Tag Archives: allergy

Autism Scientists seek public assistance to detect, measure and prevent Autism and major psychiatric disorders

You may want to visit and contribute your experiences at the  Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force  site and inspire them in their public – private effort to achieve their goal. Their vision is to get the desired outcome in three to five years as a result of the work laid out to implement the Minnesota Autism Spectrum Disorder strategic plan. Help them in your own, unique creative way.

You may also contact the Science Department Leadership at various autism foundations, such as Autism Speaks, and Autism Support Network with your personal experiences, hunches and suggestions on which public – private large scale database efforts to fund.

Autism rates continue to rise at an alarming rate
Tomorrow the autistic child could be someone born in your family – 1/50 to 1/80th chance of happening today, with more boys being born with autism than girls. States are drowning with the rising numbers of autism cases. The role of environment cannot be ignored which you may read by clicking “Why is Autism observed in America and not in underdeveloped countries?“, although dyslexia and mild communication disorder is rising worldwide (Read more). The role of shared family genes is not being ignored but so far, no clear association has scientific merit. You may call it the Geek syndrome but as Steve Silberman describes, if the autism spectrum genes were eliminated from society, it would be disastrous for the evolution of society. He also adds here that Microsoft recently became the first major US corportion to offer its employees insurance benefits to cover the costs of behavioral training for their autistic children. The number of autistic children among their employees were high enough to justify that – a fact that did not exist even over a decade ago. And their numbers continue to rise.

History of Autism
John Hopkins Neuroimmunopath has a FAQ site on their “Focus on Autism“.  They are researching the role of the immune system in Autism.  You might want to visit their site to consider what unseen factors inside the body control the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  After all, the first cases of Autism in USA were diagnosed at John Hopkins by Dr. Leo Kanner and published in 1943 to alert the public.  Dr. Hans Asperger of Austria described a similar group of patients around the same time and the distinctive sypmtoms got a diagnostic name.

Although historical accounts point to the existence of what could be isolated cases of autism, the mid 20th century is the first time clusters of patients with distinct ASD symptoms began to be diagnosed.  Unfortunately, ASD cases are rising at a rate that we find alarming, even if we allow for a certain threshold of misdiagnosis.  There is no known cure for ASD.  Since we do not know a cause we cannot begin to prevent onset of ASD, which usually strikes suddenly and without warning around the age of 18 months, according to parental reports.  Although there is no doubt that genetics or inherited family factors plays a role in susceptibility to ASD, scientists cannot rule out a potential major role for non-heritable risk factors.  A strong supporting reason for this is an observation by parents of Somali origin, which you may read by clicking “Why is Autism observed in America and not in underdeveloped countries?“. Scientist urge for more research on the important role of Vit D, as a possible environmental risk factor in Autism Spectrum Disorder. You may read their review by clicking here. Research studies on gene x environment are identifying which pesticide, herbicide, fungicide classes are of greatest concern in susceptible populations.

What is Autism
Sceptics abound (Read Forbes magazine article here).  Many do not know what is Autism.  Just like in the early 1980s the average person had no idea what HIV and AIDS was; similarly, the average skeptic today is unacquainted with autism and untouched by the daily adversities of living with autism.  Those who have never seen or been in the same room, let alone family, of an autistic individual, will not have any empathy for this discussion. Take your autistic child to public museums, movie theaters, enclosed botanical garden exhibitions. Tell every skeptic who frowns with displeasure that this disruptive individual is a healthy, autistic person. Your job is educational in nature and to reach as many skeptics as you can. If you believe that Autism research needs more believers, then you will have to leave a skeptic alone in the same room with a severely autistic child. Then, leave the skeptic alone in the same room with simply a misbehaved child. The skeptic will realize that there is a difference. Then, to justify urgency, you can show evidence as to how the numbers of autistic children are growing, and soon to become a growing burden on society as they age and their parent – caretakers die. Who will take care of them? Additionally, society is losing 1/50 of every young male or 1/80 of every young child who could contribute gainfully to social security or medicare. Can society let such monetary contributors get lost without a question? In 1960 there were 4.9 workers paying into the social security system for every beneficiary collecting (click here for Time magazine article). In 2035 there will be 1.9 workers for every social security recipient. With rising autism rates, how many of these 1.9 workers will be unable to contribute to this social equation and instead require social care as their caretaker parents die?

AutismIt is possible that part of the reason why no other risk factors have been identified may be that genetic and non – genetic factors need to be studied together in order to get a complete ASD profile.  What factor/s changed globally in the developed world around mid 20th century?  The scientists need the assistance of the public to solve this mystery as observant team members.  You may click here to learn more about facts of ASD and the Autism Fact Sheet of John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.  The origins, detection, measurement and prevention of conditions that affect behavioral, socioemotional and/or cognitive development are specific to Autism and ASD and are discussed here.

Role of Dirt/Microbial biome in Allergy, Asthma and ASD?

A variety of Hookworms

A variety of Hookworms

A blogger, summarizes a recent research study and it’s conclusion that dirt may be necessary to prevent allergies in “Dirt Prevents Allergies“. The researchers, headed by Professor Bisgaard, followed a cohort of asthma patients for several years to identify what factors might have triggered their disease. While these researchers are still looking for asthma trigger factor/s in early childhood, they did find that there was a connection between lack of diversity of bacteria in the intestine and allergy and have published their results in the journal of allergy and clinical immunology in 2011. The “microbial biome” is the term used to define all the bacteria that a healthy intestine supports. You may click here to read “Worm Theory: to improve the immune system to fight asthma, multiple sclerosis and more”. Several families have reported the presence of a parent with multiple sclerosis and children with autism and/or allergy. There apparently is a age – related connection. A younger family member presents with autism while an older family member has symptoms of multiple sclerosis. neuron

Since, researchers are finding that the immune system is involved in both Autism – which is on the rise recently, and in food allergy – which too is on the rise in recent decades and often in the same family, we have to wonder if it is correct to ask, “Is Autism an immune reaction with an allergic profile?” However, why did the recent study of Bisgaard and colleagues not find a common factor in allergy and asthma yet?  Multiple sclerosis, a nerve disease, is also on the rise in recent decades, and often reported in families with autism and severe allergies.

Babies with no autism or allergy

Babies with no autism or allergy

When is the earliest trigger for the diseases that are on the rise in recent years? Why is the first symptom seen not at birth but a few months, several months or years later? What factors control later symptoms? Is it an age – related control? You may want to read a popular article “How I gave my son autism” by Thinking Mom’s Revolution, which lists eight things this mother would change given a change to move time back.

Health Analyses of Families with Autism using the internet

Health Analyses of Families with Autism using the internet

No single gene appears to control autism. Studies indicate that the main immune mechanism in autism is an innate immune reaction. Contrast this to adaptive immune response seen in diseases such as meningitis and encephalitis. What is the difference between innate and adaptive immune system? A simple biological explanation is given by the Univesity of Arizona researchers here.

The Autism Genome Project
The Autism Genome project(AGP) is a large-scale, public – private collaborative, genetics research project initiated by the National Alliance for Autism Research and the National Institute of Health and is aimed at sifting through the human genome in search of autism susceptibility genes. The vision is to identify predisposition to Autism and to identify the causal mechanisms.  A new born screening mechanism would allow for early intervention. AGP has identified a dozen autism related genes researched by 120 scientists from 11 countries. They indicate that two important gene networks in the central nervous system contribute to the susceptibility to autism, leading to impairments in social and communication skills. The estimated prevalence of autism in siblings is about 10%, while it is a whopping 90% in twins. However, although heredity plays a definite role, such children with autism are born only under certain environmental conditions, underlining the fact that unknown life-style changes trigger autism.  The role of lack of exposure to enough Vit D in autism is being researched, especially in countries like Sweden. AGP has also revealed that Autism shares risk genes with major psychiatric disorders. Which leads to the question, whether searching for a cure for autism might lead to an early diagnosis of major psychiatric disorders, prevention and cures? It appears that the diagnosis of dyslexia is more common in underdeveloped countries. However, when this same gene pool is exposed to the life – style changes of a developed country the diagnosis of moderate to severe autism is observed.

Innate and Adaptive Immunity
There is a growing body of evidence linking Vit D to various immune related conditions including allergy and auto-immunity, but none show a convincing link, meaning there is a connecting missing link which remains to be discovered. Lack of Vit D would normally not cause diseases like autism but, given the presence of this missing link, lack of Vit D or specific life-style changes, one becomes predisposed to diseases like autism.  Various diseases involve the innate and/or adaptive immune system:

Dr Belbedos and colleagues want to modulate the innate immune reaction in allergy and asthma therapy in young children.

Lyme disease is an innate immune reaction.

Measles suppreses both innate and adaptive.

Pertussis or whooping cough involves both innate and adaptive.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is different – see fatal tuberculosis , where an acquired immunity is not enough but an innate immune response additionally, is required. The MyD88 pathway is crucial to protect against this disease. 90% of infected people do not show any symptoms. What protects them?

Vitamin D initiates an innate immune reaction. Apparently, its role in adaptive immune response has been known, but not in innate immune response. Too much Vit D is bad.

The National Institute of Health has explained immunity and the immune response in an article and include a video on immune response and a video on vaccines. The definitions of innate, acquired and passive immunity are followed by a video; if you scroll down, you will see the videos.

Related Video
Watch a video of a Pro-surfer, a father of an autistic son, and founder of a non-profit foundation school of Surfing for Autistic kids and how it makes them smile. Volunteers are pro-surfers.

Related Articles
A single shared component has been confirmed in allergy and autoimmune diseases
Proteins neuroligins and neurexins are important in Autism and Schizophrenia
G proteins: the connector proteins that try to prevent Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Role of “love hormone” and fresh infant food in autism and allergy

Adding to thirty years of research, scientists have discovered a potential role and mode of action of oxytocin, a naturally occuring brain hormone commonly called the “love hormone”. Neuropsychopharmacologists study the effect of chemicals in the brain and behavior. A team consisting of Dr. Tsien (Stanford University, CA), his graduate student Scott Owen, Dr. Gord Fischell (NYU Langone Medical Center, NY), his graduate student Sebnem Tuncdemir, and collaborators Patrick Bader, and Natasha Tirko resolved how oxytocin increases signaling to neurons and published their findings online on August 4, in the Journal Nature. This hormone can quiet background noise and enhance brain circuits. Individuals with autism lack the ability to filter desirable information processing signals. How this hormone can modulate fast spiking interneurons will continue to be researched, in addition to it’s therapeutic potential in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). To read the original article in nature click here.

…Neuromodulatory control by oxytocin is essential to a wide range of social1, 2, parental3 and stress-related behaviours4. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are associated with deficiencies in oxytocin levels5 and with genetic alterations of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR)6. Thirty years ago, Mühlethaler et al.7 found that oxytocin increases the firing of inhibitory hippocampal neurons, but it remains unclear how elevated inhibition could account for the ability of oxytocin to improve information processing in the brain….

Research in repetitive behavior in ASD
With rising rates of autism spectrum disorder, especially among boys, there is a sense of urgency to find answers. We must not ignore the years of research effort by countless scientists working on how to reduce repetitive behaviors in individuals in the autism spectrum. For example, a 2003 article in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology was published by a team of Neuropsychopharmacologists suggested

….Repetitive behavior in autism spectrum disorders may be related to abnormalities in the oxytocin system, and may be partially ameliorated by synthetic oxytocin infusion…

which you can click here to read.  The problem lies in the fact that a cure is still elusive.  Some parents find that keeping individuals with ASD active in a repetitive sport helps ease the symptom of repetitive behavior, with a regulated repetitive movement resulting in enjoyment rather than frustration. However, it is a challenge getting an ASD individual to concentrate on such a sport.

Role of a love hormone in ASD
Why is it called the “love hormone”? Several articles explain that which you might enjoy reading in eurekalert, by Craig Andrews, by clicking here. What is the role of this hormone in conception to pregnancy and how is it involved in autism spectrum disorder? Researchers will labor on to find the answers.

Role of infant food in allergy
With the observation that certain diets reduce the risk of allergy in infants, one begins to wonder about the role of introduction of chemicals during conception and pregnancy that might interfere with hormones like the love hormone involved in development of normal brain circuits. To read the article on role of processed food and infant allergy click here by the scientist Kate Grimshaw (University of Southampton, UK).  In this article, the scientist published results of research on correlation between infant dietary pattern in first year of infancy and development of food allergy by age two.  Babies brought up on fresh food, presented lower allergy rates.

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A single shared component has been confirmed in allergy and autoimmune diseases

Previous studies had shown that patients with a diverse range of autoimmune diseases often had minor changes in the BACH2 gene. Today’s cutting edge technology allowed scientists to glimpse some of the interactions this gene had with the entire genome to control immune function, says lead author Dr. R. Roychoudhuri. BACH2 plays a key role in the immune system. Although, the intracacy of the immune system remains elusive, it is understood that a healthy immune system knows how to recognize a foreign body and can attack it, to keep a person healthy while in an unhealthy immune system, the body’s own cells or friendly agents are mistaken as “foreign” and attacked resulting in allergy or autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

This non-profit kids health site lists in the chapter “Health Problems” the many allergy and autoimmune diseases a child may suffer from today. Perhaps, this discovery published in the respected journal Nature might some day help a child and the parent lead a healthier life (Click here to read Nature, June 2, 2013 article).

The Discovery

NIAMS researcher Kiyoshi Hirahara, M.D and colleagues discovered that the Bach2 gene played a key role in regulating the switch between inflammatory and regulatory cells in mice. The loss of the Bach2 gene in specific immune cells caused them to become inflammatory, even under what would be a protective situation. Says a team leader, Dr. Nicholas P. Restifo, “The gene shares its name with the famous composer Bach, since it orchestrates many components of the immune response, which, like the diverse instruments of an orchestra, must act in unison to achieve symphonic harmony”

Potential for Gene Therapy?
The studies were done in mice and will have to be replicated in human clinical trials, which as you know could take time. When the mice lacked the BACH2 gene the mice died within a few months of life.  If the BACH2 gene was introduced into the mice lacking this gene, it restored their immune health. Thus, gene therapy with BACH2, a gene common in patients with allergy and autoimmune disease, restored the immune health of lab mice.

A laboratory research mouse

A laboratory research mouse

Related Article

A multiple sclerosis parent with autistic child
Know your G protein – for autism, allergy, aspergers and ASD

G proteins – the connector proteins that try to prevent autism spectrum disorder
Do anorexics and autism spectrum disorder share any common characteristics?


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Your immune system: a simple summary for the non-scientist

If you have ever wished you knew more about the immune system, this moderate sized article published in 2007 by the National Institute of Health (USA) is recommended reading. It explains very simply commonly used biological terms and supports them with beautiful illustrations. With so many immune diseases being discussed, it has become important for the non-scientist to become familiar with basic human biology. My personal favorite are two paragraphs on page 35 which says that your brain and health are connected. In addition, if you read the earlier page discussing what is the first line of “defense” inside your body, you might be fascinated by this machinery inside your own body which works like clockwork, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It runs on a biological clock which controls when your body machinery “switches off” for “rest”.  I wonder if it should be required reading for all who wish to study “Organizational management”.  You may want to click here to read it.

If you enjoyed this article then you will also really enjoy my articles on your immune system. My suggestions are: “My immune system and my G-protein ” and “Role of your CD-14 gene in your food allergy“.

An excerpt from page 28 is below. If you are comfortable reading this excerpt, then you will enjoy the article:

Disorders of the Immune System

Allergic Diseases

The most common types of allergic diseases occur when the immune system responds to
a false alarm. In an allergic person, a normally harmless material such as grass pollen, food particles, mold, or house dust mites is mistaken for a threat and attacked.

Allergies such as pollen allergy are related
to the antibody known as IgE. Like other antibodies, each IgE antibody is specific; one acts against oak pollen and another against ragweed, for example.

Autoimmune Diseases

Sometimes the immune system’s recognition apparatus breaks down, and the body begins to manufacture T cells and antibodies directed against self antigens in its own cells and tissues. As a result, healthy cells and tissues …….



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The Gut Microbiota: your good germ friends to nurture to strengthen your immune system against “Allergy”

Your gut has both good microbes and sometimes, dangerous microbes. The trick is to know how to encourage the good microbes to grow inside your gut while creating a very difficult environment for the bad microbes inside your body. The good microbes codevelop inside your body since birth say a wonderful international group of physician and microbial scientists from five countries including Singapore, Sweden, USA, England and France. What germs your body can harbor depends firstly on your genes, and that means not everybody can tolerate all good microbes. Following your personal genes through your personal nutrition choices tailored to your specific lifestyle decides your microbiota. Believe it or not, your gut microbes control your brain, muscles, and your liver through your gut cells. Gives a whole new meaning to the term, “You are what you eat”. I would not add, “Your brain is what you eat”. These scientists strongly suggest that it is imperative to understand the individual gut microbiota, which means your good microbes, to get a better understanding of how to keep your brain and your muscles in peak performance by assisting your immune regulatory system. Apparently, your immune system is assisted by your good microbes. David Artis and his team at University of Pennsylvannia have become the leading scientists calling for an overhaul of the study of what is allergy and the immune system, based on gut microbiota research.

Have you ever wondered how that poor kid playing in the filth is healthier than your kid brought up in a sterilized home and school environment and playground? Well, the answer may lie in the good microbes that co-develop in the gut since birth. The articles below may be of interest to you. Your gut is “infested” fortunately by trillions of beneficial microbes that occupy their own favorite niches inside the intestine, as it folds its way inside your body. You might want to reconsider next time you have that antibiotic – it may indiscriminate and kill the bacteria that help you along with that single one that is harming you, currently. Have you ever wondered how some people are better able to “fight” off infection? They may actually have a stronger gut.  The term “my gut reaction” may not be that funny after all!

1)  Host-Gut Microbiota Metabolic Interactions
2) Crossover Immune Cells Blur the Boundaries
3) Innate Lymphoid Cells Promote Anatomical Containment of Lymphoid-Resident Commensal Bacteria
4) Immunology: Allergy challenged

1)  Host-Gut Microbiota Metabolic Interactions

Published Online June 6 2012
Science 8 June 2012:
Vol. 336 no. 6086 pp. 1262-1267
DOI: 10.1126/science.1223813

Host-Gut Microbiota Metabolic Interactions

  1. Jeremy K. Nicholson1,*,
  2. Elaine Holmes1,
  3. James Kinross1,
  4. Remy Burcelin2,
  5. Glenn Gibson3,
  6. Wei Jia4,
  7. Sven Pettersson5,*

+Author Affiliations

  1. 1Biomolecular Medicine, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

  2. 2Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U1048, and Institut des Maladies Métaboliques et Cardiovasculaire I2MC, Rangueil Hospital, BP84225, 31432 Toulouse, France.

  3. 3Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, UK.

  4. 4Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina Research Campus, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA.

  5. 5Department of Microbiology, Tumor, and Cell Biology (MTC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm 117 77, Sweden, and School of Biological Sciences and National Cancer Centre, 11 Hospital Drive, Singapore 169610.
  1. *To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: j.nicholson@imperial.ac.uk (J.K.N.);sven.pettersson@ki.se (S.P.)


The composition and activity of the gut microbiota codevelop with the host from birth and is subject to a complex interplay that depends on the host genome, nutrition, and life-style. The gut microbiota is involved in the regulation of multiple host metabolic pathways, giving rise to interactive host-microbiota metabolic, signaling, and immune-inflammatory axes that physiologically connect the gut, liver, muscle, and brain. A deeper understanding of these axes is a prerequisite for optimizing therapeutic strategies to manipulate the gut microbiota to combat disease and improve health.

 2) Crossover Immune Cells Blur the Boundaries

NEWS FOCUSIMMUNOLOGYCrossover Immune Cells Blur the Boundaries

  • Mitch Leslie

Science 8 June 2012: 1228-1229.


Published Online June 6 2012
Science 8 June 2012:
Vol. 336 no. 6086 pp. 1321-1325
DOI: 10.1126/science.1222551

Innate Lymphoid Cells Promote Anatomical Containment of Lymphoid-Resident Commensal Bacteria

  1. Gregory F. Sonnenberg1,
  2. Laurel A. Monticelli1,
  3. Theresa Alenghat1,
  4. Thomas C. Fung1,
  5. Natalie A. Hutnick2,
  6. Jun Kunisawa3,4,
  7. Naoko Shibata3,4,
  8. Stephanie Grunberg1,
  9. Rohini Sinha1,
  10. Adam M. Zahm5,
  11. Mélanie R. Tardif6,
  12. Taheri Sathaliyawala7,
  13. Masaru Kubota7,
  14. Donna L. Farber7,
  15. Ronald G. Collman8,
  16. Abraham Shaked9,
  17. Lynette A. Fouser10,
  18. David B. Weiner2,
  19. Philippe A. Tessier6,
  20. Joshua R. Friedman5,
  21. Hiroshi Kiyono3,4,11,
  22. Frederic D. Bushman1,
  23. Kyong-Mi Chang8,12,
  24. David Artis1,13,*

+Author Affiliations

  1. 1Department of Microbiology and Institute for Immunology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  2. 2Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  3. 3Division of Mucosal Immunology, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.

  4. 4Department of Medical Genome Science, Graduate School of Frontier Science, The University of Tokyo, Chiba 277-8562, Japan.

  5. 5Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  6. 6Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie, Centre Hospitalier de l’Université Laval, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Quebec, Canada.

  7. 7Department of Surgery and the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.

  8. 8Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  9. 9Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  10. 10Inflammation and Immunology Research Unit, Biotherapeutics Research and Development, Pfizer Worldwide R&D, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA.

  11. 11Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Tokyo 102-0075, Japan.

  12. 12Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

  13. 13Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
  1. *To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dartis@mail.med.upenn.edu


The mammalian intestinal tract is colonized by trillions of beneficial commensal bacteria that are anatomically restricted to specific niches. However, the mechanisms that regulate anatomical containment remain unclear. Here, we show that interleukin-22 (IL-22)–producing innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are present in intestinal tissues of healthy mammals. Depletion of ILCs resulted in peripheral dissemination of commensal bacteria and systemic inflammation, which was prevented by administration of IL-22. Disseminating bacteria were identified as Alcaligenes species originating from host lymphoid tissues. Alcaligenes was sufficient to promote systemic inflammation after ILC depletion in mice, and Alcaligenes-specific systemic immune responses were associated with Crohn’s disease and progressive hepatitis C virus infection in patients. Collectively, these data indicate that ILCs regulate selective containment of lymphoid-resident bacteria to prevent systemic inflammation associated with chronic diseases.

  • Received for publication 28 March 2012.
  • Accepted for publication 24 April 2012.

Immunology: Allergy challenged




(26 April 2012)


Published online

 25 April 2012

An article suggesting that allergic responses may not be an accident of an off-target immune system, but rather a deliberate defence against potential harm, provokes the question of whether our understanding of allergy needs an overhaul. Immunologists provide their opinions. See Perspective p.465


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Author information


  1. David Artis is in the Department of Microbiology and the Institute for Immunology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

  2. Rick M. Maizels is at the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.

  3. Fred D. Finkelman is in the Department of Medicine, Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220, USA, and in the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and the Division of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to:

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Cosmetic ingredients and hazards to health, including Allergy

A national TV news brought to our attention again today, April 30, 2012 that cosmetic ingredients are not monitored in all countries. In fact, Europe and Japan has more stringent rules than USA controlling what can go into cosmetics. Other countries? Safest option, if you must use cosmetics might be to use those with shortest label with fewest ingredients, concludes ABC news.

Some ingredients might be toxic like mercury, while others can cause allergic dermatitis, like toluene or cancer like formaldehyde. A woman’s cosmetic list selects from 120 chemicals, with some that might be dangerous introduced via the skin as a cream or lips via lipstick.

What is your opinion? Do you believe only safe chemicals should be used in cosmetics?
You might want to see the following sites to be more informed.
1) National TV ABC news: 2012
2) Toxic Cosmetic ingredients
3) Organic cosmetics the answer?


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Know your G proteins: relevant for Allergy, Autism, Aspergers and ASD

The G protein interconnects several proteins within the cell. Most importantly, it interconnects several proteins to the immune pathway. So, if you have wondered why and how more than one factor could cause the new diseases and allergies we are encountering in recent decades – know your G proteins.

I will write a series of articles on the G protein, Thanks, to a reader ( fitfoodhealthprogram blogger) who asked me to update frequently.

1) They will first describe the G protein and how it functions to take care of you or contributes to disease.    2) Then, they will in a series take each protein and show you how each protein may interact with an environmental factor or a vaccine factor or a bacterial, virus, or fungal protein, or sunlight/Vit D and/or all of them together inside your cells within your body.

You have to realize that all this is in research phase all over the world. So, I will have to be analyzing the most relevant work that succintly states what is important to Allergy, Autism, Aspergers and ASD.

Please, allow for time between articles for some research but also let us know what you want us to expand upon. So, watch out for articles here on how the G protein may hold some answers. It will gather research from all over the world and succintly state what is relevant to our readers. Simple. You simply must know your G proteins.

Irrelevant scientific detail: How do scientists study protein-protein interactions? Here are some links to journal publications in recent years (2005 to current) and a video.
1) Hida and colleagues.
2) Farrell and colleagues.
3) Ai and colleagues. This link takes time to load.
4) Video. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Virginia Commonwealth Institute. Extremely good and educational video with a pleasant narrator. Very advanced science content. Invite the speaker to your group to give a presentation and see if these scientists can explain to you about research on receptor interaction.

Research on G protein: Trust me. The answers are critical to your health questions on the new rising issues in recent decades. It is imperative that you understand the importance of interactions of various external signals like pesticides, herbicides, vaccines, common infections, environmental toxins, in combination with your gut signals generated by gut microbials, antibiotics, drugs and food. Only when you understand this major issue, will you be able to demand and fund such protein-protein interaction studies. If you are a journalist, then your role will be to educate your community of readers. Translate what I write into beautiful prose to capture your readers imagination.  As a community, all must begin to understand how different signals interact inside your cell. Simple. You simply must know your G proteins.

Related Articles
Preparing Professors for a student with Aspergers
Mutations in SHANK protein causing Autism in recent years.
National TV news PBS covering Autism and ASD in six series
Autistic or severely Allergic child with Multiple Sclerosis parent – a connection?


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Four facts about allergy: parents, children, patients, genes and researchers

One: Pediatrician Stephen Cowan says the gut and the brain are not two separate things but are interconnected.
(From Alison Rose Levy’s article in Huffington post in 2010
There’s an experiment going on right now–but it isn’t being conducted by scientists. It’s being conducted by parents. In 30 million kitchens across the U.S. that experiment is called “What Can My Child Eat?” In families with children with autism and allergies, the result of that experiment can either be a day of relative calm and comfort, or it can produce anything from brain fog, digestive discomfort, and mood swings, to pain, seizures, skin outbreaks, and severe digestive distress.

While the debate continues as to whether or not laboratory scientists have successfully isolated a single one of the many factors that a growing numnber of doctors say may contribute to autism, families still have to cope and they still have to feed their children. …

Two: Dr Harumi Jyonouchi, Pediatric Allergy/Immunology Clinic, reports in 2010 that food allergy is related to asthma, autism and ASD and prevalent in 30% of the population and rising.

IgE-mediated allergic diseases (e.g., allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, atopic asthma and food allergy) are prevalent (up to 30%) in the general population and are increasing in developed countries. In infants and young children, non-IgE-mediated food allergy is also prevalent. In addition to easily recognized organ-specific symptoms, allergic diseases can cause neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as irritability and hyperactivity, in otherwise healthy individuals. This is also likely to occur in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Moreover, the discomfort….

Three: Just because a food has been eaten in the past for over 2000 years does not mean it is good for you today; it should be better for you but no longer is. Why? Pediatrician Dr S. Lucarelli reported in 1995that ancient foods like milk and wheat may be toxic to the central nervous system.

Our Daily Bread

Panminerva Med. 1995 Sep;37(3):137-41.
Food allergy and infantile autism.
Lucarelli S, Frediani T, Zingoni AM, Ferruzzi F, Giardini O, Quintieri F, Barbato M, D’Eufemia P, Cardi E.
Department of Paediatrics, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy.
The etiopathogenesis of infantile autism is still unknown. Recently some authors have suggested that food peptides might be able to determine toxic effects at the level of the central nervous system by interacting with neurotransmitters. In fact a worsening of neurological symptoms has been reported in autistic patients after the consumption of milk and wheat. The aim of the present study has been to verify the efficacy of a cow’s milk free diet (or other foods which gave a positive result after a skin test) in 36 autistic patients. We also looked for immunological signs of food allergy in autistic patients on a free choice diet. We noticed a marked improvement in the behavioural symptoms of patients after a period of 8 weeks on an elimination diet and we found high levels of IgA antigen specific antibodies for casein, lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin and IgG and IgM for casein. The levels of these antibodies were significantly higher than those of a control group which consisted of 20 healthy children. Our results lead us to hypothesise a relationship between food allergy and infantile autism as has already been suggested for other disturbances of the central nervous system.
PMID: 8869369 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
MeSH Terms, Substan

Four: The CD 14 gene for food allergy has been taken to new heights by Dr S. Goyert, promising real answers for many allergic patients.

Related Article
How to add Calcium in the diets of Allergic and Autistic kids?
G-proteins and their relationship to Autism, Allergy, Aspergers.


Filed under Health, Research, Science

Autistic child or severely Allergic child with Multiple Sclerosis parent

You are not alone if you are in a family with a child diagnosed with an Autistic/ Allergic disorder and an adult diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. What has disrupted the lifestyles espoused by the developed world? It is plain to see that our children are far weaker and have severe allergies to food items that our ancestors have eaten for generations and even their grandparents can tolerate well in their old age!

The genetic link is suspected to be an autoimmune genes. Yet, inspite of large, genome studies there is no single gene or a group of genes that appear to be common factors. There are several large regions on the chromosomes that share common characteristics among patients with Autism, Aspergers, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Autoimmune diseases. The immune genes appear to play a role but no particular set of immune genes stand out. Obviously, genes alone are not responsible for these disorders. 

The dedicated researchers in this field continue to perservere since it is obvious there is a shared set of factors triggering such disorders in a single family. Do contact the researchers and encourage them. These men and women are working long hours to discover these common triggers. Invite them to your support groups and inspire them. Shower them with accolades and let these men and women researchers know that they are our modern “Knights in shining armor”.

Scholarly Publications
Here are three scholarly, peer-reviewed articles discussing their research on the subject:
1) One:
2) Two:
3) Three:

One is by Dr Joseph Piven and colleagues, giving their expert psychiatric analysis of such families and concluding that there is a higher incidence of communication and behavioral deficits in the relatives. Families with Autism were compared with families with Down Syndrome and his conclusion was found only in families with Autism.
His contact information:
Dr. Piven, 1875 John Pappajohn Pavilion, Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA 52242-1057; jpiven@blue.weeg. uiowa.edu (e-mail).

Two is by a team of Psychiatrists and a Pediatrician from Medical Schools in Indiana. Their team studied about 300 families and concluded that autoimmune diseases like rheumatic fever was far more common in parents of children with Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, and such disorders than in parents of children not showing such disorders. They see an immune and autoimmune connection in families with Autistic disorders. They found this finding “unanticipated” and illuminating. In addition, they found this connection was not as strong in patients with PDD NOS and far stronger in patients with Autism and Aspergers. Interesting, right?

They hypothesize a mother to son transmission factor. They conclude this from a particularly important observation that there is a numerical increase in autoimmune diseases in grandmothers and uncles, as well as mothers and brothers of PDD patients. Normally, less men and more women present with autoimmune disorders. Yet, Autism and Aspergers are largely diagnosed in boys.

Contact information:
Thayne L. Sweeten, PhD*, Suzanne L. Bowyer, MD‡, David J. Posey, MD*, Gary M. Halberstadt, DO§, Christopher J. McDougle, MD*
*Departments of Psychiatry
‡Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, and James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children Indianapolis, Indiana
§St Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis, Indiana

Three is by The researchers studied the rates of Autoimmune diseases in parents of 111 infant Autistic patients and naturally, there were more boy patients (82) than girl patients (29). They observed a higher incidence of ulcerative collitis in mothers and Type 1 diabetes in fathers of infant Autism patients in comparison of parents of 330 normal children. The results were published in 2007 in the peer-reviewed journal Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology.

Contact information:
Mouridsen, S. E., Rich, B., Isager, T. and Nedergaard, N. J.
* Correspondence to first author at Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark. E-mail: sem01@bbh.hosp.dk
1 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Denmark
2 Terrasserne 105, Roskilde, Denmark
3 Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Glostrup University Hospital, Denmark
4 Psychiatric Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark

The scientific authors of these scientific publications on Autism disorders are observing with tempered frustration how uneducated the larger population is of this rising epidemic. They request that you allow for a 30% error in their observations. This error percentage is far higher in experiments allowing for human error. That is because people in general are unaware of the terms and symptoms of this rising epidemic until it hits one dear to them. Your role is to educate the public. Then the researchers in this field will find it easier to get results less prone to “uneducated responses” from their researched families “untouched” by Autoimmune disorders. This societal shift in autoimmune diseases in more boys vs girls and women is what the researchers are following. The numbers of Autistic and Asperger boys are rising each year. They will grow up and outlive their parents, many of whom are suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Society faces a future it has no previous comprehension of.

Photo credit here.

Related articles:

1) Preparing College Professors for Autistic or Aspergers students
2) Curing Multiple Sclerosis with hook worms
3) Why do Somali children present with Autism in USA and not in Somalia?
4) Why choose a Pecan pie free of corn syrup?
5) Recent advances in Tourettes syndrome treatment


Filed under Health, Research, Science

Food Allergy and the CD 14 gene

Dr. Sanna Goyert, armed with a PhD from New York University in 1983, proceeded to devote her laboratory in New York city to find a cure for sepsis, a severe immune reaction to a bacterial infection that was deadly if not intervened aggressively. In less than a decade, she discovered the human CD 14 gene and history was made! She has published over 100 research papers, holds 2 major patents licensed to companies finding cures, and has been awarded the prestigious Stohlman Scholars award from the Leukemia Society of America. Now, why would a scientist be rewarded by the Leukemia Society, after discovering the CD 14 gene and how might cells clear severe bacterial infection faster in the absence of the CD 14 gene? Why is the human CD 14 gene so important? That is the story I am attempting to tell here.

Paris hosted an international workshop in 1982 to classify the different types of white blood cells based on their cell surface molecules, which were named CD (Cell Differentiation). Today, in 2011 more than 320 CDs have been documented. The CD classification is often used to associate a cell with a certain immune function, and yet, only a few of them have been characterized. Generously funded research led to the discovery of the most notorious function of a white blood surface molecule, CD 4; it is the molecule to which the HIV (virus) binds, along with a second molecule, to gain entry into the human body. The important function of recognizing the sepsis bacterium by CD 14, came from research done in Dr Goyert’s lab.

The CD 14 molecule has been extensively researced for two decades. Although, CD 14 became less trendy, Dr Goyert remained devoted to the gene that she had discovered in 1988, and persisted in trying to understand how CD 14 gets a job done. Dr Hubertus Jersmann, of the University of Adelaide, Australia surmised that the CD 14 molecule is found in low amounts in many different cell type surfaces in addition to the white blood cells. Such cell types include the gingivis cells, the gut or intestinal cells, the islet cells of the pancreas and the spermatozoa. CD 14 is recognized as the first PAMP receptor discovered, where PAMP represents “Pathogen Associated Molecular Pattern”. In 1990, CD 14 was characterized as the PAMP receptor for bacterial endotoxin (LPS).

Most people today are aware of at least one child who is allergic to a certain type of food. This surprises many of the older generation when everybody ate everything without being “allergic”. It becomes impossible to complain about the inconvenience of accommodating a child or adult who might be allergic to the menu of choice. How do you continue to complain when a child with anaphylactic shock to peanuts or another food is rushed to the emergency room because of the menu? How do you not become more accommodating when you hear of a teenager dying from eating in a restaurant, assuming that the menu is “peanut free” or free of known allergens?

But why is this happening? Now, we are beginning to notice a pattern and there are three modes of action:

1) An immediate search for a cure;

2) An immediate need for policy to accommodate the increasing number of children, (and now teens and adults who were children a decade ago) who are allergic to a growing list of allergens;

3) A scientific race to find the culprit or environmental trigger or genetic markers or a combination of factors that may lead to food allergy; a race to find the genetic markers that protect an individual from an allergic reaction to the same combination of culprit factors.

Here, I will discuss the genetic markers that appear to increase or perhaps, decrease the risk of food allergy. We do not understand the role of these genetic markers or why they are selectively responding to an unknown factor or a combination of factors to produce an allergic reaction. I am absolutely certain that this genetic marker alone does not cause the child to become allergic. It is however, one of the factors and may hold clues to an environmental or another unknown trigger. It is also important to learn which genetic markers are protecting the non-allergic population from the same culprit triggers. This allergic reaction may range from mild to deadly. Please, alert me by commenting here if you hear of an update.

There are nine most common allergens known today and many less common or rare allergens. A good place to begin as a service provider or care giver to help understand an allergic child or adults is the 30 page educational guide published by the United States Department of Agriculture in “Food Allergy and Intolerance Resource List, December 2010“.

Why are some people allergic to egg? The 2011 to 2012 flu seasonal vaccine in the USA is manufactured only in eggs, although Europe has introduced egg – free vaccination. This denies most people in the world who are allergic to egg an opportunity to artificially protect themselves against the flu virus. In an earlier article, I have discussed the properties of the flu virus and the vaccines currently in development. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, egg allergy is one of the nine common allergens in 2010.

One gene that is being associated with allergy is the CD 14 gene. It is on chromosome 5 of humans in the 5q23-31 region. There are several interesting facts about this CD 14 gene. It has been cloned and the gene has two exons (protein coding regions). It has a membrane bound form called mCD 14 and a plasma shredded form called sCD 14. The sCD 14 level in plasma increases during inflammation (allergic reaction) and infection by a pathogen. The gene has several known polymorphisms (mutations) of which one, at position -159 of the promoter region that regulates the production of this gene, is of particular interest. Position -159 of CD 14 gene, is associated in some people with allergies. Position -159 together with -1619 correlated with a decrease in lung function when farmers with mutations of the CD 14 gene where exposed to endotoxin. Influence of genes and environment on allergic reactions has been reviewed by Dr. Kondo, a researcher in Japan, which unfortunately, I could not read, and researchers at University of Arizona. Dr Vercelli at Arizona says that it is the task of functional genomists to figure out what is the potential role of CD 14 in the progression of an allergic disease. He is of the opinion that the environment is likely to play an essential role.

The CD 14 gene plays a role in diseases other than allergy. The Alzheimer’s amyloid peptide binds to CD 14, implicating it in the disease progression of the aging microglia cells of the brain. In the Chinese population, a single base change in the CD 14 regulatory region of the gene (-260 C/T polymorphism) can contribute to a higher risk of getting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Level of mutated CD 14 (-260 T/T) in gingiva cells is associated with severe periodontal disease in Dutch. A polymorphism in CD 14 is associated with Crohn’s disease. In a South Korean population, patients with Tuberculosis were more likely to carry the CD 14 (-159 T/T) polymorphism. Turkish scientists have found elevated levels of CD 14 in Brucellosis, a bacterial disease. Elevated levels of CD 14 are found in tuberculosis. There was no obvious role of CD 14 in arthritis produced by the lyme bacterium in Germany.

How can you help in food allergy research? You can do it in several ways but the one that I would suggest that might make a major difference is if you can show the scientists working on this field that they are our heros. For a scientist, your encouragement is like the “wind beneath the wings”. For example, you could send Dr Sanna Goyert an email showing her you care about the impact her research has made towards allergy research. Her email: sgoyert@med.cuny.edu. Write to influencers and request that Dr Goyert should be showered with awards. Please, note that this is a woman scientist. Then, find other scientists working on allergy and encourage them in your own unique way. Write to Dr Kondo (nkondo@gifu-u.ac.jp) in Japan, Dr Hubertus Jersmann at the University of Adelaide, Australia, Dr M L Laine in Netherlands, and Dr Vercelli at University of Arizona and encourage them to find the role of CD 14 and the environmental trigger in allergy progression. You could also write to companies encouraging their scientists to find a cure. Your support counts to a dedicated allergy researcher. The technology exists today to solve this disease puzzle. Together, we can beat this modern scourge of allergy.


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