Conference Highlights: ACAAI 2017

Conference Highlights: ACAAI 2017

Low Adoption of Peanut Guidelines Recently released guidelines from the NIH recommend that high-risk infants be introduced to peanut-containing foods between ages 4 and 6 months. General pediatricians’ knowledge and use of these new guidelines is unknown. For a study, general pediatricians were surveyed regarding their demographics, practice characteristics, counseling practices, and knowledge of the guidelines. On a 0-4 scale measuring physician adherence to guideline recommendations, more than one-third (38%) scored 1 or less. Only 11% scored a 4. Additionally, 77% recommended introducing peanuts later than 4 to 6 months in high-risk patients, and 44% reported not testing high-risk patients prior to peanut introduction. While pediatricians who treat more patients with food allergies were significantly more likely to be adherent with the guidelines, no differences were observed between academic and community-based providers. Patients may benefit from allergy and immunology specialists sharing the importance of following these guidelines with their pediatrician colleagues. ————————————————————– Asthma Worse in the Winter Previous research on seasonal trends in asthma exacerbations report conflicting results. Some suggest a peak in winter, but various trends have been shown by age and geographic region. Current understanding of seasonal and regional age-specific trends of asthma-related hospitalization and mortality in the United States is lacking. A nationwide database was used for a study to identify patients admitted with asthma between 2009 and 2011 and note monthly distributions with stratification per age group and region. Of the nearly 18.5 million asthma-related hospitalizations during the study period, one-third occurred in the South. Across all age groups and regions, the highest incidence rates of asthma-related hospitalizations were observed during winter months. Overall asthma-related...
Three New Lung Cancer Genetic Biomarkers Identified

Three New Lung Cancer Genetic Biomarkers Identified

Both environmental and genetic risk factors contribute to development of lung cancer. Tobacco smoking is the most well-known environmental risk factor associated with lung cancer. A Dartmouth research team led by Yafang Li, PhD, has conducted a study to display that gene-smoking interactions play important roles in the etiology of lung cancer. In their study, three novel SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms), or variations in our DNA that underlie our susceptibility to developing disease, were identified in the interaction analysis, including two SNPs for non-small cell lung cancer risk and one SNP for squamous cell lung cancer risk. The three identified novel SNPs provide potential candidate biomarkers for lung cancer risk screening and intervention. The team’s findings, “Genome-wide interaction study of smoking behavior and non-small cell lung cancer risk in Caucasian population,” have been published in Carcinogenesis. Related Articles Blood Test Can Predict Early Lung Cancer Prognosis ASTRO: SBRT Prolongs Survival in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Expected Burden of Lung Cancer High for People Living With HIV Vitamin B6, B12 Supplements May Up Risk of Lung Cancer in Men The genotype and phenotype data used in this analysis came from OncoArray Consortium. “Genome-wide interaction scanning remains a challenge as most genome-wide association studies are designed for main effect association analysis and have limited power for interaction analysis,” said Li. “This study is by far the largest genome-wide SNP-smoking interaction analysis reported for lung cancer. We also adopted a two-step strategy in the analysis to reduce the power loss from ordinary gene-environment interaction analysis.” The three SNPs, identified in the team’s study, stratify lung cancer risk by smoking behavior. These three SNPs can be...
Activation of Immune T Cells Leads to Behavioral Changes

Activation of Immune T Cells Leads to Behavioral Changes

Scientists from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in Japan and collaborators have found that T cells — immune cells that help to protect the body from infections and cancer — change the body’s metabolism when they are activated, and that this activation actually leads to changes in behavior.   It is currently known that individual T cells change their metabolism to meet their energy needs after being activated, but the systemic metabolic effect of sustained activation of the immune system has remained unexplored. To understand the systemic effects, the group looked at T cell activation in mice designed to lack a surface receptor called PD-1, which is necessary for inhibiting the activity of T cells. T cells remain activated in mice without the receptor, similar to those in the immune systems of people with certain types of autoimmune disease. In these mice, they found that amino acids — molecules that are used to build proteins — were depleted in the blood, and that they were increased in the T cells themselves, implicating the T cells in the change. The team tracked and imaged amino acids in many organs, and found that the depletion of amino acids from the blood was taking place due to the accumulation of amino acids in activated T cells in the lymph nodes, showing that strong or long lasting immune responses can cause metabolic changes elsewhere in the body. The remaining question was whether this depletion of amino acids was actually having any systemic effect. By analyzing the biochemistry of the brain, they found that the systemic decrease in the amino acids tryptophan...
Newly Discovered microRNA Regulates Mobility of Tumor Cells

Newly Discovered microRNA Regulates Mobility of Tumor Cells

Cancer cells can reactivate a cellular process that is an essential part of embryonic development. This allows them to leave the primary tumor, penetrate the surrounding tissue and form metastases in peripheral organs. In the journal Nature Communications, researchers from the University of Basel’s Department of Biomedicine provide an insight into the molecular networks that regulate this process. In a study published in the latest edition of Nature Communications, the researchers focused specifically on microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of very short non-coding RNAs with a considerable effect on gene regulation. They identified a hitherto unknown microRNA, miR-1199-5p, that induces epithelial cell behavior and impedes the malignancy of tumor cells, as well as their potential to form secondary tumors. In concrete terms, the newly discovered microRNA prevents the synthesis of a specific protein, the transcription factor Zeb1, which activates EMT/MET — but if it is missing, the EMT process is prevented. Zeb1 also suppresses the expression of miR1199-5p in what is known as a negative feedback loop, whereby the two molecules regulate one another reciprocally. During an embryo’s development, epithelial cells can break away from the cell cluster, modify their cell type-specific properties, and migrate into other regions to form the desired structures there. This process, which is known as an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), is reversible and can also proceed in the direction from mesenchymal cells to epithelial cells (MET). It is repeated multiple times during embryonic development and ultimately paves the way for the formation of organs in the human body. Click here to read about this...
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