Archive for April 23rd, 2009


Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Allergy to Egg

Egg allergy is less frequent than milk allergy, but it is a much more dangerous form of allergy because the touch of an egg, its smell, or the giving of vaccines made from it (such as flu, mumps, measles, and rubella) may cause allergic symptoms in an egg-sensitive child.

The dangerous part of an egg is its white albumin; the yellow yolk is not allergenic. It is important to remember that all egg white, whether it comes from a chicken, a duck, or a turkey, is equally dangerous to the egg-sensitive child.

These foods may contain eggs: souffles, fritters, and egg noodles; cake, cookies, doughnuts, macaroons, pastries, batters (pancakes and waffles), pretzels, French toast, pie crust, muffins, meringues; ice cream, water ices, and sherbets (unless made at home from an egg-free powder); mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, tartar sauce, salad dressing with egg) icing, marshmallows, nougats, fondants, chocolate creams, filled candy bars; Ovaltine, Ovomalt, and root beer; prepared flours such as Bisquick and pancake flour; sausage and meat loaf (unless ground at home with no egg) ; baking powder (except Royal and K.C.).

Allergy to Cereal Grains

Allergy to corn may appear after the child has eaten corn or corn-containing products (such as cornflakes, corn flour, corn oil, corn syrup, Karo, popcorn, fritters), has inhaled the fumes of popping corn or the steam of boiling corn on the cob, or touched starched clothing (starch is derived from corn).

The following items contain corn in small quantities: adhesives (envelopes, stamps, stickers and tapes), aspirin and other tablets, baking mixtures and powders, ices, chewing gums, soya milk, powdered sugar, some substitute egg yolks, and talcum.

Wheat can also be an allergenic food. It is used to make bread, coffee substitutes, thickeners for gravies, and crumbs for meat frying. The following food items contain wheat.

Breads: All breads (pumpernickel and rye), cakes, cookies, crackers, pretzels, pastry, pie, bread crumbs, batters (waffles and pancakes), ice cream cones, biscuits, muffins, and cereals.

Beverages: Postum, Ovaltine, malted milk, Vitavose, certain canned soups such as Campbell’s chicken soup, beer, ale, gin, and whiskey.

Breakfast food: Cream of Wheat, Pablum, Grapenuts, farina, Ralston’s Pep, Mead’s cereal, Pettijohns, Wheaties, puffed wheat, shredded wheat, Rice Krispies, and cornflakes.

Flour: Flour and flour products such as macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, vermicelli, ravioli, and corn, wheat, and rice flours.

Sauces: Chowders, soups, and gravies.

Others: Sausages, hamburger, meat loaf (unless ground at home without wheat filler), croquettes, fish rolled in crackers, Wiener schnitzel, chili con carne, canned baked beans, matzos, ice cream, mayonnaise, puddings, and zwieback.

These are other cereals which play a minor role in allergy.

Barley: Necessary to prepare malt, beer, whiskey, breakfast foods, or fillers in sausages.

Rice: Eaten as a staple food and used in cereal meals and pastries (such as rice cakes and puddings), to prepare vitamin B, and to make Japanese sake wine. Wild rice is used as a stuffing for turkey, duck, and other fowl.

Rye: Used to make rye bread, pumpernickel bread, rye wafers, crackers, Scandinavian Knackebrod, rye whiskey, vodka, or gin.

Oats: Found in cereal mixtures, wafers, cookies, and oatmeal porridge (they can be recognized by the presence of husks).



Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

It is not easy to get fertility treatment on the NHS and sometimes only drug treatments are available. A study carried out by University College Hospital and Medical School in London showed that 75 per cent of couples end up on long NHS waiting lists and would choose to go privately if medical insurance companies would foot the bill. The best system is in France where the state pays for four IVF cycles. In Germany the couples are allowed four and 30 per cent of the cost is paid for by the state and the rest made up by the insurance companies. The availability of NHS treatment can often depend on where you live. There are no central guidelines. Some couples I see have had a number of IUIs on the NHS, and others who have gone privately for IVF have had their fertility drugs funded by their GP. There are also some non-profit-making clinics where the cost is much lower than private IVF clinics.

Choosing a Clinic

In the UK, all clinics offering assisted conception have to be licensed by the HFEA, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The HFEA produces ‘league tables’ showing how successful the clinics are – essential reading for all couples deciding where to go for treatment. CHILD also produces a helpful booklet called Choosing a Clinic.

If you are going privately, remember that you are a paying customer and you want the service that suits you best. Some couples prefer a small intimate clinic, where they see the same professionals at each visit. Others prefer a large clinic, headed by a well-known name who you may or may not see. This can be more impersonal and it is likely that you will see different doctors each time you go. Some couples say that, in a big clinic, they feel as if they are on a conveyor belt. Others prefer this. It’s best to get brochures from a number of clinics and visit up to three of them to decide whether you would feel comfortable being treated there. Convenience also has to be a factor because you will be going quite a few times and you don’t want to travel too far.

Success Rates

Each clinic releases its own statistics but you can’t really compare them because they are often calculated differently so that you’re not comparing ‘like with like’. The HFEA guide, on the other hand, presents standardized statistics, the most important of which is the ‘take-home baby rate’ per treatment cycle. If the pregnancy rates alone are compared these can look very impressive. But these would tell you nothing about what happened later – the rates of miscarriage, ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, and any other problems that meant the pregnancy did not continue.

The other point to bear in mind is that, since the publication of these HFEA ‘league tables’, some clinics have become more selective in their patients. If they take everybody, including ‘older’ women and other complicated cases, their position in the league tables may be affected.

Some clinics are more honest and upfront than others in telling a couple that, in view of their medical history, they have an extremely small chance of getting pregnant. Others will take anybody who is willing to pay.

Useful Questions to Ask the Clinic

• What tests and treatments are provided?

• Do they specialize in any particular type of infertility?

• Is there a waiting list?

• Are there any restrictions (e.g. due to age or previous treatments)?

• How often will you have to attend the clinic?

• Is counseling provided and is it included in the treatment costs?

• Are there any hidden costs, such as diagnostic tests or anesthetic charges?

• What is the up-to-date take-home baby rate?

• What is their success rate like for a woman the same age as you? (Some clinics have more experience with ‘older’ women.)

Ask each clinic the same questions and compare the answers. You can visit them or some clinics will answer these questions over the phone. The HFEA publishes a patient’s handbook which will help you to compare the different clinics. You really want to get as much information as possible so that you can get the best treatment to suit your individual needs.

Before You Start

Embarking on IVF treatment is a big step, both financially and emotionally, so it- needs to be thought out carefully. Many couples are not aware of the amount of time it is going to take up, the physical effects of the drugs on the woman’s body, and the emotional roller-coaster that it will put them through.

The success rate for IVF is around 20 per cent, which means that 80 per cent of treatment cycles will fail. This success rate is the same for each cycle and is not dependent on how many cycles you have had already. The odds are the same as if you toss a coin. If you have tossed four heads, there is still a 50:50 chance that the next one is going to be another head.

Some couples can feel under pressure to have one IVF cycle after another. Sometimes this pressure comes from the clinics, especially if the woman is ‘older’. However, with the quantities of drugs that are used and the emotional ups and downs that can be experienced, together with the effects of these drugs on your system, it is better to have a break, say two or three months, between attempts and let your body get back to a natural cycle before it is bombarded again.



Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

What are they?

The vast majority of pets do not produce any illnesses in children, or indeed in the rest of the family. Fleas are fairly common in cats and dogs but can be controlled by regular de-fleaing. If your pet scratches a lot, take it to the vet.

Worms can be passed to children via the bowel motions of cats or dogs. Almost all puppies are born with roundworms (toxocara) and by 6 months about half still have worms. The worm eggs can live in dust for months, so worming is essential. Kittens and adult cats need worming too.

Some children are allergic to certain animals, often in fact to the mites in their coats. This can be overcome by washing the animal regularly in special solutions to get rid of the mites.

Toxoplasmosis is an infection with a small, single-celled micro-organism that can produce congenital abnormalities in a baby born to a mother who has the illness during pregnancy. It is spread by cats and poorly cooked meat.

What causes them?

• Poor hygiene.

• Fleas and mites

• Allergies to certain animals.

• Worms and other diseases in the animals themselves that can be transferred to humans.


• Never let animals lick your children’s faces or mouths.

• Wash your hands-and see that your children do-after handling pets.

• Always wash hands before meals if there is a pet in the house.

• Train your dog to use a particular part of the garden to open its bowels.

• Make worming a routine-don’t wait until you actually see worms. Ask your vet how often you should worm and what to use.

• Don’t forget that kittens and puppies need worming too.

• Keep your pet’s coat well groomed and free from fleas and mites.

• Never take your dog into food shops.

• Ensure that your dog and cat have their own beds and don’t sleep on yours.

• Never let your dog or cat eat from your food dishes. Give them their own and wash these separately from yours with a separate dishcloth or brush.

• Keep your dog well disciplined so that it comes when called and does not cause accidents on roads by running out uncontrolled.

• Don’t feed your pet in between meals, especially from the table-it will not only become a nuisance and spoil mealtimes for you but could transfer infections to your hands and then to you.

• If a child is allergic to an animal see your doctor to discuss a course of desensitizing injections. This often fails but can be worth a try.

• Never eat poorly cooked meat-you could get toxoplasmosis.

• If you are pregnant avoid handling cats’ litter at all and even if you are not pregnant do so wearing rubber gloves.



Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Prolactin problems

Prolactin is a hormone that is secreted by the pituitary gland which helps to control ovulation. Research has shown that the levels of prolactin in women with endometriosis are higher than that found in women in general. The high levels of prolactin may contribute to infertility in women with endometriosis but the role that they play is unknown.

Luteinised unruptured follicle syndrome

Luteinised unruptured follicle syndrome, usually known as LUF syndrome, occurs when the ovarian follicle matures and prepares itself for ovulation but at the time of ovulation the follicle fails to rupture and release the ovum.

LUF syndrome is very hard to detect because the usual methods of determining whether or not ovulation has taken place, such as basal body temperature charts and measuring progesterone levels in the second half of the cycle, all indicate that ovulation has occurred. It can only be reliably detected by inspecting the follicle during a laparoscopy or by measuring the size of the follicle during repeated ultrasound scans. In the past many researchers thought that the LUF syndrome was a major cause of infertility in women with endometriosis. However, now many researchers believe that it does not play a significant role and some believe that the LUF syndrome is probably just a random event which occurs in most women from time to time.


Prostaglandins are substances that are produced by many tissues throughout the body, including endometrial implants. One of their functions is to control the contraction and relaxation of the muscles in many of the internal organs of the body, including the uterus and fallopian tubes.

It is thought that women with endometriosis have higher concentrations of prostaglandins in their peritoneal fluid and that these higher concentrations may contribute to infertility by hindering or preventing conception and implantation in a number of ways.

It is possible that prostaglandins interfere with the functioning of the ovaries and prevent the release of the ovum thereby preventing fertilization.

Prostaglandins may affect the sperm as they move towards the ovum by slowing down their movement and thus reducing the number of healthy sperm that can reach the ovum in time for fertilization.

Prostaglandins help the ovum move along the fallopian tube.

If the fertilized ovum is propelled too rapidly along the tube the ovum will reach the uterus too quickly. Therefore, when the fertilized ovum reaches the uterus it may not be mature enough to implant itself in the endometrium or the endometrium may not be ready to accept the fertilized ovum. If the fertilized ovum is propelled too slowly down the fallopian tube it may not reach the uterus in time to embed itself in the endometrium.

Prostaglandins may also affect the relaxation and contraction of the uterus. If they produce excessive contractions of the uterus they may prevent implantation of the fertilized ovum or they may cause it to be expelled soon after implantation.


Macrophages, sometimes referred to as scavenger cells, are a special type of white blood cell which are found throughout the body. The function of these cells is to consume or ‘eat up’ and eliminate any unwanted debris or foreign material in the body, including sperm cells.

Women with endometriosis have an increased number of macrophages in their bodies, particularly in their pelvic cavity and fallopian tubes. Consequently, the macrophages are able to consume and destroy larger numbers of sperm than normally occurs, reducing the number of sperm available for fertilization of the ovum.

Auto-immune response

Some women with endometriosis develop an abnormal immune response against their endometrial implants. It is thought that the immune system of these women for some, as yet unknown, reason thinks that the implants are foreign material and therefore begins to produce antibodies against them in an attempt to destroy them. The immune system also perceives the normal endometrium in the uterus as being foreign material and therefore produces antibodies against it as well in an attempt to destroy it. If the immune reaction is strong enough the antibodies produced in the uterine endometrium may prevent implantation of the fertilized ovum.



Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Tobacco and alcohol

Consumption of these substances plays a substantial part in the rise of cancer levels as a community becomes westernized. Tobacco consumption is directly linked to cancer of the lung and bladder and probably to that of the pancreas. Cigarette consumption was low until 1973 in developing countries but as the public in the westernized world became aware of the dangers and tobacco consumption fell, the companies switched their sales to Third World countries. We can expect to see far more cancers in these countries as a result.

Alcohol interacts with tobacco as a causative agent in cancers of the gullet and larynx and independently of tobacco raises the level of cancer of the liver by producing cirrhosis. In contrast to the situation regarding tobacco consumption there is no direct and consistent relationship between alcohol consumption and economic development. Alcohol consumption is going up everywhere and there is evidence that cancer of the gullet is rising along with it.


Eating habits have always been a prime suspect as a cause of cancers but are difficult to convict conclusively. In general, westernized countries consume a diet high in energy, fat, protein and sugar and low in unrefined starch, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Western diets make people fat and obesity has now been linked with an increased susceptibility to cancer. Several studies have found that tall, fat women are the most likely to develop breast cancer. Studies of Japanese women have linked the consumption of meat, eggs, butter and cheese to breast-cancer incidence. Breast cancer rates in rats can be greatly increased by feeding them diets high in fat. This raises their levels of prolactin (a hormone that acts on the breast).

Cancer of the body of the uterus (not the cervix) is more strongly linked with obesity than is breast cancer. Fat women seem to produce more oestrogens and these in turn may have a carcinogenic action on both breasts and uterus.

When we look at cancer of the colon the link seems to be with the increased consumption of meat and animal protein more than with fat. A study of Japanese migrants to Hawaii found that sufferers from cancer of the large bowel were more likely than control patients to have adopted a western style of diet and were about two and a half times more likely to have regularly eaten meat, particularly beef. Further support for this finding comes from the many studies done on the Seventh Day Adventists and other vegetarian groups in the US. They all have lower than expected colon-cancer rates. The Mormons, who are big beef consumers, also have low colon-cancer rates, so clearly beef is not the only answer. The worldwide level of cancer of the colon is related to the consumption of unrefined cereals and several experts have suggested that dietary fibre is protective in some way. This may be the result of its bulking action (which dilutes any carcinogens present in the food residue), or of its ability to increase the speed at which food residues pass through the colon (so reducing the amount of time a carcinogen is in contact with the bowel wall). Nobody knows for sure. Certainly studies have found that people with bulky stools have less colon cancer than those with hard, tarry stools. Fibre lack may well not be the only factor here though, and the answer will probably be found to be a combination of fat, meat and fibre-each of which causes has its champions in the scientific world of cancer research.

But we don’t learn about diet and cancer by looking only at the negatives. Stomach cancer has fallen dramatically this century and always falls when a country becomes westernized. No one knows why this should be but in Japan this decline in mortality is paralleled by an increasing consumption of meat, milk, eggs, oil and fruit. Studies of individual Japanese have found that two glasses of milk a day seem to be protective. The daily consumption of green or yellow vegetables appears to be protective too. Perhaps this decline is due to the increased consumption of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A has been shown to reduce the risk of experimentally-induced cancers in laboratory animals and there are several studies that suggest that it reduces the incidence of lung cancers in humans.

This brief survey of the major diseases of the western world shows clearly how they are linked to a western lifestyle, a fact that can be established both historically and by making comparisons with non-westernized peoples around the world today.