July 12, 2017  

Exposure to farm animals protects farm children from asthma

(Natural News) Asthma is a common disease among most children, with the exception being farm children. Immunologists from the University of Zurich have pinpointed the cause: exposure to farm animals. Specifically, the researchers have identified a sialic acid in farm animals that has proven to be effective against lung tissue inflammation.

The sialic acid is N-Glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc), a substance that is prevalent in the majority of vertebrates but absent in humans. According to the researchers, humans are unable to produce this non-microbial substance naturally, yet are fully capable of absorbing it from animals through either touch or by consuming food products made from animals.

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April 13, 2017  

Estimating the abundance of airborne pollen and fungal spores at various elevations using an aircraft: How high can they fly?

Airborne pollen and fungal spores are monitored mainly in highly populated, urban environments, for allergy prevention purposes. However, their sources can frequently be located outside cities' fringes with more vegetation.

In order to shed light on this paradox, we investigated the diversity and abundance of airborne pollen and fungal spores for various environmental regimes. We monitored pollen and spores using an aircraft and a car, at elevations from sea level to 2,000 m above ground, in the region of Thesssaloniki, Greece. We found a total of 24 pollen types and more than 15 spore types. Pollen and spores were detected throughout the various elevations. Lower elevations exhibited higher pollen concentrations in only half of plant taxa and higher fungal spore concentrations in only Ustilago. Pinaceae and Quercus pollen were the most abundant recorded by aircraft (>54% of the total). Poaceae pollen were the most abundant via car measurements (>77% of the total). Cladosporium and Alternaria spores were the most abundant in all cases (aircraft: >69% and >17%, car: >45% and >27%, respectively). We conclude that pollen and fungal spores can be diverse and abundant even outside the main source area, evidently because of long-distance migration incidents.

Author information: Damialis A1,2,3, Kaimakamis E4, Konoglou M4, Akritidis I5, Traidl-Hoffmann C1,2, Gioulekas D6.
1 Chair and Institute of Environmental Medicine, UNIKA-T, Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Augsburg, Germany.
2 CK-CARE, Christine Kühne – Center for Allergy Research and Education, Davos, Switzerland.
3 Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
4 1st Pulmonary Department, "G. Papanikolaou" General Hospital of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
5 Internal Medicine Department, "G. Gennimatas" General Hospital of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
6 Pulmonary Department, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.

January 9, 2017  

Allergy Campus Davos – update

A campus for allergy research, training and treatment is being developed on the Davos Wolfgang site. CK-CARE, SIAF and the Hochgebirgsklinik have committed themselves to the concept of translational research which has such a promising future. Here the results of research directly benefit patients in the clinic, through physical and organisational proximity. The closeness to patients offers researchers unique opportunities to do work that is ideally tailored to patients. Education conveys the results of this interaction to medical and non-medical professionals and thereby ensures that the effect is multiplied. Locally integrated cooperation is also crucial to genuine translational action.

Picture: source - OOS AG, Architects, Zurich

In connection with the launch of the new Davos-Wolfgang Clinic in mid-2014, spaces became free on the clinic site which are to be used partly for a new building for research and training. Planning for this new construction project is now largely completed. The infrastructure for educational events and meetings will emerge on the ground floor, creating the best conditions for training of medical and non-medical professionals. Laboratory and office premises for SIAF will be installed on the top two floors, enabling this world-renowned institute to continue its research work at the highest international level. Thanks to contributions from Federation, cantons and municipality, financing of the project is now assured from the SIAF perspective. Building is planned to start in spring 2017 and finish by summer 2018.