Are you someone who suffers from spring time allergies? Regardless of the type of plant it is, what causes the allergies is pollen. Spring allergies can often start as early as February, or whenever cedar and ash trees release pollen – they happen to be the first trees that do so. If you’re wondering what to do for your pesky spring allergies, then read Dr. Nilesh Shah’s recommendations on how to survive the Northwest allergy season.
Welcome to the Northwest Face blog. Here you will find articles by our own physicians, staff and featured authors, all of which are open to comments and discussion. Please feel free to post your own comments to each entry. (Note that comments are moderated and comments you post may not appear immediately.)
As cells replicate, their DNA gets shortened. The DNA has extra non-coding DNA at the ends that get clipped off when it replicates (this extra DNA acts as a sort of a buffer at the ends of the chromosomes, so the important coding part of the DNA does not get clipped off). It is the job of an enzyme called telomerase to add on the extra non-coding DNA after each replication. Telomerase allows the cell to replicate its DNA, but still with each replication the chromosomes get shorter.
With time cell replication can only go on for so long, due to so much trimming off of the ends of the chromosomes. It has been found that in about 75% of spontaneous melanomas and many familial melanomas that there is a mutation that allows the telomerase to be hyperactive (adding on lots of non- coding DNA buffer to the ends of the chromosomes) thereby allowing the cells to replicate and replicate without end. The exciting news is that this knowledge will lead to new therapies for melanoma aimed at taming the telomerase enzyme.
Julie E. Voss, M.D.
Red heads(old term) or gingers(new term) make a type of skin pigment called pheomelanin while all other hair color types make eumelanin (true melanin). Pheomelanin is known to be inferior at blocking UV rays. Gingers have the highest incidence of melanoma.
I alwasy assumed it was because they had less natural protection (melanin is your natural sunscreen), but a new study published in the Journal Nature yesterday seems to indicate that just having the pheomelanin gene (even without UV exposure) makes it more likely to develop melanoma. Of course, adding UV exposure on top of genetic predisposition only makes it more likely to develop melanoma. The information comes from experiments done on mice.
The take home message here: If you are strawberry blond, ginger/redhead/ have kids with red hair then you probably have the gene for pheomelanin, therefore protect your skin from UV rays (clothing / hats are best) and get a full body skin check every year. Learn how to detect a melanoma. As always, avoid tanning salons.
Julie Voss, M.D.
That’s the premise behind a new product out of Finland known as the Valkee bright light headset. This device channels UV light through ear pieces into a patient’s ear canals.
Research done at the University of Oulu in Finland has shown the presence of light-detecting cells in part of the brain that lie in close proximity to the inner ear. The UV light is believed to mimic the natural daylight, and thereby trick the brain into adjusting into more natural sleep patterns than the typical jet-lagged patterns one experiences after long flight.
The device was designed primarily to combat seasonal affective disorder- further research is under way to confirm that these light-sensing cells in the brain do indeed respond to light shown into the ear canal.
Nilesh Shah, MD
.According to the online Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology this Oct., pregnant women who took probiotics for the last two months of pregnancy and for the first couple of months breastfeeding where much less likely to have an infant with eczema. 71% of the infants of mothers that took placebo developed eczema compared to 29% of those that took probiotics.
Julie E. Voss, MD