First Peanut Allergy Pill Approved by FDA

February 12th, 2020

Bag of peanutsThe first treatment for peanut allergy has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A Pill to Treat Peanut Allergies

Palforzia—a specially prepared peanut powder that’s consumed daily, helps children and teens better tolerate peanuts so that accidental exposure is less likely to cause a serious reaction.

In patients four to 17, two-thirds of those taking Palforzia were able to tolerate the equivalent of two peanuts, according to one study.

The FDA requires patients to take their first dose and each increased dose under supervision in a certified health center.  Doctors and their patients must also enroll in a special safety program. 

The pill is not a cure. Even with treatment patients must still avoid peanuts and protection is lost if the patient stops taking the powder daily.

A skin patch is being developed which is up for FDA review.

Allergic Reactions

Peanut allergy is one of the most common causes of severe allergy attacks. A peanut allergy occurs when your immune system mistakenly identifies peanut proteins as something harmful. Direct or indirect contact with peanuts causes a person’s immune system to release symptom-causing chemicals into the bloodstream.  

An allergic response to peanuts usually occurs within minutes after exposure. Peanut allergy signs and symptoms include:

  • Digestive problems, such as stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting
  • Itching or tingling in or around the mouth and throat
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Skin reactions, such as hives, redness or swelling
  • Tightening of the throat

Peanut allergies affect 1.2 million children.

What IAA has to Say

Having a peanut allergy can make life a little complicated. Insurance Administrator of America hopes that this new drug will allow children to live their lives without worrying about having an allergic reaction. IAA knows that these breakthroughs can make a world of difference.

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More “Forever Chemicals” in Water Than Initially Thought

February 5th, 2020

Water bottle A new report has found that Americans are more widely exposed to synthetic polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS) than previously thought.

Forever Chemicals in Tap Water

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated in 2018 that 110 million Americans were potentially exposed to PFAS. New findings released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), show that number to be much higher.

The EWG studied samples of tap water from 44 areas in 31 states and Washington D.C. Out of all the sites, only Meridian, Mississippi was found to have no trace of PFAS. Particularly high levels were found in major metropolitan areas, including Miami, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.

 The EWG found that on average that each area showed signs of six to seven different “forever chemicals” mixed together.

 The EPA has a recommended health limit of 70 parts per trillion for how much PFAS are considered safe for drinking water. 

 The federal government has started to look at stricter rules for PFAS, including how much is considered acceptable drinking water, how to prevent them from entering the food supply and when amounts are high enough that they are required to be cleaned up in soil or groundwater.

PFAS and the Body

 PFAS are persistent in the environment and in the human body—meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time.

 There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects:

  • Cancers
  • Gastrointestinal diseases (such as ulcerative colitis)
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy (risk factor for decreased fetal growth)
  • High cholesterol (risk factor for heart disease)
  • Liver damage
  • Thyroid disease

 PFAS can be found in:

  • Commercial household products: Including polishes, waxes, paints, and cleaning products.
  • Drinking water: This is typically localized and associated with a specific facility.
  • Food: Food packaged in PFAS containing materials, processed with equipment that used PFAS or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.
  • Living organisms: Including fish and animals where PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time.
  • Workplace: Including production facilities or industries that use PFAS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the chemicals are so common almost all Americans have a measurable amount of the most well known types of PFAS in their blood.

What IAA has to Say

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New Coronavirus Hits United States

January 29th, 2020

Travel Alert SignThere are now five confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States. Two are in southern California, one in Arizona, one in Illinois, and one in Washington State.

Protective Measures

The outbreak which began in Wuhan, China, has now hit the U.S. All five people diagnosed with the coronavirus have been linked to travel in Wuhan.

The State Department issued a new travel advisory on January 23, declaring the Hubei region Level 4 Do Not Travel, the strongest of the four travel warnings issued by the U.S. government.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently screening for the virus at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Atlanta, and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The CDC is looking for symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing. They are also checking passengers’ temperatures with an infrared thermometer.

Health officials reported the first case of coronavirus in the U.S. on January 21, when it was diagnosed in a man who had recently traveled to Wuhan.

The death toll from the virus has increased to 80, as of January 27.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

A coronavirus is a type of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. The virus that started in China is a new type of coronavirus called the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s, but their origin is unknown. They get their name from their crown-like shape. 

Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do: through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person’s hands or face or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched.

The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes fever.

To help prevent infection:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  2. Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are infected.

The World Health Organization said there are multiple known coronaviruses circulating in animals that have not yet been transmitted to humans.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America finds it important to share health related travel alerts. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way! Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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What is Your Ageotype?

January 22nd, 2020

Apple sitting next to small weightsHigh school reunions are always the same. There are people who look like they haven’t aged a day since they graduated, and there are those who you would never recognize without the name tag. Scientists are now delving into why this occurs.

New Study Reveals Ageotypes

In a study published on January 13 in “Nature Medicine,” scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine found that people have an “ageotype.” Ageotypes are a combination of molecular and other changes that are specific to one physiological system. These changes can be measured when the individual is healthy and relatively young, researchers report, perhaps helping physicians pinpoint ways patients can extend good health.

In the study, researchers tracked 43 healthy adults over a two year period, analyzing blood and other biological samples to look for a variety of molecular change.

In theory, if people are able to learn their personalized ageotype, as well as the rate of their aging process, they might actively work to make healthy changes.

There are already proven ways to reduce the risk for disease and disability: not smoking, losing extra weight, getting plenty of exercise, and a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, and sleeping from seven to eight hours per night.

The research is still in its infancy, but experts say it is an important step forward in learning more about aging.

Different Ageotypes

Through blood and saliva and urine tests, genetic analyses, microbiome inspections of their nose and gut, scientists measured 10,343 genes, 306 blood proteins, 722 metabolites, and 6,909 microbes, and found they clustered into four ageotypes: liver, kidney, metabolic, and immune. 

So what could this mean for people in these categories?

  • Immune agers may generate more inflammation and therefore be at a higher risk for immune-related diseases
  • Liver and kidney ageotypes may be more prone to liver or kidney disease
  • Metabolic agers may be at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes as they grow older

Some study participants fit multiple ageotypes, while others were found to be aging in all four categories. 

There are likely other pathways, such as cardio agers, who may be more prone to heart attacks, but the study was limited to four main aging pathways.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is here to bring you updates on the world of health.  Just think of IAA as your third party health monitor, here to keep you in the know!

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Researchers May Have Found Answer to Cosmetics Allergy

January 15th, 2020

Makeup setNew research is being done on allergic reactions to cosmetics and skin creams.

Molecule May be Allergy Culprit

An international team of dermatologists, rheumatologists and immunologists has identified CD1a, a molecule found in human skin cells, as the culprit in a complex process that triggers allergic contact dermatitis or ACD.

Researchers decided to explore how the skin’s immune cells respond to the introduction of the chemicals found in consumer products. The team suspected that CD1a, which is found in the skin’s Langerhans-or immune cells, might be responsible for making these chemicals visible to T-cells, the cells that trigger the immune system response.

To test their hypothesis, researchers exposed human T-cells in tissue culture, to material from skin patch testing kits used in allergy clinics. In general, they found that the T-cells responded to certain substances, including balsam of Peru, a tree oil widely used in cosmetics and toothpaste. Specifically, two chemicals found in balsam—benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate—were directly responsible for stimulating the T-cell response.

In all, researchers identified a dozen chemicals that appeared to elicit a similar response. The authors believe these chemicals cause ACD by binding with CD1a molecules on the surface of Langerhans cells. Essentially, by binding with CD1a, these chemicals become “visible” to T-cells, prompting the immune system to respond.

The researchers suggested that confirming CD1a’s role in the development of ACD could provide future researchers with a pathway for developing new treatments for the condition.

Researchers published their findings on January 10, in the journal “Science Immunology.”

What is Allergic Contact Dermatitis?

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a substance to which you are sensitive (allergen) triggers an immune reaction in your skin. It usually affects only the area that came into contact with the allergen. But it may be triggered by something that enters you body through foods, flavorings, medicine, or medical/dental procedures.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Bumps and blisters, sometimes with oozing
  • Dry, cracked, scaly skin
  • Itching, which may be severe
  • Red rash
  • Swelling, burning or tenderness

Poison ivy is perhaps the best known trigger for ACD, but it can also be caused by many ingredients in soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, toothpaste, and plants.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to know what is going on in the world of health. Keep up to date with IAA! Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

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