Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Poison Ivy Pills

poison ivy pillsExperts say that more than 85 percent of people develop an allergic reaction if exposed to enough of the sap of these plants, at least one in every U.S. state except Alaska and Hawaii. "I see many different types of eruption, said Dr. Jim Marks, director of the department of dermatology at Penn State Hershey, Pa." And almost everyone I know says: "The worst day I have never had a rash of poison ivy has been. "

Over the last hundred years, generations of physicians of the skin and immunologists have worked hard to develop some kind of pill that will reverse this sensitivity to urushiol - the sticky resin in poison ivy, oak and sumac that triggers allergies. Back in the 1980s, Marks thought it was close.

For brands, the most intriguing bit of evidence came not from a laboratory or in the woods, but a factory in the suburbs of Philadelphia - a place that grinds the dust deposits cashew friction brake linings of automobiles. It turns out that the shells of cashew nuts are loaded with urushiol, the same thing that makes the poison oak and ivy to the threat. Workers have begun to itch.

Tolerance test

Mark I thought you might enjoy the permanent employees of some particles of urushiol in the plant's air had somehow contributed to the tolerance of it. It gave him hope that the watered down version of urushiol in pill form could also lead to tolerance.

Chemists have discovered a pill that has worked very hard as expected - in guinea pigs. At first people seemed to promise, even when the researchers tested against a sugar pill, or placebo. "This issue has always been bad poison ivy every summer was sure to win the [pill] active," said Marks, "because I had poison ivy at all."

"Immune memory"

20 years ago, why the study of marks "with workers in the cashew plants. Scientists are closer to the poison ivy pill?

"It 's very complicated," said Dr. Anthony Gaspari Chairman of Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. "I tell patients that the skin is armed and dangerous."

the soldiers of the skin's immune system, "said Gaspari - white blood cells lined up and ready to attack harmful bacteria or chemicals that can penetrate groped. This is great for fighting bacteria, cut or scrape, but if poison ivy, which does more harm than good.

"There is something urushiol, Gaspari said," that tricks the immune system thinking, "Wow, that's really dangerous. Gaspari said that if scientists could determine how to get these soldiers of the immune system is removed when not needed, which would be closer, not only to prevent the rash from poison ivy, but also to cope with the painful experience of rejection of transplanted organs. You could almost cure other diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis are associated with failures in an overactive immune system.

"Immunological tolerance", he said, "is the Holy Grail of immunology."

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