September 2006 Archives

Food Allergies An American Obsession?

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Food allergies are increasingly top-of-mind for many Americans. In fact, one out of every three people in this country claim to have a food allergy of one kind or another. But the science doesn't support these fears. Government and medical association estimates put the actual incident rate at only between one in 25 and one in 70.

Parents are one of the groups most concerned about food allergies, especially as kids go back to school and eat more meals away from home. In many cases, they're also ill-informed about the differences between allergies and intolerances, and the proper course of treatment for each. A new survey conducted among California parents last month reveals that many are self-diagnosing food allergies and eliminating nutrient-rich foods from their child's diet without seeing a doctor first.

Cancer And Psoriasis can be aggravated by "Allergy Cells"

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The body's mast cells are mainly associated with allergic reaction in the way they release histamine and other inflammatory substances. However, researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now demonstrated how the mast cells can also contribute to diseases like psoriasis and cancer.

Mast cells are most known for their association with allergic reactions, as they act like microscopic "bombs" to trigger the release of a number of substances that give rise to the classic allergic symptoms, such as swelling, congestion and itching. The explosive reactions are activated when an allergen (such as pollen particles) binds to receptors on the surface of the mast cell, which then opens and secretes part of its contents.

The Allergens And Irritants Behind Itchy Skin

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What could be the reason for skin that's inflamed, itchy, dotted with bumps or blisters?

According to the September issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, it could be contact dermatitis, caused by exposure to an allergen or simply something that irritates the skin.

Irritants can include soaps and detergents. Even plain water can irritate skin with frequent hand washing.