Unlike allergies to food and airborne substances, family genetics do not appear to play a role in medication allergies. Even when multiple family members report having an allergy to a particular drug, there’s no greater likelihood that others in that family will develop a similar reaction. An important exception is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), a rare and potentially life-threatening reaction to certain drugs, usually sulfa-containing antibiotics or epilepsy medicines (although other medications can also cause this condition). There’s some evidence that patients who develop SJS may have a certain gene in their immune system that predisposes them to this type of reaction. SJS aside, many medication allergies are “outgrown” or lost over time, even in adults. Testing (albeit difficult for certain types of drugs) often reveals that patients are no longer allergic.
Research continues into the effects of BPA (bisphenol A), a component in polycarbonate plastic that can interfere with reproductive development in animals. BPA has also been linked to heart disease and diabetes in humans. Led by Harvard School of Public Health researchers, a recent study (published in Environmental Health Perspectives) found that students who drank cold beverages from plastic drinking bottles for a week had a 69 percent increase of BPA in their urine—this, after a “washout” week where students drank instead from stainless steel containers. The Harvard study is the first to show that drinking from polycarbonate bottles increased the level of urinary BPA. Earlier work revealed only that BPA leaches into container contents. The students in the study did not wash their bottles in the dishwasher or put hot liquids in them, activities said to increase the amount of leaching.
Autism is characterized by abnormalities of social interaction and communication, as well as highly repetitive behaviors and restricted interests. It is a spectrum disorder, meaning that it encompasses a broad range of symptoms and affects people differently.
The Autism & ADHD Diet, A Step-by-Step Guide to Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free and Other Interventions (Sourcebooks, Inc.) by Barrie Silberberg is one mother’s story.
Psychotherapist David Kundtz introduces quiet wisdom a page at a time.
Hay fever can affect more than your nose. It also can impact your love life. A recent study by YouGov, a market research firm, on behalf of pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough found that almost half of people with hay fever symptoms become more irritable and that affects their relationships. The survey, which included almost 800 participants, suggests that hay fever sufferers feel less affectionate and have more arguments with significant others due to their symptoms.
If you’re on a special diet due to food allergy or an autoimmune condition like celiac disease or Type 1 diabetes, you’re vulnerable to the impact of dietary restrictions on mood and cognition. Many of my patients complain about “brain fog,” a frustrating combination of lack of focus, forgetfulness and difficulty retaining new information. Sound familiar? Symptoms of brain fog differ from those of early dementia. It’s normal to forget where you put your keys; it’s a red flag if you can’t remember what your keys do. For many people with brain fog, B vitamins can make a world of difference in mental and emotional wellbeing.
When you see Kaitlyn Ford with her friends, you might not notice anything unusual about her. If she stands out at all, it’s most likely because of her long red hair and bright blue eyes. It still amazes parents David and Kathy Deery Ford of Norwood, Massachusetts, that 6-year-old Kaitlyn fits in so well, since just a few short years ago she was lost in her own world, unresponsive to anyone but her mother. Kaitlyn was only 19 months old when her mother began to worry. The toddler was a terrible sleeper, waking every two hours thirsty and drenched in sweat. She had bright red cheeks and chronic loose bowels. Most troubling, she had very little language. As she approached her second birthday, Kaitlyn spoke just a few words and used them inappropriately. Kathy knew that all children develop at their own pace, but it troubled her to see how different Kaitlyn was from her sister Nicole, who was 2 years older. Family members were worried about Kaitlyn’s minimal language, low muscle tone, lack of eye contact and her obsession with playing with hair—her own and any she could get her hands on. Shortly before the little girl’s two-year check up, Kaitlyn’s aunts confronted Kathy and David.
Stefano Guandalini, M.D., medical director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center and one of the world’s leading experts on celiac disease, talks with editor Alicia Woodward about this often misunderstood and vastly undiagnosed genetic disorder.
As a physical therapist assistant and massage therapist, I understand the importance of touch. But I never knew how crucial touch is to children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) until I began working with them on a daily basis. For these children, touch is more than casual contact. It signifies a level of trust and understanding that can only come through patience and diligence.According to the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, regular massage decreases touch aversion in autistic children and helps minimize stress and anxiety.