Staph Infections and Allergy – a cause and effect relationship?

I found this study very interesting. My son was diagnosed early on with a staphylococcus aureus infection, and we were never entirely sure if it came before his fight with severe atopic dermatitis (eczema), or as a result of it.

My theory is that we brought it home with us from the hospital where he was born. This theory evolved after meeting a woman whose daughter was born in the same hospital, four days prior to my son’s birth, and that little girl had nearly identical symptoms and allergies, including the eczema and staph infection!

So the question is, if he had never had the Staph infection as an infant, would he have later developed such severe allergic reactions?

An excerpt from the press release:

The most significant obstacle to developing an animal model of food allergy is that animals are not normally allergic to food. Scientists must add a strong immune stimulant to foods to elicit a reaction in animals that resembles food allergy in humans. Because of this requirement, useful animal models have been developed only in the last few years, and such animal models have until now used cholera toxin as the immune stimulant.

Dr. Bryce’s team took the novel approach of feeding mice a mixture of whole peanut extract (WPE) and a toxin from the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, called staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) to simulate the human anaphylactic reaction to peanuts in mice.

“Persistent S. aureus colonization is commonly found on the skin of people with eczema and in the nasal cavities of people with sinusitis,” says Dr. Bryce. “The history between S. aureus and allergic diseases led us to use staphylococcal toxins to stimulate food allergy in animals.”

According to Dr. Bryce, the results using the SEB/WPE mixture were considerably better than those seen with previous animal models, which failed to mimic many features of food allergy.  They showed that the SEB/WPE mixture stimulated severe symptoms in mice that closely resemble those found in human anaphylaxis, including swelling around the eyes and mouth, reduced movement and significant problems breathing. Additionally, mice given the SEB/WPE mixture had high blood levels of histamine, which indicates a severe allergic reaction.

Read the entire press release here: 

Of Mice and Peanuts: A New Mouse Model for Peanut Allergy .

Stress during Pregnancy: Increasing the risk of Allergy and Asthma in infants

A recent study conducted by Harvard Medical School researchers was presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 2008 International Conference in Toronto. Although it was only a small group of mothers and children studied, it confirmed for me what I knew intuitively to be true: that the very high level of stress that I was under during my pregnancy with my son contributed to his heightened susceptibility to allergies. At the time, I wondered how my stress level was affecting my baby, often discussing the subject with friends and family.

For more information on the study or its authors, see:

Mom’s Stress in Pregnancy May Up Baby’s Asthma and Allergy Risk .

Gluten-free/Allergen free bakery

We LOVE this bakery…their products are excellent quality, their website is easy to navigate and to find products at a glance that fit our individual needs, and they deliver either to your local grocer, or to your own door! Gotta love it!

Kinnikinnick Foods.

A blog is born

Over Christmas brunch with some friends this year, a discussion arose around living with severely allergic children, and how much more difficult life can be without a network of supportive people around us. We are fortunate enough to have found, built and developed a little network in our very small community, but I can well remember back to what it was like to do this in isolation, and it was an extremely stressful situation, to say the least!

In sharing our stories and experience with another mother that day, we realized how much we have learned, and how much we had to share. One parent suggested, off the cuff, that we should build a website to share our knowledge, and a light bulb went on in my mind. My partner is a website designer (he prefers to call himself the Friendly Neighbourhood Web Dude), and our little network of people are a wealth of information in many different areas: allergy testing, symptoms and reactions, available products, healthy lifestyles, and communicating the unique needs of our otherwise entirely “normal” children. Why not pool resources and share with other parents and families?

So here we are.

I now have a second child, now three months old, who is so far demonstrating some sensitivities, but not yet any seriously allergic symptoms, as her big brother did by this age. I will be watching closely, but so far, so good! Having a wee one here now also means that my time is limited again, but I will do my best to post here regularly, and to bring in the expertise of a few friends to make this a truly useful resource for readers. Thanks in advance for your patience with a total newbie blogger!