22 April, 2009

Allergy Inaccuracy (Toaster Burns Bullshit #3)

I need to stop reading anything that appears on the Huffington Post or else I fear the vein running through my right temple will cease merely throbbing and commence with exploding all messy-like everywhere. I sent them some email expressing my anger and disgust over the absolutely abysmal science/medicine reporting standards they apparently have, as have many others in the sciency blogosphere. Apparently they're being reactionary, recidivist bastards because the shit just keeps getting deeper and worse and more stupid that I had believed possible. It is as though Toaster's Stupidity Scale, tempered by the rhetorical vomit and denialist vehemence of the last 8 years, has had to redefine a new Absolute Zero for this kind of stuff.

Not only has the Huffington Post run a poorly informed and incredibly biased article by Jim Carrey (much better known as The Mask and Ace Ventura than a medical expert) on the autism-vaccine link, they're also pimping a link to some site called Intent with an article entitled "The Self Against the Self: Deal With Seasonal Allergies Naturally and Cheaply". The Sciborgs Orac, Abel Pharmboy, and PalMD have ably knocked the wind out of the "ZOMGVAXXIENZ!" argument cloud fogging Mr. Carrey's brain. So I will be burning the latter article.

"The Self Against the Self: Deal With Seasonal Allergies Naturally and Cheaply" contains some vague mystical advice about how to use Zen and Detoxification to get rid of allergy symptoms. It was written by one Debbie Mandel (website), author of several spiritual self-help books, and whose Intent bio says she will help you build immunity to feeling bad. Note that she is not an immunologist, nor even a biologist, but she'll tell you how to build immunity anyway. I wouldn't have a problem with this claim because building immunity can, sometimes, have a different connotation of inuring one against something unfavorable IF she hadn't actually tried, and failed epically, to invoke actual immunology.
Your response to allergens correlates to how balanced you are regarding: eating, exercising, sleeping and stress-management. Allergies are actually an auto-immune response which translates into: the self against the self. [boldface hers]
First the less egregious problem about homeostatic health and allergies: No, allergen responses don't much depend on whether you're stressed out about work or not. Just ask someone with an acute peanut allergy. Allergic responses are, however, modulated through general systemic inflammation if it exists, but this isn't much relevant unless you're morbidly obese (excess fat can increase inflammation).

This second claim, though, is either sheer stupidity or inability to do research. Allergies and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis are NOT the same thing. Some cases of autoimmunity may have similar underlying immune responses as allergy, but this does not mean they are alike. It is true that allergies are an abnormal immune response, but not against the self. Allergens are strictly defined as harmless environmental substances that evoke an immune response as if they were harmful. Or, as a professor once put it, allergens are nonharmful nonself being treated by the immune system as though they are harmful nonself.

The human body, and its immune cells, come into daily contact with millions of nonself molecules and doesn't have an allergic reaction to them. The immune system is generally quite good at distinguishing between what can harm us and what cannot. Allergies arise when the immune system mistakes something that is harmless, like pollen, as harmful and reacts to it.

Here's how allergies basically work (my explanation):
1) Dendritic cells present antigen in MHCII to CD4+ T-cells all the time without much caring what they're presenting. Sometimes harmless antigen gets presented.
2) Some naive CD4+ T-cells are, by virtue of the recombination and mutagenesis that occur as the T-cell receptors are being formed, naturally reactive against that harmless antigen.
3) Harmless antigen-reactive CD4+ T-cells proliferate and usually differentiate into a TH2-type response. The TH2 T-cell phenotype is characterized by secretion of IL-4.
4) TH2 T-cells talk to B-cells and get them to make antibodies against the harmless antigen, now an allergen. Allergen-specific antibodies are usually of the IgE isotype.
5) IgE gets made and secreted into the plasma, where it can become the receptor for mast cells and basophils. Eosinophils get involved in this, too.
6) When an allergen binds mast cell-IgE, it signals the mast cell to release allergy symptom-causing histamines, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes. These chemicals are generally what allergy medications try to work against.
7) Some allergen-reactive TH2 T-cells and their corresponding B-cells will become memory cells, ready to spring back into action at the drop of their allergen.
At no point in this is the immune system reacting against host antigens. In fact, the immune system tries very hard to kill all host-reactive T-cells as they're being made (this results in >99% of all developing T-cells being killed off). If Debbie Mandel had done her research before making up the above assertion, she'd have known better. This is irresponsible, dishonest, and lazy. Although I guess the immune system reacting against harmless environmental substances just isn't as fear-inducing as a self-reactive immune system.
Your response to allergens correlates to how balanced you are regarding: eating, exercising, sleeping and stress-management. Allergies are actually an auto-immune response which translates into: the self against the self. So, it makes absolute sense that when you are intact and whole, your allergies will dissipate and no longer bother you; your immune system will be more vigilant. I present myself as a test case.
It only makes sense if you're poorly informed. Memory immune cells last for many many many years, or else vaccines wouldn't work at all. Presenting herself as a test case is also stupid. How many times do we need to tell people that anecdotes do not equal evidence!?

For years I was an allergy sufferer. My sinus headaches, dizziness, itchy eyes and occasional tiredness always arrived with spring. Every morning I woke up to coffee and Allegra D 180 mg. However, in the past few years I rarely have any symptoms except for the occasional itchy eye and more important, no more killer headaches and sinus pressure!

What has changed? I stopped taking the medication five years ago, ate more fruits and vegetables and basically stopped fighting Mother Nature; I vowed to get along with her no matter what the weather. Brazenly, I went out to my garden, in the trenches, fertilizing, weeding, mulching and pruning without the fear or the expectation of an allergic reaction. I made up my mind not to have any symptoms and oh yes, I almost forgot, I managed my stress.

Note that she doesn't mention how long it took her to stop having symptoms. In all probability, she was quite miserable for the first couple years. What she did here was not Mystical Woo Magic, it was a clumsy and messy version of hyposensitization treatment. In clinical hyposensitization treatment, patients with allergies are inoculated with progressively greater doses of purified allergens. Hyposensitization does not exactly cure allergies, but it does relieve symptoms by skewing the immune response away from a TH2 IgE to a TH1 IgG, which doesn't rely on the mast cells or basophils that can mediate allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. Ms. Mandel would have gotten the same results clinically (but that would have meant vaccine-like injections, which might contain Teh Mercury and Teh Aluminumz! ZOMGs!).

Ultimately, this might have been an interesting and useful article if Debbie Mandel had done their research properly. As it is, her failure to do so has made her writing as flimsy as her detoxicification and Teh Evil Sugarz screeds.

Post Script: Please note that I do not have a problem with people writing about the immune system in the popular media. In fact, I support the information and principles getting more exposure because I think the immune system is The Awesome Eleventy Coolness. If I could, I'd pass out the DC-->T-cell-->B-cell-->antibody dogma in tasty ladlefuls on the street corners if it could be made into a pudding. However, I have a big problem with non-scientists who are completely unqualified trying to assume professional authority and opine about the mechanics of the immune system, or any science for that matter, when they have not done the research thoroughly. That's just irresponsible.

3 comments:

Science Bear said...

What a great post! I think I'm going to put a link on my site to it in case anyone missed it for some reason!

While whirling around the bloggoshpere a few days ago I happened upon a website devoted to the education of celebrities and debunking of their scientific claims. The Jim Carrey article was one of many examples.

In regard to the statement, "..[ I ] made up my mind not to have any symptoms..."

I'll remember that the next time I talk to one of my practicing RD friends. They should just counsel the child with severe peanut allergies to not be symptomatic.. or maybe the next time I'm in the Oncology ward?? What complete BS!! She obviously didn't even understand how the desensitization occurred, since she just told herself she wouldn't have allergies anymore.

Another gem, "..when you are intact and whole.." Is this as apposed to dismembered and swiss cheese like???

Stephen said...

Feel GOOD > InSide & Out !

What “HAPPENs” InSide of our Bodies Influences the way We LOOK on the Outside.

Chronic, UnResolved / UnTreated Inflammation spurred by an Immune System Over-Load is now considered a Key Cause / Factor in almost all Chronic Degenerative and LifeStyle Diseases.

Connect > The Chronic Inflammation DOTs of “ Classic” Achooo > Enviro & FOOD > ALLERGY Disease.

ALLERGY = Corrosive > A 24 / 7 / 365 / A LifeTime > Cumulative, Progressive, Chronic INFLAMMATION, Auto-Immune Disease.

Your FIRST STEP >
To a LIFE Free of Allergy Diseases, Health Complications and Compromised Quality of Life !

A visit to Your Primary Care Dr. for an Insurance covered
> Simple Allergy Blood Draw / Test will TELL You Your Environmental Allergy & Immediate & Delayed FOOD Allergy Profile.

1 in 3 Infants Begin LIFE Fighting Allergy Disease

> "UnTreated" Allergy Continues / Exacerbates ..
>>> 24/7/365 / A LifeTime >> Chronic Inflammation Leading to a LifeTime Slippery Slope of Weakened Immune System, further Recalcitrant Diseases, Health complications, Weakened Immune System and Compromised Quality of Life !

It takes the Human Body Thousands of Years to Adapt.

Today’s Society has OutPaced our Evolutionary Ability to keep up with the number of New Environmental, FOOD / Enviro-Chemical, Behavioral Stresses that we come into contact with on an every day basis > Creating a Perfect Storm for an AutoImmune Disease Epidemic !

Day-to-Day Exposure to Enviro Allergens, Pollutants, FOOD Additives, Pesticides, Heavy Metals and Chemicals.
The Immune System puts up the Best Fight it Can, But after being Beaten Up Long Enough…
> It can no longer Optimally Protect You.

ALLERGY = Immune System Over-Load = Chronic Inflammation = AutoImmune Diseases

Chronic Inflammation is an Immune System Reaction on a Cellular level to an Irritant / Allergen.

Chronic Inflammation is Health’s most pervasive Adversary > Creating a Toxic Effect on almost every Single Tissue / Organ in the Human Body.

Connect the Chronic Inflammation DOTS of > ALLERGY Disease.

ALLERGY Disease

> The Result of the Bodies MisGuided, Over-Active AutoImmune System Fight / Defense Response to Inert Enviro & FOOD Allergens > Spiraling Out of Control > Triggering the Bodies “HardWired “ Immuno “Inflammatory Wave” > Causing Chronic Inflammation’s Wave after Wave Response > Continuing for Days, Months, Years > UnderMining the Host’s Immune System Health > Leading to a LifeTime, Slippery Slope of recalcitrant Diseases, Health Complications and severely Compromised Quality of Life !

Chronic, UnResolved / UnTreated Inflammation spurred by an Immune System Over-Load is now considered a Key Cause / Factor in almost all Chronic Degenerative and LifeStyle Diseases.

ALLERGY can Cause Chronic Inflammation to EVERY Part of the Body resulting in Disease.

Direct or InDirect Clinical Manifestations of ALLERGY

>> Skin: Eczema, Rash, Dermatitis, Urticaria, Acne, Psoriasis, Alopecia, Warts, Leucoderma

>> Respiratory: Allergic Asthma, Bronchial-Asthma, Chronic Cough, Chronic Cold, Allergic Rhinitis, Sinusitis / Infections, Conjunctivitis, Wheezing, Snoring, Sleep Apnea

>> Digestive: Leaky GUT, Irritable Bowel, Acid Reflux, Weight Gain, Stomatitis, Heart-Burn, Peptic-Ulcers, Constipation,
Diarrhea, Flatulence

>> Psychological: Depression, Chronic Fatigue, Autism, ADHD, HeadAches

>> MusculoSkeletal: Rheumatoid-Arthritis, Myalgia, Sciatica, Slipped-Disk, Spondylosis, Cramps

Put OUT Your Chronic > ALLERGY Inflammation Fire !

ALLERGIES Weaken Immune System & Steal Capacity to Fight What Really Matters !

IT goes without saying that it is Very Important to Keep Your Immune System at PEAK Performance.

Many of us Try our Best to Eat Properly, take Supplements, Exercise Regularly, Get the right amount of Sleep and perhaps practice Stress Relief Techniques such as Yoga, Prayer or Meditation.

Unfortunately, Today’s Fast Paced, High Stress World often Chips Away at our best Efforts often leaving our Immune System in Less than a Peak Performance State of Affair.

One often overlooked aspect of Immune System Health relates to our ALLERGIES and how they compromise the overall Health of our ( and our Children’s ) Immune System.

Try as we might to Control their nagging and draining Symptoms by taking multiple Medications, those pesky ALLERGIES just keep right on coming and coming… They just Do NOT Go Away !

While in the past, ALLERGIES have barely been a Blip on the Medical Radar Screen, regarded as a nuisance, only to be tolerated and controlled by taking Medications… …

Today… More and More….
ALLERGIES and the multiple Diseases that they instigate over the course of a LifeTime are being recognized for the True Enemy to an Individuals Immune System / Health that they ARE !

Beginning in the Womb and manifesting itself immediately after Birth ( 1 in 3 Infants ), Allergies account for more office visits to Pediatricians than any other ailment, besides the common Cold ( Q&A: When is a Cold NOT a Cold ? When it’s Allergies. ).

Allergies are responsible for more missed school days than any other medical problem. It is thought that at least one out of every four children has an allergy of some kind. Allergies are often Inherited. Lending credence to the old saying That the Child Allergy Apple Does Not Fall Far from the Parent Allergy Tree. Statistics show that a child with one allergic parent has a 45-50% chance of developing allergies, and the likelihood rises to between 65-70% if both parents have allergies. Remarkably, even if both parents are allergy-free, offspring will still run an allergy risk of 10-15%.

For far to long, ALLERGIES have been regarded as merely a Nuisance, Ignored or “Treated” with Medications which Only mask Symptoms and Do Nothing to Derail / Neutralize the Progression of a Sufferer’s Allergy Disease Source.

While Allergy rarely Kills ( unless you count Allergic Asthma Attack Deaths ), as UnTreated / UnNeutralized Allergy Progresses thru it’s various Disease States, it compromises not only a Sufferers LifeTime of Health, but every aspect of their Personal, Family, Academic, Social, Exercise and Professional Quality of Life.

It is IMPORTANT to Remember that…

24 / 7/ 365 / ALLERGY is a LifeTime > Cumulative, Progressive, Chronic AutoImmune Disease.

UnTreated ALLERGY Continues / Exacerbates…
Leading to Unabated Disease Progression…
And a LifeTime, Slippery Slope of further multiple Diseases, Health Complications, Weakened Immune System
and severely Compromised Quality of Health.

Thus Said….

Your Immune System Only has a certain amount of “ Capacity “ to Fight ALL the Diseases, Foreign Invaders, Bacteria, Germs, Viruses that it encounters EveryDay …

As such, it is IMPORTANT that Your Immune System is NOT “ Distracted “ OR some of it’s limited Disease Fighting “ Capacity “ Consumed to Fight Harmless things like Grass / Tree / Weed Pollens, Insect, Dust Mite, Mold Allergens etc > Namely ALLERGIES.

What many Allergy / Allergic Asthma Sufferers Do Not Know……
Is that they CAN Free Up that amount of Immune System Capacity which has been designated to Fight 24 / 7 / 365 / A LifeTime their Allergy Disease….

And it All starts with a visit to their Trusted, Personal Primary Care Physician.

>> A simple painless Blood ALLERGY Test for the most common Seasonal & Year-round Allergens specific to YOUR Geo-Region will tell YOU and Your Physician WHAT You Are Allergic TO !

>> Once your Offending Allergens are Identified, Your Physician will prescribe DRUG Free, Under-the-Tongue ImmunoTherapy DROPs.

>> Following the SAME Medically prepared, ImmunoTherapy Principals used for traditional Allergy SHOTs, Your DROPs contain small traces of pure FDA Approved Extracts of Your offending Allergen Sources i.e. RagWeed, Mite, Cat, Cockroach etc.

Your Allergy DROPs are Custom Formulated specifically to WHAT You Are Allergic TO Based on YOUR Allergy Test Result !

Slowly over Time, Your Allergy Drop Allergen Extract Concentrations are increased, allowing Your Bodies Immune System to rely on its inherent Recuperative Abilities and Recalibrate Itself.

Thereby… No Longer See’ing Harmless Allergens as Harmful, Neutralizing Your Allergies at the Disease Source, No longer Triggering Allergy Symptoms, Eradicating Allergy Complications and………… Producing Lasting, if Not LifeTime Benefits !

Allergy ImmunoTherapy is the only proven Clinical Form of Therapy that:

>> Reduces / Eliminates the need for Allergy Medications
>> Reverses / Stops the Allergy Disease Process at the Source.
>> DeRailing the LifeTime, Slippery Slope / Progression of Diseases CAUSED by Allergy
>> AND…. Freeing UP YOUR Immune System’s Capacity to Fight What Really Counts !

Effortless to use in Today’s Fast Paced 24 / 7 Society and Costing less than a Coffee Shop visit a Day, painful Allergy Shots have been replaced with Patient FRIENDLY, Under-the-Tongue, SubLingual Allergy DROPS which are absorbed into the Patient’s System within seconds each Morning and Night.

“ If there was ever an Example of the Adage: An Ounce of Daily Prevention Vs a Pound of LifeTime Misery and UnEnding Efforts to Cure… it is Allergy Immuno-Therapy DROPs… It’s a LifeTime Health No Brainer.

Speak with Your Primary Care PHYSICIAN Today and tell him / her that you want to….

Visit Your Primary Dr. and tell him / her that You Want to > Drop Your Allergies !

Remember… ALLERGIES Are Nothing to SNEEZE AT !

Good Health for the 2009 New Year.

Stephen

Principal of Primary PHYSICIAN Diagnostics
> www.DropYourAllergies.com > a National Allergy Services Company supporting Your “ Just Around the Corner” trusted Primary Dr. with:

>> Environmental / InHalant Allergy “Single Draw” Blood Testing specific to Your Geo-Region ( Insurance Covered )
>> IgE Immediate & IgG4 Delayed > FOOD Allergy Blood Testing ( Insurance Covered )
>> Patient Specific > Custom Formulated Enviro ImmunoTherapy Vaccine ( Under-the-Tongue DROPs or Injection )
>> FREE Patient Specific > Custom FOOD Allergy DIET Plans based on Your FOOD Allergy Test Result…

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