groups.

However, by age two there was no difference in kids’ sensitivities to a range of allergens, including milk, wheat, soy and dog and cat dander, based on whether their mothers had taken the supplements. About one quarter of the children had a positive “skin prick” test for sensitivity to an allergen.

“(The study) really shows a reduction in eczema from probiotics, which is such a simple and easy intervention for mothers,’ said Ruchi Gupta, an allergy an eczema researcher at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

But she said it was still too soon to see if that reduction in eczema will be tied to a drop in asthma and more serious allergies later on, and Rautava himself said it was still not yet possible to make recommendations for routine use of probiotics.

Rautava and his colleagues didn’t find any evidence of probiotic-related side-effects, and while there have been reports of infections attributed to probiotics in babies, giving the supplements to the mothers instead may reduce that risk.

But some researchers questioned whether the supplements sold on drugstore shelves have any real health benefits, especially including all the different strains available.

“The results look encouraging, but this is a controversial area and confirmation is needed,” said James Gem, a pediatric allergy researcher from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. 

(Reporting from New York by Genevra Pittman at Reuters Health; editing by Elaine Lies)

source:  bit.ly/RYnbVw      reuters


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Tartrazine is not just a food colourant

(NaturalNews) These days, most food products that are specifically marketed to children contain tartrazine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop here. Tartrazine is also found in many medications, cosmetics and personal care products. It is in fact derived from coal tar. Some may not be familiar with what coal tar actually is or where it originates from. The online dictionary at www.dictionary.reference.com refers to coal tar as `a thick, black, viscid liquid formed during the distillation of coal, that upon further distillation yields compounds, as benzene, anthracene, and phenol, from which are derived a large number of dyes, drugs and other synthetic compounds, and that yields a final residuum (coal-tar pitch), which is used chiefly in making pavements.`


Tartrazine can also be seen on ingredient labels as FD&C yellow 5, E102 or C.I. 19140. It is one of a group of dyes known as azo dyes. It is in fact an artificial colouring that is used to make foods and other products more visually appealing or appetizing. It is also used in the printing, textile and paper-manufacturing industries as pH indicators or biological stains.

Side-Effects of TartrazineTime and time again, tartrazine has been proven to cause many different side-effects and allergic reactions in people. These can include: anxiety, migraines, asthma attacks, blurred vision, eczema, other skin rashes, thyroid cancer, Eosinophilia (increase in specific forms of white blood cells), clinical depression, ADHD or hyperactivity, hives, permanent DNA damage, heart palpitations, rhinitis, sleep disturbances/insomnia, general all-over weakness, hot flushes and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). In severe cases, anaphylactic-like reactions to tartrazine have also been reported. It is sometimes even fed to chickens to make their egg yolks more yellow and visually appealing!



Studies have also revealed that consuming tartrazine also aggravates and increases the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (a painful wrist condition which is caused by the compression of the median nerve, which passes between the ligaments and bones in the wrist). The reason for this aggravation is because tartrazine interferes with the metabolism of Vitamin B6 in the body. By eliminating tartrazine from the diet, it is possible to reduce and even prevent the occurrence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

The main reason that tartrazine is used is because of the fact that it is a cheap alternative to beta-carotene, which is 100% natural and beneficial to our health. Turmeric can also be used as an alternative colourant in savoury dishes. Malt and Annatto can also replace this extremely unhealthy additive.

Sourcs: NaturalNews.com


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Prenatal Exposure to Common Household Chemical Linked to Eczema

WEDNESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) – Babies born to women who were exposed to the common household chemical butyl benzyl phthalate (BBzP) during pregnancy are at greater risk for childhood eczema, new research suggests.
BBzP is used in vinyl flooring, artificial leather and other materials, and can be released into the air, the researchers said.
“While hereditary factors, allergens and exposure to tobacco smoke are known to contribute to the condition, our study is the first to show that prenatal exposure to BBzP is a risk factor,” study author Allan Just, a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a news release from Columbia University, where the research was conducted.
Just and his colleagues from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health measured urine concentrations of BBzP during the third trimester of pregnancy for more than 400 black and Dominican women living in New York City. None of the women smoked, and all but one had evidence of at least some exposure to BBzP.
After the birth of their babies, the mothers were asked if their children had been diagnosed with eczema, a condition characterized by dry, itchy, red skin on the face, scalp, hands or feet.
The children of mothers exposed to higher concentrations of the chemical were 52 percent more likely to develop eczema by age 2.

Researchers don’t know how BBzP might trigger eczema symptoms. To determine if allergies played a role, they tested the children for three common indoor allergens: cockroaches, dust mites and mice. The children also were tested for a specific immune response to the allergens.

The researchers noted that they found no link between BBzP exposure and allergies.
“We know allergies are a factor with some childhood eczema, but our data suggests that is not the case when BBzP is involved,” senior study author Dr. Rachel Miller, an associate professor of medicine and environmental health sciences at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, said in the news release. “However, these are important findings, given that eczema is a common and uncomfortable disease of early childhood.”
The study was published online June 26 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Although the study found an association between prenatal exposure to BBzP and eczema, it did not prove that exposure to the chemical caused the skin condition.
– Mary Elizabeth Dallas