Journal of Allergy http://www.hindawi.com The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Clinical Efficacy of a Spray Containing Hyaluronic Acid and Dexpanthenol after Surgery in the Nasal Cavity (Septoplasty, Simple Ethmoid Sinus Surgery, and Turbinate Surgery) Tue, 01 Jul 2014 13:34:19 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/635490/ Background. This prospective, controlled, parallel-group observational study investigated the efficacy of a spray containing hyaluronic acid and dexpanthenol to optimise regular treatment after nasal cavity surgery in 49 patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. Methods. The control group received standard therapy. Mucosal regeneration was determined using rhinoscopy sum score (RSS). Pre- and postoperative nasal patency was tested using anterior rhinomanometry. The participants were questioned about their symptoms. Results. Regarding all RSS parameters (dryness, dried nasal mucus, fibrin deposition, and obstruction), mucosal regeneration achieved good final results in both groups, tending to a better improvement through the spray application, without statistically significant differences during the whole assessment period, the mean values being 7.04, 5.00, 3.66, and 3.00 (intervention group) and 7.09, 5.14, 4.36, and 3.33 (control group). No statistically significant benefit was identified for nasal breathing, foreign body sensation, and average rhinomanometric volume flow, which improved by 12.31% (control group) and 11.24% (nasal spray group). Conclusion. The investigational product may have additional benefit on postoperative mucosal regeneration compared to standard cleaning procedures alone. However, no statistically significant advantage could be observed in this observational study. Double-blind, controlled studies with larger populations will be necessary to evaluate the efficacy of this treatment modality. Ina Gouteva, Kija Shah-Hosseini, and Peter Meiser Copyright © 2014 Ina Gouteva et al. All rights reserved. A Model for the Determination of Pollen Count Using Google Search Queries for Patients Suffering from Allergic Rhinitis Thu, 19 Jun 2014 08:57:51 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/381983/ Background. The transregional increase in pollen-associated allergies and their diversity have been scientifically proven. However, patchy pollen count measurement in many regions is a worldwide problem with few exceptions. Methods. This paper used data gathered from pollen count stations in Germany, Google queries using relevant allergological/biological keywords, and patient data from three German study centres collected in a prospective, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, multicentre immunotherapy study to analyse a possible correlation between these data pools. Results. Overall, correlations between the patient-based, combined symptom medication score and Google data were stronger than those with the regionally measured pollen count data. The correlation of the Google data was especially strong in the groups of severe allergy sufferers. The results of the three-centre analyses show moderate to strong correlations with the Google keywords (up to >0.8 cross-correlation coefficient, ) in 10 out of 11 groups (three averaged patient cohorts and eight subgroups of severe allergy sufferers: high IgE class, high combined symptom medication score, and asthma). Conclusion. For countries with a good Internet infrastructure but no dense network of pollen traps, this could represent an alternative for determining pollen levels and, forecasting the pollen count for the next day. Volker König and Ralph Mösges Copyright © 2014 Volker König and Ralph Mösges. All rights reserved. The Effectiveness of Acupuncture Compared to Loratadine in Patients Allergic to House Dust Mites Thu, 05 Jun 2014 06:29:23 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/654632/ Background. The aim of this work was to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture and its impact on the immune system in comparison to loratadine in the treatment of persistent allergic rhinitis caused by house dust mites. Methods. In this study, 24 patients suffering from persistent allergic rhinitis induced by house dust mites were treated either with acupuncture () or with loratadine (). The evaluation of the data was based on the subjective and the objective rhinoconjunctivitis symptom scores, specific and total IgE, and interleukins (IL-4, IL-10, and IFN-γ) as markers for the activity of Th1 or Th2 cells. Results. The treatments with acupuncture as well as with loratadine were considered effective in the patients’ subjective assessment, whereby the effect of the acupuncture tended to be assessed as more persistent after the end of treatment. A change in the specific or the total IgE was not detectable in either group. The interleukin profile showed the tendency of an increasing IL-10 value in the acupuncture group. The results of the study show that the effectiveness of acupuncture is comparable to that of loratadine. Conclusion. Acupuncture is a clinically effective form of therapy in the treatment of patients suffering from persistent allergic rhinitis. The results indicate the probability of an immunomodulatory effect. Bettina Hauswald, Christina Dill, Jürgen Boxberger, Eberhard Kuhlisch, Thomas Zahnert, and Yury M. Yarin Copyright © 2014 Bettina Hauswald et al. All rights reserved. Exploring Perceptions and Experiences of Food Allergy among New Canadians from Asia Wed, 04 Jun 2014 07:38:02 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/964504/ Introduction. In Canada, perceived prevalence of food allergy surpasses systematic estimates. Canadian immigrants have been found more likely to rate the risk of food allergy as “high” compared to nonimmigrants. Methods. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 3 key informants and 18 allergic individuals of East and Southeast Asian descent in order to capture their lived experience with food allergies. Results. Participants found food allergies to be more common in Canada than in Asia. Participants also agreed that having a food allergy is more manageable in Canada as a result of the policy environment (e.g., food labelling and school policies). In addition, participants had dealt with skepticism and disbelief about their food allergy in Asia, resulting in social exclusion and impacting quality of life. Discussion. Findings demonstrate the need to recognize the varied impacts and experiences of food allergy among new Canadians, given that immigrants represent a large and growing proportion of the Canadian population. Stephanie K. Lu, Susan J. Elliott, and Ann E. Clarke Copyright © 2014 Stephanie K. Lu et al. All rights reserved. Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis with Ectoine Containing Nasal Spray and Eye Drops in Comparison with Azelastine Containing Nasal Spray and Eye Drops or with Cromoglycic Acid Containing Nasal Spray Sun, 01 Jun 2014 08:12:17 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/176597/ Objectives. Allergic rhinitis is a common disease with increasing prevalence and high impact on economic burden and comorbidities. As treatment with pharmacological drugs is not always satisfactory due to side effects and incomplete efficacy, alternative treatment strategies are needed. Ectoine is an osmolyte with membrane stabilizing and inflammation reducing capacities. Nasal spray and eye drops containing ectoine are promising new treatment regimens for allergic rhinitis sufferers. Design and Methods. The current two noninterventional trials evaluated the efficacy and safety of ectoine containing nasal spray and eye drops for treating allergic rhinitis in comparison with either azelastine or cromoglycic acid containing products. Nasal and ocular symptom developments as well as judgment of tolerability and efficacy were assessed both by investigators and patients over a time period of one to two weeks. Results. Both trials confirmed that ectoine containing products reduced nasal and ocular symptoms in allergic rhinitis patients. Results clearly demonstrated good safety profiles of the ectoine products comparable to those of azelastine and even better to those of cromoglycate products. Conclusion. Ectoine containing nasal spray and eye drops are interesting new treatment strategies for sufferers of allergic rhinitis, combining both good efficacy and absence of side effects. Nina Werkhäuser, Andreas Bilstein, and Uwe Sonnemann Copyright © 2014 Nina Werkhäuser et al. All rights reserved. Thermal Water Applications in the Treatment of Upper Respiratory Tract Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Sun, 01 Jun 2014 06:39:59 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/943824/ Background. Thermal water inhalations and irrigations have a long tradition in the treatment of airway diseases. Currently there exists no systematic review or meta-analysis on the effectiveness of thermal water treatment in upper respiratory tract diseases. Methods. A systematic search in the databases of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, ISI Web of Science, and MedPilot was accomplished. Results. Eight evaluable outcome parameters from 13 prospective clinical studies were identified for 840 patients. Mucociliary clearance time improves significantly () for the pooled thermal water subgroup and the sulphurous subgroup after 2 weeks (−6.69/minutes) and after 90 days (−8.33/minutes), not for isotonic sodium chloride solution (ISCS). Nasal resistance improved significantly after 2 weeks (Radon, ISCS, and placebo), after 30 days (sulphur and ISCS), and after 90 days (sulphur). Nasal flow improved significantly with the pooled thermal water, radon alone, and ISCS subgroups. For the IgE parameter only sulphurous thermal water () and ISCS () were analyzable. Adverse events of minor character were only reported for sulphurous treatment (19/370). Conclusion. Thermal water applications with radon or sulphur can be recommended as additional nonpharmacological treatment in upper airway diseases. Also in comparison to isotonic saline solution it shows significant improvements and should be investigated further. Sarah Keller, Volker König, and Ralph Mösges Copyright © 2014 Sarah Keller et al. All rights reserved. Noninterventional Open-Label Trial Investigating the Efficacy and Safety of Ectoine Containing Nasal Spray in Comparison with Beclomethasone Nasal Spray in Patients with Allergic Rhinitis Wed, 28 May 2014 10:58:23 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/297203/ Objectives. The current study aimed to compare the efficacy and safety of a classical anti-inflammatory beclomethasone nasal spray in comparison to a physic-chemical stabilizing ectoine containing nasal spray in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Design and Methods. This was a noninterventional, open-label, observational trial investigating the effects of beclomethasone or ectoine nasal spray on nasal symptoms and quality of life. Over a period of 14 days, patients were asked to daily document their symptoms. Efficacy and tolerability were assessed by both physicians and patients. Results. Both treatments resulted in a significant decrease of TNSS values. An equivalence test could not confirm the noninferiority of ectoine treatment in comparison with beclomethasone treatment. Although clear symptom reduction was achieved with the ectoine products, the efficacy judgment showed possible advantages for the beclomethasone group. Importantly, tolerability results were comparably good in both groups, and a very low number of adverse events supported this observation. Both treatments resulted in a clear improvement in the quality of life as assessed by a questionnaire answered at the beginning and at the end of the trial. Conclusion. Taken together, it was shown that allergic rhinitis can be safely and successfully treated with beclomethasone and also efficacy and safety were shown for ectoine nasal spray. Uwe Sonnemann, Marcus Möller, and Andreas Bilstein Copyright © 2014 Uwe Sonnemann et al. All rights reserved. Liposomal Nasal Spray versus Guideline-Recommended Steroid Nasal Spray in Patients with Chronic Rhinosinusitis: A Comparison of Tolerability and Quality of Life Thu, 22 May 2014 09:08:06 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/146280/ Objective. To investigate the tolerability and impact on quality of life of liposomal nasal spray compared to guideline-recommended steroid-based therapy in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. Symptom reduction and use of antisymptomatic medication were also examined. Methods. In this monocenter, prospective, controlled, open, and noninterventional study, 60 patients with chronic rhinosinusitis were treated with liposomal nasal spray and 30 patients received steroid-based therapy. The study comprised five visits occurring at intervals of two to four weeks. Efficacy was determined according to the sinusitis symptom score documented daily. The polyp score was recorded at the initial and final visits. Tolerability was determined through the Nasal Spray Evaluation Questionnaire, and quality of life was ascertained with the SNOT-20 Score. Results. Both treatments achieved a significant reduction of sinusitis symptoms () and also rhinoscopic improvement (). The majority of patients assessed the treatments as “good” or “very good,” and the quality of life improved significantly (). There was no significant difference in symptom reduction, QoL, and endoscopic exams between both treatments. Conclusion. The treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis with liposomal nasal spray results in a similar, significant reduction of symptoms and significant improvement in quality of life as guideline-recommended treatment and is therefore a comparable alternative. Anna Eitenmüller, Lisa Piano, Myriam Böhm, Kija Shah-Hosseini, Andreas Glowania, Oliver Pfaar, Ralph Mösges, and Ludger Klimek Copyright © 2014 Anna Eitenmüller et al. All rights reserved. Immunochemical Characterization of Acacia Pollen Allergens and Evaluation of Cross-Reactivity Pattern with the Common Allergenic Pollens Sun, 18 May 2014 11:20:57 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/409056/ Pollen from the Acacia has been reported as an important source of pollinosis in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The aim of this study was to characterize the IgE binding protein of Acacia farnesiana pollen extract and evaluate cross-reactivity with the most allergenic pollens. In this study, pollen extract was fractionated by SDS-PAGE and the allergenic profile was determined by IgE-immunoblotting and specific ELISA using forty-two Acacia allergic patients. Potential cross-reactivity among Acacia and selected allergenic plants was evaluated with ELISA and immunoblotting inhibition experiments. There were several resolved protein fractions on SDS-PAGE which ranged from 12 to 85 kDa. Several allergenic protein bands with molecular weights approximately between 12 and 85 kDa were recognized by IgE-specific antibodies from Acacia allergic patients in the immunoblot assay. The inhibition by the Prosopis juliflora pollen extract was more than those by other pollen extracts. Moreover, the wheal diameters generated by the Acacia pollen extract were highly correlated with those of P. juliflora pollen extracts. The findings suggest that several proteins such as 15, 23, 45, and 50 kDa proteins could be used as diagnostic and therapeutic reagents for patients allergic to A. farnesiana and P. juliflora. Mohammad-Hosein Shamsbiranvand, Ali Khodadadi, Mohammad-Ali Assarehzadegan, Seyed Hamid Borsi, and Akram Amini Copyright © 2014 Mohammad-Hosein Shamsbiranvand et al. All rights reserved. Growth Parameters Impairment in Patients with Food Allergies Thu, 15 May 2014 06:27:47 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/980735/ Background and Aims. Food allergy (FA) is a common disease that is rapidly increasing in prevalence for reasons that remain unknown. Objective. The aim of this study was to analyze the clinical characteristics and anthropometric data of patients with food allergies followed in a tertiary centre of allergy and immunology. Methods. A retrospective study was performed that assessed the data records of patients with food allergy diagnosis, covering a period from February 2009 to February 2012. Results. 354 patients were evaluated in the period; 228 (69.1%) patients had a confirmed FA diagnosis. The -scores for weight-for-age, height-for-age, and body mass indices-for-age showed lower significant values in the FA group compared with the non-FA group by Mann-Whitney test, with significance values of , , and , respectively. There were no statistical differences in sex, gestational age, birth type, breastfeeding period, and age of introduction of complementary formulas based on cow milk protein between groups. Conclusion. FA patients had a lower growth rate in comparison with patients without FA. The early recognition of food allergies with the establishment of protein-implicated diet exclusion, in association with an adequate nutrient replenishment, is important to reduce the nutritional impact of food allergies. Larissa Carvalho Costa, Erica Rodrigues Rezende, and Gesmar Rodrigues Silva Segundo Copyright © 2014 Larissa Carvalho Costa et al. All rights reserved. Meta-Analysis of the Efficacy of Ectoine Nasal Spray in Patients with Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis Sun, 11 May 2014 09:03:26 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/292545/ Objectives. The meta-analysis aims to investigate the efficacy of ectoine nasal spray and eye drops in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms. Design and Methods. This meta-analysis is based on yet unpublished data of four studies. Both nasal and eye symptoms were documented in patient diary cards. All scales were transformed into a 4-point scale: 0 = no, 1 = mild, 2 = moderate, and 3 = severe symptoms. Each symptom was analysed individually in a meta-analysis of the area under the curve values as well as in a meta-analysis of pre- and posttreatment comparison. Results. After seven days of treatment with ectoine nasal spray both nasal and ocular symptoms decreased significantly. A strong reduction of symptom severity was shown for the parameters rhinorrhoea (31.76% reduction) and nasal obstruction (29.94% reduction). Furthermore, the meta-analyses of individual symptoms to investigate the strength of effect after seven days of medication intake showed significant improvement for nasal obstruction, rhinorrhoea, nasal itching, sneezing, itching of eyes, and redness of eyes. The improvement of the symptom nasal obstruction was associated with a strong effect 0.53 (±0.26). Conclusions. The ectoine nasal spray and eye drops seem to be equally effective as guideline-recommended medication in the treatment of rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms. Andrea Eichel, Andreas Bilstein, Nina Werkhäuser, and Ralph Mösges Copyright © 2014 Andrea Eichel et al. All rights reserved. Proteolytic Activity Present in House-Dust-Mite Extracts Degrades ENA-78/CXCL5 and Reduces Neutrophil Migration Sun, 04 May 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/673673/ Background. Bronchial smooth muscle cells (BSMC) are a major source of proinflammatory and proangiogenic cytokines and chemokines, including VEGF and CXC-chemokines. CXC-chemokines act primarily on neutrophils, mediating their recruitment to and activation at the site of inflammation. In humans, house-dust mite (HDM) allergens can cause asthmatic exacerbations and trigger an inflammatory response through protease-dependent mechanisms. Objective. We investigated the effect HDM extract on the release of pro-angiogenic and proinflammatory cytokines from BSMC. Methods. Human primary BSMC were stimulated with HDM extract in the absence or presence of fetal calf serum (FCS). Twenty angiogenic cytokines were detected by a specific antibody array and modified protein levels were confirmed by ELISA. Neutrophil migration was measured using a 96-well Boyden chamber. Results. ENA-78/CXCL5 protein levels in conditioned medium of BSMC stimulated with HDM extract were significantly reduced (, ) but restored in the presence of 5% FCS. HDM extracts did not affect ENA-78/CXCL5 mRNA levels. Recombinant ENA-78/CXCL5 was degraded after incubation with HDM extracts (, ) but restored after the addition of the serine protease AEBSF. Neutrophil migration towards recombinant ENA-78/CXCL5 was also reduced in the presence of HDM extract. Conclusion. HDM proteases degrade ENA-78/CXCL5. Thus exposure to HDM allergens may alter ENA-78/CXCL5 levels in the lungs and may affect angiogenesis and the inflammatory response in the airways of asthma patients. Laura Keglowich, Michael Tamm, Jun Zhong, Nicola Miglino, and Pieter Borger Copyright © 2014 Laura Keglowich et al. All rights reserved. Probiotics in the Treatment of Chronic Rhinoconjunctivitis and Chronic Rhinosinusitis Mon, 28 Apr 2014 13:37:25 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/983635/ Chronic rhinitis and rhinosinusitis (CRS) are relevant health conditions affecting significant percentages of the western population. They are frequently coexisting and aggravating diseases. Both are chronic, noninfectious, and inflammatory conditions sharing to a certain extent important pathophysiologic similarities. Beneficial effects of probiotics are long known to mankind. Research is beginning to unravel the true nature of the human microbiome and its interaction with the immune system. The growing prevalence of atopic diseases in the developed world led to the proposition of the “hygiene hypothesis.” Dysbiosis is linked to atopic diseases; probiotic supplementation is able to alter the microbiome and certain probiotic strains have immunomodulatory effects in favour of a suppression of Th-2 and stimulation of a Th1 profile. This review focuses on randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials investigating clinical parameters in the treatment of chronic rhinitis and CRS. An emerging number of publications demonstrate beneficial effects using probiotics in clinical double-blind placebo-controlled (dbpc) trials in allergic rhinitis (AR). Using probiotics as complementary treatment options in AR seems to be a promising concept although the evidence is of a preliminary nature to date and more convincing trials are needed. There are no current data to support the use of probiotics in non-AR or CRS. Matthias F. Kramer and Matthew D. Heath Copyright © 2014 Matthias F. Kramer and Matthew D. Heath. All rights reserved. The Compatible Solute Ectoine Reduces the Exacerbating Effect of Environmental Model Particles on the Immune Response of the Airways Sun, 13 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/708458/ Exposure of humans to particulate air pollution has been correlated with the incidence and aggravation of allergic airway diseases. In predisposed individuals, inhalation of environmental particles can lead to an exacerbation of immune responses. Previous studies demonstrated a beneficial effect of the compatible solute ectoine on lung inflammation in rats exposed to carbon nanoparticles (CNP) as a model of environmental particle exposure. In the current study we investigated the effect of such a treatment on airway inflammation in a mouse allergy model. Ectoine in nonsensitized animals significantly reduced the neutrophilic lung inflammation after CNP exposure. This effect was accompanied by a reduction of inflammatory factors in the bronchoalveolar lavage. Reduced IL-6 levels in the serum also indicate the effects of ectoine on systemic inflammation. In sensitized animals, an aggravation of the immune response was observed when animals were exposed to CNP prior to antigen provocation. The coadministration of ectoine together with the particles significantly reduced this exacerbation. The data indicate the role of neutrophilic lung inflammation in the exacerbation of allergic airway responses. Moreover, the data suggest to use ectoine as a preventive treatment to avoid the exacerbation of allergic airway responses induced by environmental air pollution. Klaus Unfried, Matthias Kroker, Andrea Autengruber, Marijan Gotić, and Ulrich Sydlik Copyright © 2014 Klaus Unfried et al. All rights reserved. Treatment of Rhinitis Sicca Anterior with Ectoine Containing Nasal Spray Sun, 13 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/273219/ Objectives. The safety and efficacy of ectoine nasal spray and ectoine nasal spray with dexpanthenol in the treatment of rhinitis sicca were evaluated in two studies. Design and Methods. Two noninterventional observational studies were performed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a nasal spray containing ectoine (study 1) and ectoine/dexpanthenol (study 2) over a period of two weeks including comparable numbers of patients suffering from rhinitis sicca anterior. Patients and physicians were asked to rate the efficacy in reducing symptoms and the tolerability over the treatment phase. Results. The treatment in both studies resulted in a clinical and statistical significant reduction of the main diagnosis parameters, nasal airway obstruction, and crust formation. There was also a significant reduction in the secondary diagnosis parameters in both studies. Importantly, the tolerability was very good. During the whole observational study, neither patients nor doctors stopped the medication due to unwanted effects. Conclusion. Rhinitis sicca could be successfully treated with a nasal spray containing ectoine and a nasal spray combining ectoine with dexpanthenol. The combination of both substances led to slight advantages. Uwe Sonnemann, Olaf Scherner, and Nina Werkhäuser Copyright © 2014 Uwe Sonnemann et al. All rights reserved. Diagnosis of Asthma in Primary Health Care: A Pilot Study Thu, 10 Apr 2014 12:23:38 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/898965/ Some patients with an asthma diagnosis have a poor controlled asthma. One explanation may be an incorrect diagnosis. Aim. The aim of the study was to diagnose and classify patients with non-infectious lower respiratory tract problems in primary health care using internationally applied diagnostic criteria and diagnostic tests. Patients and Methods. New adult patients visiting a primary health care centre due to lower airway problems were included. The diagnostic tests included FEV1, FVC, PEF, two questionnaires, methacholine test, and skin prick test. Results. The patients () could be divided into four groups: asthma (28%), asthma-like disorder (44%), idiopathic cough (12%), and a nonreversible bronchial obstructive group (16%). The asthma and asthma-like groups showed similar patterns of airway symptoms and trigger factors, not significantly separated by a special questionnaire. Phlegm, heavy breathing, chest pressure/pain, cough, and wheezing were the most common symptoms. Physical exercise and scents were the dominating trigger factors. Conclusions. Nonobstructive asthma-like symptoms seem to be as common as bronchial asthma in primary health care. Due to the similarities in symptoms and trigger factors the study supports the hypothesis that asthma and nonobstructive asthma-like disorders are integrated in the same “asthma syndrome,” including different mechanisms, not only bronchial obstruction. Karin C. Ringsberg, Paula Bjärneman, Ronny Larsson, Elisabeth Wallström, and Olle Löwhagen Copyright © 2014 Karin C. Ringsberg et al. All rights reserved. Hypersensitivity and the Working Environment for Allergy Nurses in Sweden Sun, 06 Apr 2014 08:48:54 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/681934/ Background. Allergy nurses are exposed to allergens and respiratory irritants, and there are no national guidelines addressing personnel safety when working with these agents. Objective. To investigate the prevalence of allergies, asthma, and hypersensitivity symptoms among allergy nurses and the use of protective equipment and measures when working with allergen concentrates and respiratory irritants. Methods. A questionnaire survey was performed among the members of the Swedish Association of Allergy Nurses. Results. Diagnosed asthma was reported by 17%, while 18% had allergy to pets, 28% had allergy to pollens, and 26% reported nasal symptoms. Fifty-one percent reported a history of asthma, allergic diseases, or hypersensitivity symptoms in their family. Exhaust ventilation was used by 24% during skin prick tests, 17% during allergen specific immunotherapy, and 33% when performing methacholine challenge tests. Tightly closed containers for disposable waste were used by 58% during skin prick tests, by 60% during immunotherapy, and by 40% during Pc provocation tests. Conclusion. Allergy nurses had a tendency to increased prevalence of lower respiratory symptoms, asthma, and allergic rhinitis and more than half of the nurses had a family history of asthma, allergic diseases, or hypersensitivity symptoms. Additional studies are needed to evaluate the validity of these results. Pia Kalm-Stephens, Therese Sterner, Kerstin Kronholm Diab, and Greta Smedje Copyright © 2014 Pia Kalm-Stephens et al. All rights reserved. The Differences and Similarities between Allergists and Non-Allergists for Penicillin Allergy Management Mon, 24 Feb 2014 12:07:29 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/214183/ The purpose of this study was to compare the management of patients with a history of penicillin allergy between allergists and non-allergists in Thailand. A questionnaire was distributed to Thai physicians by online survey. The answers from 205 physicians were analyzed. The discrepancy of penicillin allergy management between allergists and non-allergists was clearly demonstrated in patients with a history of an immediate reaction in the presence of penicillin skin test () and in patients with a history of Stevens-Johnson syndrome () from penicillin. Allergists are more willing to confirm penicillin allergic status, more likely to carefully administer penicillin even after negative skin test, but less concerned for the potential cross-reactivity with 3rd and 4th generation cephalosporins, compared to non-allergists. The lack of penicillin skin test reagents, the reliability of penicillin allergy history, and medicolegal problem were the main reasons for prescribing alternate antibiotics without confirmation of penicillin allergic status. In summary, the different management of penicillin allergy between allergists and non-allergists was significantly demonstrated in patients with a history of severe non-immediate reaction and in patients with a history of an immediate reaction when a penicillin skin test is available. Nayot Suetrong and Jettanong Klaewsongkram Copyright © 2014 Nayot Suetrong and Jettanong Klaewsongkram. All rights reserved. Exploring Low-Income Families’ Financial Barriers to Food Allergy Management and Treatment Mon, 17 Feb 2014 13:37:38 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/160363/ Objectives. Low-income families may face financial barriers to management and treatment of chronic illnesses. No studies have explored how low-income individuals and families with anaphylactic food allergies cope with financial barriers to anaphylaxis management and/or treatment. This study explores qualitatively assessed direct, indirect, and intangible costs of anaphylaxis management and treatment faced by low-income families. Methods. In-depth, semistructured interviews with 23 participants were conducted to gain insight into income-related barriers to managing and treating anaphylactic food allergies. Results. Perceived direct costs included the cost of allergen-free foods and allergy medication and costs incurred as a result of misinformation about social support programs. Perceived indirect costs included those associated with lack of continuity of health care. Perceived intangible costs included the stress related to the difficulty of obtaining allergen-free foods at the food bank and feeling unsafe at discount grocery stores. These perceived costs represented barriers that were perceived as especially salient for the working poor, immigrants, youth living in poverty, and food bank users. Discussion. Low-income families report significant financial barriers to food allergy management and anaphylaxis preparedness. Clinicians, advocacy groups, and EAI manufacturers all have a role to play in ensuring equitable access to medication for low-income individuals with allergies. Leia M. Minaker, Susan J. Elliott, and Ann Clarke Copyright © 2014 Leia M. Minaker et al. All rights reserved. Human Lung Mast Cell Products Regulate Airway Smooth Muscle CXCL10 Levels Thu, 06 Feb 2014 13:58:18 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2014/875105/ In asthma, the airway smooth muscle (ASM) produces CXCL10 which may attract CXCR3+ mast/T cells to it. Our aim was to investigate the effects of mast cell products on ASM cell CXCL10 production. ASM cells from people with and without asthma were stimulated with IL-1β, TNF-α, and/or IFNγ and treated with histamine (1–100 μM) ± chlorpheniramine (H1R antagonist; 1 μM) or ranitidine (H2R antagonist; 50 μM) or tryptase (1 nM) ± leupeptin (serine protease inhibitor; 50 μM), heat-inactivated tryptase, or vehicle for 4 h or 24 h. Human lung mast cells (MC) were isolated and activated with IgE/anti-IgE and supernatants were collected after 2 h or 24 h. The supernatants were added to ASM cells for 48 h and ASM cell CXCL10 production detected using ELISA (protein) and real-time PCR (mRNA). Histamine reduced IL-1β/TNF-α-induced CXCL10 protein, but not mRNA, levels independent of H1 and H2 receptor activation, whereas tryptase and MC 2 h supernatants reduced all cytokine-induced CXCL10. Tryptase also reduced CXCL10 levels in a cell-free system. Leupeptin inhibited the effects of tryptase and MC 2 h supernatants. MC 24 h supernatants contained TNF-α and amplified IFNγ-induced ASM cell CXCL10 production. This is the first evidence that MC can regulate ASM cell CXCL10 production and its degradation. Thus MC may regulate airway myositis in asthma. H. Alkhouri, V. Cha, K. Tong, L. M. Moir, C. L. Armour, and J. M. Hughes Copyright © 2014 H. Alkhouri et al. All rights reserved. Serum Leptin and Adiponectin Levels in Obese and Nonobese Asthmatic School Children in relation to Asthma Control Tue, 17 Dec 2013 09:39:19 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2013/654104/ There is growing evidence of a positive correlation between asthma and obesity in children and adults. Leptin and adiponectin regulate several metabolic and inflammatory functions. This study aims to evaluate serum leptin and adiponectin concentrations in asthmatic school children to investigate their association with obesity and the degree of asthma control. Obese asthmatic (OA) and nonobese asthmatic (NOA) children, aged 7 to 14, were randomly enrolled in this prospective study. Data on demographic, anthropometric, serum lipids, and spirometric measures and allergy status were collected and analyzed. Serum leptin was significantly higher ( versus ; ) and adiponectin levels were lower ( versus ; ) in OA compared to NOA children. The uncontrolled group had higher leptin and lower adiponectin levels compared to well and partially controlled asthma. BMI was positively correlated with leptin (; ) and negatively with adiponectin (; ). Mean BMI and leptin levels were observed to be higher in girls compared to boys. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis showed that higher BMI and female gender had significant effect on serum leptin levels. Among asthmatic children higher serum leptin and lower adiponectin levels were significantly associated with obesity and showed no significant association with degree of asthma controls. Atqah Abdul Wahab, Muna M. Maarafiya, Ashraf Soliman, Noura B. M. Younes, and Prem Chandra Copyright © 2013 Atqah Abdul Wahab et al. All rights reserved. Mechanistic Understanding of the Effect of Obesity on Asthma and Allergy Thu, 31 Oct 2013 11:20:19 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2013/598904/ Anurag Agrawal, Akshay Sood, Allan Linneberg, and Balaram Ghosh Copyright © 2013 Anurag Agrawal et al. All rights reserved. Adiponectin, Leptin, and Resistin in Asthma: Basic Mechanisms through Population Studies Wed, 30 Oct 2013 18:57:45 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2013/785835/ Adipokines, factors produced by adipose tissue, may be proinflammatory (such as leptin and resistin) or anti-inflammatory (such as adiponectin). Effects of these adipokines on the lungs have the potential to evoke or exacerbate asthma. This review summarizes basic mechanistic data through population-based and clinical studies addressing the potential role of adipokines in asthma. Augmenting circulating concentrations of adiponectin attenuates allergic airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness in mice. Murine data is supported by human data that suggest that low serum adiponectin is associated with greater risk for asthma among women and peripubertal girls. Further, higher serum total adiponectin may be associated with lower clinical asthma severity among children and women with asthma. In contrast, exogenous administration of leptin results in augmented allergic airway hyperresponsiveness in mice. Alveolar macrophages obtained from obese asthmatics are uniquely sensitive to leptin in terms of their potential to augment inflammation. Consistent with this basic mechanistic data, epidemiologic studies demonstrate that higher serum leptin is associated with greater asthma prevalence and/or severity and that these associations may be stronger among women, postpubertal girls, and prepubertal boys. The role of adipokines in asthma is still evolving, and it is not currently known whether modulation of adipokines may be helpful in asthma prevention or treatment. Akshay Sood and Stephanie A. Shore Copyright © 2013 Akshay Sood and Stephanie A. Shore. All rights reserved. Apgar Score Is Related to Development of Atopic Dermatitis: Cotwin Control Study Wed, 09 Oct 2013 13:21:17 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2013/712090/ Aim. To study the impact of birth characteristics on the risk of atopic dermatitis in a twin population. Methods. In a population-based questionnaire study of 10,809 twins, 3–9 years of age, from the Danish Twin Registry, we identified 907 twin pairs discordant for parent-reported atopic dermatitis. We cross-linked with data from the Danish National Birth Registry and performed cotwin control analysis in order to test the impact of birth characteristics on the risk of atopic dermatitis. Results. Apgar score, OR (per unit) = 1.23 (1.06–1.44), , and female sex, OR = 1.31 (1.06–1.61), , were risk factors for atopic dermatitis in cotwin control analysis, whereas birth anthropometric factors were not significantly related to disease development. Risk estimates in monozygotic and dizygotic twins were not significantly different for the identified risk factors. Conclusions. In this population-based cotwin control study, high Apgar score was a risk factor for atopic dermatitis. This novel finding must be confirmed in subsequent studies. Vibeke Naeser, Niklas Kahr, Lone Graff Stensballe, Kirsten Ohm Kyvik, Axel Skytthe, Vibeke Backer, Charlotte Giwercman Carson, and Simon Francis Thomsen Copyright © 2013 Vibeke Naeser et al. All rights reserved. Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Allergy: Development and Reproducibility of a Questionnaire for Clinical Diagnosis Tue, 01 Oct 2013 11:53:38 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2013/920679/ Objective. To develop a questionnaire as a screening tool for adverse reactions to foods in children and to assess the technical reproducibility by test-retest. Methods. Reproducibility of the questionnaire was performed by the literature review, preparing the preliminary questionnaire, peer review, pretest, and retest analysis. The study of the test-retest reproducibility was cross-sectional and descriptive. Kappa coefficient was used to study the reproducibility of the questionnaire. The sample consisted of 125 2–4 year-old children from 15 daycare centers in Recife, Brazil, and interviews with parents or caregivers were used to collect data. Results. From the total children, sixty-three were boys (50.4%), forty-six were two years old (36.8%), forty-seven were three years old (37.6%), and thirty-two were four years old (25.6%). Forty caregivers reported that their child had health problems with food. Most frequently reported offending foods were milk, peanuts, shrimp, and chocolate. Nine questions showed a good Kappa index (≥0,6). Conclusions. The questionnaire used needs to be resized and reshaped on the basis of the issues with good internal consistency and reproducibility. The use of a validated and reproducible questionnaire in the children represents an important contribution towards assessing an eventual rise in overt food allergy. Nilza R. S. Lyra, Maria E. F. A. Motta, Luiz A. R. Rocha, Dirceu Solé, Décio M. Peixoto, José A. Rizzo, Luis Taborda-Barata, and Emanuel S. C. Sarinho Copyright © 2013 Nilza R. S. Lyra et al. All rights reserved. Insulin and the Lung: Connecting Asthma and Metabolic Syndrome Tue, 24 Sep 2013 10:50:19 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2013/627384/ Obesity, metabolic syndrome, and asthma are all rapidly increasing globally. Substantial emerging evidence suggests that these three conditions are epidemiologically and mechanistically linked. Since the link between obesity and asthma appears to extend beyond mechanical pulmonary disadvantage, molecular understanding is necessary. Insulin resistance is a strong, independent risk factor for asthma development, but it is unknown whether a direct effect of insulin on the lung is involved. This review summarizes current knowledge regarding the effect of insulin on cellular components of the lung and highlights the molecular consequences of insulin-related metabolic signaling cascades that could adversely affect lung structure and function. Examples include airway smooth muscle proliferation and contractility and regulatory signaling networks that are associated with asthma. These aspects of insulin signaling provide mechanistic insight into the clinical evidence for the links between obesity, metabolic syndrome, and airway diseases, setting the stage for novel therapeutic avenues targeting these conditions. Suchita Singh, Y. S. Prakash, Allan Linneberg, and Anurag Agrawal Copyright © 2013 Suchita Singh et al. All rights reserved. TNF-Alpha Inhibitors for Chronic Urticaria: Experience in 20 Patients Wed, 18 Sep 2013 11:54:13 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2013/130905/ Patients with severe chronic urticaria may not respond to antihistamines, and other systemic treatment options may either be ineffective or associated with unacceptable side effects. We present data on efficacy and safety of adalimumab and etanercept in 20 adult patients with chronic urticaria. Twelve (60%) patients obtained complete or almost complete resolution of urticaria after onset of therapy with either adalimumab or etanercept. Further three patients (15%) experienced partial response. Duration of treatment ranged between 2 and 39 months. Those responding completely or almost completely had a durable response with a mean of 11 months. Six patients (30%) experienced side effects and five patients had mild recurrent upper respiratory infections, whereas one patient experienced severe CNS toxicity that could be related to treatment with TNF-alpha inhibitor. Adalimumab and etanercept may be effective and relatively safe treatment options in a significant proportion of patients with chronic urticaria who do not respond sufficiently to high-dose antihistamines or in whom standard immunosuppressive drugs are ineffective or associated with unacceptable side effects. Freja Lærke Sand and Simon Francis Thomsen Copyright © 2013 Freja Lærke Sand and Simon Francis Thomsen. All rights reserved. Factors Associated with the Use of Different Treatment Modalities among Patients with Upper Airway Diseases in Taiwan: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study Sun, 08 Sep 2013 17:53:02 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2013/720879/ Rhinitis is a common upper airway disease and can have great impact on patients' quality of life. Factors associated with the use of common treatment modalities among 279 Taiwanese rhinitis patients from the outpatient department of otolaryngology in a medical center were investigated using a cross-sectional survey study. Results from multiple logistic regression analysis, adjusted for etiologies of rhinitis, revealed that males were associated with surgical intervention (OR = 2.11, ). Lower educational level was associated with oral (OR = 2.31, ) and topical medications (OR = 2.50, ). Poor or fair general health status was associated with topical medications (OR = 4.47, ), whereas very good or excellent general health status was inversely associated with surgical intervention (OR = 0.32, ). Smoking was associated with the use of nasal irrigation (OR = 2.72, ). Worse disease-specific quality of life was associated with oral medications (OR = 2.46, ) and traditional Chinese medicine (OR = 5.43, ). In conclusion, the use of different treatment modalities for rhinitis was associated with different combinations of independent factors. Malcolm Koo, Kai-Li Liang, Hsin Tsao, Ting-Ting Yen, Rong-San Jiang, and Yueh-Chiao Yeh Copyright © 2013 Malcolm Koo et al. All rights reserved. Obesity and Asthma: Physiological Perspective Thu, 18 Jul 2013 13:33:30 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2013/198068/ Obesity induces some pertinent physiological changes which are conducive to either development of asthma or cause of poorly controlled asthma state. Obesity related mechanical stress forces induced by abdominal and thoracic fat generate stiffening of the lungs and diaphragmatic movements to result in reduction of resting lung volumes such as functional residual capacity (FRC). Reduced FRC is primarily an outcome of decreased expiratory reserve volume, which pushes the tidal breathing more towards smaller high resistance airways, and consequentially results in expiratory flow limitation during normal breathing in obesity. Reduced FRC also induces plastic alteration in the small collapsible airways, which may generate smooth muscle contraction resulting in increased small airway resistance, which, however, is not picked up by spirometric lung volumes. There is also a possibility that chronically reduced FRC may generate permanent adaptation in the very small airways; therefore, the airway calibres may not change despite weight reduction. Obesity may also induce bronchodilator reversibility and diurnal lung functional variability. Obesity is also associated with airway hyperresponsiveness; however, the mechanism of this is not clear. Thus, obesity has effects on lung function that can generate respiratory distress similar to asthma and may also exaggerate the effects of preexisting asthma. Bill Brashier and Sundeep Salvi Copyright © 2013 Bill Brashier and Sundeep Salvi. All rights reserved. The Asthma Phenotype in the Obese: Distinct or Otherwise? Tue, 25 Jun 2013 17:09:49 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2013/602908/ Asthma is a heterogenous disorder that can be classified into several different phenotypes. Recent cluster analyses have identified an “obese-asthma” phenotype which is characterized by late onset, female predominance and lack of atopy. In addition, obesity among early-onset asthmatics clearly exists and heightens the clinical presentation. Observational studies have demonstrated that asthma among the obese has a clinical presentation that is more severe, harder to control, and is not as responsive to standard controller therapies. While weight loss studies have demonstrated improvement in asthma outcomes, further studies need to be performed. The current knowledge of the existence of two obesity-asthma phenotypes (early- versus late-onset asthma) should encourage investigators to study these entities separately since just as they have distinct presentations, their course, response to therapies, and weight loss strategies may be different as well. Sherry Farzan Copyright © 2013 Sherry Farzan. All rights reserved.