Posted in May 2010
In User's Guide to Natural Allergy Relief (Basic Health Publications), author Jonathan Berkowitz, MD, says that the most effective way to relieve allergy symptoms is to avoid the allergens that cause them. This may be easier said than done, and it requires some detective work. People prone to life-threatening, anaphylactic reactions to peanuts or bee stings know to avoid their allergen. But some people may not even realize that their symptoms are due to an allergic reaction. Thanks to television commercials, virtually everyone understands that allergies can cause sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose, but few recognize the many other symptoms that allergies create. Fatigue and allergic shiners (dark discoloration under the eyes) are common signs of allergies. Skin reactions that include hives, rashes, eczema, and even acne also occur. Allergies can even cause abdominal pain, headaches, joint pain, shortness of breath, and irritable bowel. Recognizing that a problem may be due to an allergy opens the possibility of identifying and, hopefully, avoiding the trigger.
Many times, a quick response to a smell or food makes it easy to identify items that trigger allergic reactions. For example, the smell of hairspray or diesel fuel may immediately cause coughing or wheezing. To identify more subtle triggers, Dr. Berkowitz recommends keeping an allergy diary: a record of symptoms, time, and date, location, activity, severity, duration of attack, and any intervention. Are symptoms better or worse at home, at work, in the car? Are they worse before dusting and cleaning the house or after using specific cleaning products? By keeping an ongoing record, patterns of location and seasons will show up. Sharing the allergy diary with a perceptive friend or health-care professional may help identify possible triggers. After narrowing down the possible culprit, remove the item(s) or avoid the area and see if the symptoms improve. If several items are suspect, remove them all and slowly reintroduce items one by one to weed out the offenders. Allergens at the workplace may require a job or career change if the trigger cannot be removed. Dr. Berkowitz says, "If you know something triggers an attack, you either trash it or avoid it!"
Berkowitz J. User's Guide to Natural Allergy Relief. North Bergen, NJ: Basic Health Publications; 2003:1–26.
Tinospora and Allergic Rhinitis
The herb Tinospora cordifolia relieves allergic rhinitis, according to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (January 2005). Also known as guduchi, gulancha, and giloy, tinospora is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to increase longevity, improve memory, and promote immune function. Modern research has found that the herb stimulates the production of white blood cells and decreases allergic reactions.
This eight-week study, performed by V. A. Badar and colleagues, involved 75 patients, diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, from Nagpur, India. Those in the active group received 300 mg of a standardized tinospora extract three times per day, while those in the control group took a placebo. The researchers performed a clinical exam that included nasal smears and blood samples at baseline and at the study's end. They also asked participants to record their symptoms (i.e., sneezing, nasal discharge, itchiness, and congestion) throughout the study. After eight weeks, 83% of tinospora users reported total relief from sneezing; 69% had total relief from nasal discharge; 61% reported no nasal obstruction; and 71% reported no nasal itchiness. The decrease in allergic activity was evident in the group's nasal smears. In addition, their blood samples showed "a significant increase [from baseline] in the number of white blood cells compared with the placebo group, suggesting an enhanced state of immunity." The only complaints reported by tinospora users were minor nasal pain (n = 2) and headache (n = 1). In her review of the study, Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, says "Future studies should compare the effects of tinospora with those of currently used allergy treatments." Many of the antihistamines and decongestants now used to treat allergic rhinitis cause drowsiness.
Beauchamp K. Herbal extract relieves allergies [Web page]. Bastyr Center for Natural Health. http://bastyrcenter.org/content/view/308. Accessed April 1, 2010.
Oliff HS. RE: Clinical study of Indian tinospora to treat allergic rhinitis shows positive results. HerbClip™ [online]. July 15, 2005. Accessed February 3, 2006.
Neti Pot and Nasal Irrigation
One way to relieve inhalant allergy symptoms – if you can get over the "yuck" factor – is nasal irrigation with a neti pot. Jala neti ("water cleansing") is a yoga technique, commonly practiced in parts of India. It involves pouring warm, slightly salted water into one nostril while keeping the head tilted so that the water runs out of the other (lower) nostril. Relaxing and breathing through the mouth helps the water run from one side down to the other quickly.
Nasal irrigation removes pollen, dust, and mucus from the nasal passage. Regular use, once a day, reduces allergy symptoms, improves breathing, reduces postnasal drip, and relieves sinusitis. The practice, when used up to four times a day, also prevents common colds or reduces their duration. A randomized, controlled study involving 76 people (52 experimental and 24 control subjects) with histories of frequent sinusitis reports, "Patient satisfaction and compliance were high for nasal irrigation." Neti users required fewer antibiotics and less nasal spray than controls, when performing nasal irrigation once a day. On the exit questionnaire, six months after beginning the program, those in the nasal irrigation group "reported overall improvement of sinus-related quality of life, and none reported worsening (P < 0.001); on average, experimental subjects reported 57± 4.5% improvement."
Using a neti pot is easier than many Westerners assume and takes just a few minutes. Water temperature and salinity must be comfortable. Wikipedia recommends taking a sip of the solution to test it: "If it does not feel soothing in the mouth, then it will not feel soothing in your nose." Water that is too warm or too cold is quite uncomfortable. Also, the salt needs to be completely dissolved. Scientific literature is still debating optimal salinity. The study mentioned above mixed a solution of one heaping teaspoon of canning salt, one-half teaspoon of baking soda, and one pint of water (16 oz). Most of the directions that I have seen on the Internet or included with neti pots sold in health food stores recommend one-quarter teaspoon of fine-grain, noniodized salt or one-half teaspoon of coarsely ground salt (Kosher or canning salt) for every 8 fluid ounces (one-quarter liter) of warm water. After running the contents of a neti pot through the nasal passage, any remaining water needs to expelled by bending over and breathing out quickly several times. Do not squeeze a nostril closed while breathing out to expel water. It may force the water into the ear canal and possibly cause an infection.
Neti pots are commonly available in health food stores. The web site www.jalanetipot.com carries a helpful comparison of the different types of neti pots available.
Neti Pot comparison [Web page]. Jalanetipot.com. www.jalanetipot.com/neti_pot_compare.html. Accessed April 1, 2010.
Neti pot for sinus health. Healingdaily.com. www.healingdaily.com/exercise/neti-pot.htm Accessed April 1, 2010.
Rabago D, Zgierska A, Mundt M et al. Efficacy of daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation among patients with sinusitis: a randomized controlled trial. J Fam Pract. 2002;51. Available at: www.jfponline.com/Pages.asp?AID=1355&UID=. Accessed April 1, 2010.
Research on jalaneti. Jalanetipot.com. jalanetipot.com/research.html. Accessed April 1, 2010.
Neti pot [Web page].Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neti_pot. Accessed April 1, 2010.
Latex Allergy Prevention
Frequent exposure to natural rubber latex products is known to cause sensitization and allergic reactions. Health-care workers, food service workers, and infants who undergo multiple surgeries (such as those with spina bifida) have the highest risk. Estimates of latex sensitization among health-care workers range from 10% to 17%. Between 35% and 70% of spina bifida patients acquire latex sensitization, which is blamed for 70% of the anaphylactic reactions that occur in these children. People with a history of allergic reactions (including asthma, eczema, and rhinitis) have an increased risk of becoming latex-sensitive. Crossreactivity between latex proteins, and some foods (e.g., banana, avocado, chestnut, and kiwi) also occurs. Powdered latex gloves are credited with inciting much of the latex sensitivity. The powder carries latex proteins into the environment. Studies have shown that health-care personnel who use powdered latex gloves are more likely to become latex-sensitive than those using powder-free gloves.
Three types of reactions occur in latex-sensitive people, and these reactions can exist at the same time. The most frequent reaction is irritation, a contact dermatitis characterized by dry, crusty, hard bumps, sores, and itching. A delayed hypersensitivity reaction, mediated by T cells, is the next most common. It usually manifests as itching, erythema (redness), swelling, pimples, blisters, and other skin lesions. The reaction appears 18 to 24 hours after exposure, peaking at about 48 hours. It usually resolves within three or four days. Immediate hypersensitivity, a systemic IgE-mediated response to latex proteins, is the third reaction. In this case, symptoms appear within minutes of exposure and include local swelling, redness, edema, itching, and systemic reactions, such as bronchospasm, asthma, angioedema, and anaphylaxis. The most severe reactions tend to occur when latex proteins contact internal tissues during invasive procedures and when they touch mucous membranes of the mouth, vagina, urethra, or rectum. Because it is impossible to predict when a latex-sensitized person will react with severity, guidelines from the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) state that "all individuals presenting with natural rubber latex sensitivity should be treated as if they are allergic." Anyone who experiences itching, swelling, or other signs of irritation after contact with latex gloves, condoms, or balloons should be evaluated by a qualified health-care practitioner.
Because increased exposure leads to greater sensitization, many US health-care facilities are choosing to become "latex-safe" environments. They use powder-free, low-protein latex gloves and latex-free items when available. Latex gloves are not the only source of natural rubber latex proteins. Syringes, IV tubing, tourniquets, tape, underpads, catheters, feeding tubes, bulb syringes, even anesthesia breathing bags may contain the protein. In the everyday environment, chewing gum, zippered plastic storage bags, diapers, feeding nipples, and lottery scratch tickets are other sources. People with latex sensitivity should use latex-free items only. AORN has suggestions for creating a latex-free cart for clinical use. The Spina Bifida Association of America lists items that frequently contain latex as well as latex-free alternatives that are available.
Association of periOperative Registered Nurses. AORN latex guideline – 2004 standards, recommended practices, and guidelines. Available at: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FSL/is_3_79/ai_114701207. Accessed April 1, 2010.
Spina Bifida Association of America. 2009 latex list. Available at: www.sbaa.org/site/DocServer/Latex_List_2005.pdf?docID=2561. Accessed April 1, 2010.
Impermeable Bedding Covers and Allergic Rhinitis
A pair of studies printed in the New England Journal of Medicine (July 17, 2003) question the effectiveness of using impermeable bedding covers to reduce allergy symptoms. Impermeable bedding is believed to reduce exposure to house dust mites, found in bedding, carpeting, and upholstered furniture. Experts have regarded such bedding as a more effective allergy-control measure than removing carpets and reducing exposure to upholstered furniture.
"Evaluation of Impermeable Covers for Bedding in Patients with Allergic Rhinitis," by I. Terreehorst and colleagues, reports that allergy symptoms did not decrease even though the bedding did reduce exposure to house dust mites. This randomized, placebo-controlled study involved 279 patients from three Dutch university medical centers. Each participant tested positive for dust mite allergen, according to skin tests and nasal allergen-challenge tests. All participants had one or more of the following symptoms: nasal obstruction, watery nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal itching. Half of the subjects received impermeable covers for their mattress, pillow, and duvet or blanket. The other half got nonimpermeable (control) covers. Researchers explained general allergen-avoidance techniques and asked all participants to wash their bedding weekly in hot water and to clean and ventilate their homes on a regular schedule. They also asked participants to refrain from replacing their duvets, blankets, or mattresses and changing their floor surfaces and upholstered furniture during the trial. Researchers measured dust mite concentrations in dust from patients' mattresses, bedroom floors, and living-room floors at baseline and after 12 months. Rhinitis severity was measured with a rhinitis-specific visual analogue scale, a daily symptom score, and nasal allergen provocation testing. Although the researchers found significant reductions in the concentration of dust mites in the mattresses of those using impermeable bedding, clinical symptoms did not significantly improve.
A British study, printed in the same issue of NEJM, looks at the use of impermeable bedding as a way to reduce the need for inhaled corticosteroid therapy among asthmatics. Unlike the Dutch study, the 1,122 adults in this study were not instructed to clean the bedding. Testing showed dust mite sensitivity in 65.4% of the group supplied with allergen-impermeable bed covers and in 65.1% of those supplied with nonimpermeable bed covers. The type of bedding cover made little difference, however. During the year trial, 17.4% of those using impermeable bedding were able to quit using inhaled corticosteroid therapy – a result nearly identical to the 17.1% in the control group. Mean reduction in steroid use did not significantly differ between all patients and mite-sensitive patients.
A combination of allergen-reducing measures (using impermeable covers and high-efficiency vacuum cleaners, washing bedding each week, replacing carpets with hard flooring) can create an environment that reduces the risk of asthma. These two studies, however, indicate that simply using impermeable bedding covers is not an effective treatment for house mite dust allergy.
Terreehorst I, Hak E, Oosting AJ, et al. Evaluation of impermeable covers for bedding in patients with allergic rhinitis. N Engl J Med. 2003;349: 237–246. Available at: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/349/3/237.pdf. Accessed February 6, 2006.
Woodcock A, Forster L, Matthews E, et al. Control of exposure to mite allergen and allergen-impermeable bed covers for adults with asthma. N Engl J Med. 2003;349:225–236. Available at http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/349/3/225.pdf. Accessed February 6, 2006.
Adrenal Cortex Insufficiency and Allergies
Are allergies, asthma, eczema, and other inflammatory conditions signs of adrenal cortex insufficiency? They certainly are treated that way, according to Thomas S. Cowan, MD, in his book, The Fourfold Path to Healing. The adrenal hormone cortisone and its derivatives are often the treatment of choice for such conditions. The adrenal cortex (the large, outer portion of the gland) produces several hormones necessary for maintaining and restoring equilibrium. These hormones include glucocorticoids, which regulate sugar metabolism and inflammation; mineralocorticoids, which regulate salt balance; and sex hormone precursors. In contrast, epinephrine (adrenaline) from the adrenal medulla (the inner portion) primes the body for emergencies. It produces the "fight-or-flight" response to stress. In addition to the many life-challenging situations that cause legitimate stress, our culture manufactures stress in the form of "urgent" news reports, adrenaline-pumping television shows, and video games. High consumption of caffeine further stimulates the system. Restoring equilibrium in the face of a constant onslaught of emergency alerts can exhaust the adrenal cortex. It simply cannot respond to the pituitary gland's call to increase hormone production.
As a practitioner of anthroposophical medicine, Dr. Cowan's recommendations for treating adrenal cortex insufficiency address all aspects of the patient. "True relief from asthma, allergies, and other symptoms of adrenal insufficiency," he writes, "can only be achieved by rebuilding the gland with proper nutrition and by re-establishing the balance of the adrenal/pituitary system through various activities that heal the Emotional body." First, he emphasizes the need for good nutrition, based on traditionally prepared whole foods, to support the physical body. Because the adrenal cortex uses cholesterol to make its hormone, Cowan emphasizes the importance of including high-quality butter and cultured cream, produced by grass-fed cows. Processed foods, hydrogenated fats, and caffeine should be avoided. In terms of therapeutics, he recommends supporting the adrenal glands and, if necessary, other glands that make up the pituitary–endocrine axis (pituitary, thyroid, ovaries, testicles) with protomorphogen-containing products developed by Dr. Royal Lee and made by Standard Process. Protomorphogens, the cellular determinants in an organ's nucleoproteins, provide a "blueprint for the regeneration and rebuilding of a distressed organ." Herbs, homeopathics, nutritional supplements, and chiropractic adjustments are other therapeutic options.
Reducing stress and eliminating unnecessary stressors are vital for restoring adrenal function. Cowan says, "Many people with allergies are in fact anxious and fearful, and they tend to overreact on many levels." He addresses the emotional-mental bodies with suggestions for grounding through walking (heel placed down first) and deep breathing. A simple meditation technique drawn from Rudolf Steiner's Rückschau Meditation can be helpful for reducing stress. The technique consists of reviewing each day's events (beginning with the most recent event), as if watching a film of someone else's life. While doing this meditation each evening, Dr. Cowan suggests fostering an objective, philosophical view, taking a long-term perspective. Instead of seeing the day's events as the whole book of your life, view them as paragraphs in a much longer volume. Dr. Cowan points out that "it is the perception of the events in our lives that affects our physiology, not the actual events. Daily or frequent application of this kind of mental exercise can help us achieve balance in the physical performance of our adrenal glands."
In addition, he urges people to listen to their inner guides instead of "living a life of ‘should.'" He calls the adrenal gland "the processor of stress in our bodies." Cowan defines stress as being "anything that forces us to live contrary to what our inner guide is telling us is right for us
Cowan TS, Fallon S, McMillan J. Diseases of adrenal cortex insufficiency. The Fourfold Path to Healing. Washington, DC: New Trends Publishing, Inc; 2004:179–193.
In August 2005, a 5-year-old autistic boy died during intravenous chelation therapy at a physician's office near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His death was the result of using the wrong chelating agent, according to Dr. Mary Jean Brown, chief of Lead Poisoning Prevention for the Centers for Disease Control. The autopsy report shows that the child's blood calcium was below 5 mg, which caused his heart to stop beating. (Normal is between 7 and 9.) Dr. Brown said that the child had received edetate disodium (Endrate), instead of edetate calcium disodium (Calcium Disodium Versenate), by mistake. Edetate disodium is used in emergencies to remove calcium from the blood of people with hypercalcemia. Edetate calcium disodium is an injectable chelating agent, approved by the FDA for the removal of lead. Dr. Brown said the same error occurred three years ago when an Oregon woman died while receiving chelation for clogged arteries, and also in May 2005, when a 2-year-old in Texas received the wrong agent while being treated for lead poisoning.
Calcium Disodium Versenate [Web page]. Drugs.com. www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic2/canaversenate.htm. Accessed April 1, 2010.
Edetate [Web page]. Drugs.com. www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic3/edta.htm. Accessed February 3, 2006.
Kane K. Drug error, not chelation therapy, killed boy, expert says. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 18, 2006. Available at: www.post-gazette.com/pg/06018/639721.stmv Accessed April 1, 2010.
Kane K, Linn V. Boy dies during autism treatment. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. August 25, 2005.
Licensed MDs and DOs in North America who seek a holistic, intuitive way to practice medicine may find the Physician's Association for Anthroposophical Medicine (PAAM) of interest. Anthroposophical medicine, based on the insights of mystic and social philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), works with nature to enhance individual development. In this system, illness is viewed as an opportunity for the patient to grow and resolve inner conflicts. Anthroposophical doctors use orthodox medical treatment when necessary but emphasize nature-based therapies that support the body's innate healing wisdom. Fifteen EU-member states recognize this practice.
Anthroposophical physicians keep four components in mind as they guide their patients. The physical body is the form we weigh and measure. The etheric body is the organizing principle or energy that directs growth and regeneration. It guides plants as well as animals and humans. The astral body, found in animals and humans, refers to instinct, desire, and movement. The fourth element – the mental body or Ego – embodies self-reflection and the ability to make choices that affect our journey through life.
Keeping this fourfold context in mind, anthroposophical medicine views health and illness as an interplay between three organ systems: the metabolic-limb system, the nerve-sense system, and the rhythmical system. The metabolic-limb system and the nerve-sense system have opposing qualities. Tissues of the metabolic-limb system, which includes digestive and reproductive organs and the musculoskeletal system, have high vitality and heal easily. Tissues of the nerve-sense system, located mostly in the head, have low vitality and recover from injury with more difficulty. The rhythmical system (organs of circulation and respiration) maintains balance, carrying some of the tension of the two opposing systems. Illness occurs when one system overwhelms the other.
Anthroposophical doctors use remedies made from mineral, plant, or animal substances. They also recommend massage, bath therapy, movement work (eurythmy), and art therapy. "Every treatment aims to enhance the life force of the patient as a basis for improved health and deepened self-knowledge."
Alicia Landman-Reiner, MD, a PAAM board member, says in her interview for Lilipoh that anthroposophical medicine "is not ‘complementary' treatment, but a larger view of medicine that encompasses standard treatment." PAAM sponsors a two-year training course, consisting of six four-day workshops, for MDs and DOs. The 25-year-old organization also sponsors lectures, conferences, and other educational events throughout the US. It is affiliated with the International Federation of Anthroposophical Medical Associations and with the medical section of the School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum (Dornach, Switzerland). Landman-Reiner says, "The future of medicine lies in relying less on drugs, and more on approaches that engage the patient in the healing process." She admits that patients may find this type of treatment more demanding and complicated than simply taking a pill; "[b]ut in the long run, wherever the patient is engaged body, soul, and spirit, the real possibility of healing arises."
Anthroposophic medicine: facts and figures [Web page]. International Federation of Anthroposophic Medical Associations. http://www.ivaa.info/?p=72. Accessed April 1, 2010.
About PAAM [Web page]. Physicians' Association for Anthroposophical Medicine. www.paam.net. Accessed May 22, 2010.
Anthroposophically extended medicine (AEM) [Web page]. Physicians' Association for Anthroposophical Medicine. www.paam.net/aem.htm. Accessed February 3, 2006. (May 22, 2010: Bad link.)
An Outline of Anthroposophically Extended Medicine (AEM) [Web page]. Physicians' Association for Anthroposophical Medicine. www.paam.net/outline.htm. Accessed February 3, 2006. (May 22, 2010: Bad link.)
A Positive Future for Medicine – An interview with Alicia Landman-Reiner, MD. Lilipoh. Winter 2005. Available at: http://www.anthromed.org/Article.aspx?artpk=211. Accessed April 1, 2010.
Anthroposophic Lifestyle and Allergies in Children
Factors associated with an anthroposophical lifestyle decrease the risk of allergies and asthma in children, according to two European studies. Anthroposophy, based on the writings of Steiner, combines human development with an investigation of the divine spark found in all of nature. The movement has marked education (Waldorf/Steiner schools), agriculture (biodynamic farming), art, architecture, and medicine.
Anthroposophical doctors use orthodox medical treatment when necessary but emphasize nature-based therapies that support the body's innate healing wisdom. Antibiotics, fever-reducing agents, and vaccinations are used with discretion.
A cross-section study in the Lancet (May 1, 1999) compares 295 children (ages 5 to 13), attending two Steiner schools in a village near Stockholm, Sweden, with 380 children of the same age, attending neighboring schools. The researchers gathered data on the children's history of allergy and infectious diseases, use of antibiotics and vaccinations, and other lifestyle/environmental factors (e.g., breastfeeding, household pets, maternal smoking, food). Children raised according to anthroposophy do not receive a combined measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccination. Consequently, these children account for most of Sweden's measles cases. The vaccinations they do receive – usually tetanus and polio – are given later than recommended by health authorities. Antibiotics and antipyretics (fever reducers) are also avoided. Anthroposophical families tend to eat organic or biodynamic food and spontaneously fermented vegetables.
In addition to collecting histories, the researchers performed skin-prick tests for 13 common allergens on the children. They also tested blood samples, taken from the children and their parents, for allergen-specific serum IgE-antibodies. Seven percent of the Steiner students had positive skin prick tests compared to 13% of the control group, and 24% had positive blood test reactions, compared with 33% of the control. Yet, only 13% of the Steiner students had a history of atopy or allergylike symptoms compared with 25% of children in the control school (p < 0.001).
The Swedish researchers could not pinpoint a specific item that lessened the Steiner students' risk of atopy, but they did suggest two likely factors. Sixty-one percent of the Steiner students had had the measles, compared to about 1% in the control schools. The researchers mention that measles infection tends to inhibit atopy, according to scientific literature. Fermented vegetables, containing live lactobacilli, are the second factor. Sixty-three percent of the Steiner students regularly eat fermented vegetables, compared with only 4.5% of the control students. Lactobacilli inhibit antigen-induced IgE production and alter the interleukin profile. Milk formula fortified with lactobacilli has reduced allergy symptoms and intestinal inflammation in infants with milk allergy and atopic dermatitis, according to a study by H. Majamaa and E. Isolauri (J Allergy Clin Immunol 1997;99:179–185). Higher levels of intestinal lactobacilli have been associated with lower allergy rates among Estonian children in comparison with Swedish children (Acta Paediatr 1997;86:956–961).
A January 2006 study, published in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, confirms a correlation between anthroposophical lifestyle and decreased risk of allergy among children. This study involves over 6,600 children, ages 5 to 13 years, (4,606 from Steiner schools and 2,024 from reference schools) in five European countries (Austria, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands). Parental questionnaires provided information about each child's infection history, diet, animal contact, environmental exposures, anthroposophic lifestyle factors, and symptoms and diagnoses of allergic illness. Blood samples were also collected from the children. The Steiner group had "statistically significant reduced risks for rhinoconjunctivitis, atopic eczema, and atopic sensitization." As in the earlier study, children who had the measles have a lower risk of IgE-mediated eczema. In this study, however, simply receiving the MMR vaccine is associated with having a higher risk of rhinoconjunctivitis. Results also identify early use of antibiotics as a factor. Children receiving antibiotics during the first year of life have increased risks of rhinoconjunctivitis (odds ratio [OR], 1.97; 95% CI, 1.26–3.08), asthma (OR, 2.79; 95% CI, 2.03–3.83), and atopic eczema (OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.02–1.71).
Aim JS, Swartz J, Lilja G et al. Atopy in children of families with an anthroposophic lifestyle. Lancet. May 1, 1999. Available at: www.whale.to/vaccine/rb5103.pdf.
Anthroposophic lifestyle reduces risk of allergic disease in children [Web press release]. Medindia. www.medindia.net/news/view_news_main.asp?x=7021&t=1. Accessed April 1, 2010.
Flöistrup H, Swartz J, Bergström A et al. Allergic disease and sensitization in Steiner school children [abstract]. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006;117:59–66. Available at: www.jacionline.org/article/PIIS0091674905021287/abstract. Accessed April 1, 2010.