How to Prevent the 2018 Allergy Season From Getting the Best of You


As February drags on, many of us find ourselves at the point where we would give almost anything for a time machine that can catapult us into spring, when we can finally put away our bulky jackets, we won’t have to worry about every flight being cancelled due to snow or ice, and this year’s dangerous flu season finally starts to wind down. “Everything will be better in spring,” we wistfully tell ourselves, conveniently forgetting that the warming temperatures are the bearers of another big annoyance: allergies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year. Those allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, can cause all sorts of pesky symptoms, like itching, sneezing, sinus pain, and more. As we inch closer to spring, here’s what you should know about what the upcoming months mean for your allergies — and how to keep the downsides to a minimum in 2018.

When is “peak” allergy season?

We throw around the term “allergy season” a lot, but the reality is there isn’t one season when everyone’s allergies collectively flare up. “‘Peak’ allergy season varies for each individual depending on what they may be allergic to and the region of the country they live in,” Sindhura Bandi  an allergist and immunologist at Rush University medical center tells Allure. 

Seasonal allergies generally hit in waves. Bandi explains that tree pollen season usually goes from late February/early March through May; followed by grass season, which holds on until July; then August and the fall bring about mold spores (which take their toll in humid climates) and ragweed, which holds on until approximately November.

That said, none of that is an exact science. “In areas that do not experience frosty conditions, certain allergens may persist for longer seasons,” Bandi says. “In addition, with the more temperate climates we have been seeing nationally, certain pollen seasons are lasting for longer than usual.” And as if that weren’t enough, there are also perennial allergens that persist year-round, such as dust, pet dander, and some types of mold.


What’s the difference between seasonal and perennial allergies?

Darria Long Gillespie a clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and head of clinical strategy at Sharecare, explains that seasonal allergies are only present during peak pollination times of specific allergens (like the aforementioned trees, grass, mold, and ragweed). Perennial allergies are not only present all the time, but they’re also caused by different allergens, with the exception of mold, which can cause both seasonal and perennial allergies. Instead of plants, Long Gillespie says that year-round allergies are typically triggered by insects (like dust mites and cockroaches) and animals (cats and dogs).

But that’s where the differences stop. “Whatever the trigger of the allergy, the body’s response is the same,” Long Gillespie says. “It recognizes these things as something ‘harmful’ and mounts an immune response, which leads to the classic allergy symptoms, [like] stuffy/runny nose and sneezing, sore or itchy throat, and itchy/red eyes.”

How can I prevent or minimize both kinds of allergy symptoms?

The CDC explains that you can’t prevent allergies, but you can prevent allergic reactions. Doing so requires you to take control of your environment and minimizing those triggers as best you can.

If you have seasonal allergies, keep tabs on the daily pollen count, which you can get from most weather forecasting service. When it’s high, try to stay inside as much as you can. Both Bandi and Long Gillespie also recommend keeping your windows and doors (to your home and car) closed to minimize your exposure to pollen.

Of course, it’s unlikely that you can avoid going outside at all during peak pollination times, but there are still things you can do to help prevent reactions when you do. “When you come in from the outdoors, change your clothes and take a shower to rinse pollen out of your hair and off your skin,” Long Gillespie says. If you can’t shower right away, she recommends at least doing so before you go to bed. And if you have pets, wipe them down after they come inside, too.

Dandelion seeds in the morning sunlight blowing away across a fresh green background

Speaking of pets, a HEPA filter, as well as regular vacuuming, can also help ward against pet dander. It’s also worth noting that, Bandi says, cat dander can linger in a home up to six months. In the event that you used to have a cat — or have simply done a bit of cat-sitting, for that matter — and are still experiencing allergy symptoms, you may need to do a deep clean and replace your filters.

If possible, Long Gillespie suggests keeping the carpeting in your home to a minimum, as it attracts both pollen and dust. And if dust is your big allergy trigger, Bandi recommends keeping your home’s humidity below 50 percent (you can test the level with a hygrometer) and using dust mite-proof pillows and mattress covers. “In addition, frequent vacuuming and using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in the home can reduce dust mite exposure,” Bandi says.

Long Gillespie also says that nasal rinses, such as neti pots, can clear pollen out of your nose before the allergy symptoms start. If you go that route, be sure to closely follow the FDA’S safety recommendations. Whatever your specific trigger, Long Gillespie also recommends cleaning all air, duct, and air conditioner filters before allergy season begins each year.

How can I fight them once they show up?

“Of course, prevent[ing] complete exposure is often not possible, and your allergist can recommend various medical therapies to reduce the symptoms,” Bandi says. “Allergen immunotherapy, or allergy shots, can be helpful in desensitizing your body to the allergens in which you are allergic.”

Long Gillespie also recommends options like antihistamines (which come in many forms to block your body’s immune overreaction to the trigger, steroid nose sprays to fight congestion and post-nasal drip, and decongestants in oral or nasal spray form.

If you’re not sure what exactly is causing your symptoms, Bandi suggests making an appointment with an allergist who can help you identify the trigger. And even if you do have a good idea of what allergen is causing you to sniffle and sneeze, a specialist can guide you on the best path for warding off and treating the symptoms, so you can get back to enjoying the season


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This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate treatment plan.

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Tea: A Supplemental Treatment for Eczema

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 6.36.35 PMEczema affects 35 million Americas, yet this chronic skin condition does not have any known cure. There are a lot of researchers studying the condition and there is a variety of topical treatments and medications available however some individuals turn to herbal supplements and tea to relieve their symptoms.

It is important to talk with your doctor about whether these may be appropriate treatments for your skin condition and whether they can interact with any medication you currently take.

Green Tea for Eczema


Drinking green tea on a daily basic allows you to enjoy many of its health benefits, including the anti-inflammatory effects that can fight the case of eczema.

In a study published in the Korean Journal of Dermatology, researchers conclude that moisturizers containing green tea extracts can be effective for improving dry skin conditions. Due to the anti-inflammatory effects, green tea extracts can be used for the treatment of atopic dermatitis or xerotic eczema.

In 2012 a publication in the Mycobiology Journal, researchers also provide evidence that a bath therapy with extracts of green tea can be an safe and effective method treating patients with atopic dermatitis related to Malassezia Sympodialis (1).

Oolong Tea for Eczema

An early study in 2001, Japanese scientists investigated the effect of oolong tea against eczema.

Before we discuss this study, we would like to point out that oolong tea is in fact made from the same tea plant as green tea. However, unlike the minimally fermented leaves of green tea, oolong teas are semi fermented.

In the Japanese study mentioned above, 118 patients with eczema (atopic dermatitis) where asked to drink 3 times oolong tea per day. After just 1 month, 74 patients showed moderate improvement in their skin condition. After 6 months, even 64 patients showed a good improvement.


The researchers believe that the effectiveness of oolong tea might be attributable to the antiallergic properties of tea polyphenols. This study is important because it demonstrates that eczema can be reduced by drinking tea, instead of tea extract based creamed that are applied on the skin.

Red Clover Tea for Eczema 

Ask your health-care provider if red clover tea may be helpful. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that red clover is effective in treating eczema or psoriasis, and the tea may be prepared by using 1 to 2 tsp. of dried flowers steeped in 8 oz. of hot water, and drink two to three cups daily (3).

Burdock Root Tea for Eczema 

Burdock Root Tea has been found to be helpful for patients with acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Make burdock root tea with 2 to 6 g of burdock root steeped in approximately 2 cups of water, and drink this three times daily, recommends the University of Maryland Medical Center. Burdock root has been shown to be effective in treating symptoms of eczema, acne and psoriasis (3).


Choosing Your Best Tea for Eczema

If you consider drinking tea for eczema, we also advise to look after the potential side effects of tea. As said, green tea contains the most tea polyphenols that can fight the inflammation that cases eczema. However, because green tea is the most ‘raw’ kind of tea, it can upset the stomach of some people. To avoid such side effects it’s better to drink green tea about 30 min after meals. If your stomach doesn’t feel good, then switch to an oolong or black tea. Though in lesser amount, they still contain loads of tea polyphenols (1).

Another worry could be caffeine. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, then only drink tea after your breakfast and lunch. If skipping the afternoon session still isn’t enough to avoid sleepless nights, you should switch to caffeine free Chrysanthemum flower teas.AdobeStock_190389701.jpeg



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What teas can help me with my autoimmune disorder?

Autoimmune disorders are very difficult to live with. With an autoimmune disorder, the body basically attacks its own cells and organs because it sees them as invading pathogens. Disorders such as Celiac disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, and Rheumatoid arthritis are all autoimmune, and they all have one thing in common: inflammation.

When the body attacks itself, it causes a lot of swelling around the part that is being attacked. This swelling is very painful, and it can be both debilitating and immobilizing. Countering the inflammation is the key to reducing pain, so here are a few teas to help you with the swelling caused by your autoimmune disorder:


Green Tea

A study conducted at the Oregon State University found that green tea can help to fight autoimmune disorders. Green tea contains EGCG, a polyphenol that provides dozens of other health benefits. ECGC can influence your immune system, to a certain extent preventing it from attacking your own cells. It can reduce the severity of the autoimmune disorder, though there is no known cure.


Rosehip Tea

Chronic pain can often be caused by inflammatory foods like white sugar, white flour, and artificial foods. Preventing the inflammation is possible thanks to the Vitamin C is rosehip tea, which helps to boost your immune health.


Eucalyptus Tea

The oil of the eucalyptus leaf contains a nutrient called eucalyptol, which has been found to reduce congestion in the lungs and inflammation in the body. Drinking eucalyptus tea will be a good way to get a low dose of this useful nutrient, which will reduce the swelling caused by your autoimmune disorder.


Ginger Tea

Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory root, as it contains zingerone, an antioxidant that can help to reduce swelling in your throat and lungs. You can drink a cup or two of ginger tea, and you’ll find that it can help to relax your muscles and reduce the swelling in your body.

fresh turmeric roots on wooden table

Tumeric Tea

You may not want to make a tea with only turmeric, as the bright yellow root has a very strong flavor. However, our Stimulating Tea contains the root, which has been used for centuries by Ayurvedic healers to deal with autoimmune disorders. Thanks to the curcumin in the root, you can reduce the inflammation and pain caused by your arthritis, tendonitis, and other autoimmune disorders.


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Always consult your physician before beginning any herbal treatment program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate treatment plan.


Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis: Effects on Digestion & Diet

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The real work of digestion goes on in the small intestine, which lies just beyond the stomach. In the small intestine, digestive juices from both the liver (termed bile) and the pancreas mix with food. This mixing is powered by the churning action of the intestinal muscle wall. After digested food is broken down into small molecules, it is absorbed through the surface of the small intestine and distributed to the rest of the body by the blood stream. Watery food residue and secretions that are not digested in the small intestine pass on into the large intestine (the colon). The colon reabsorbs much of the water added to food in the small intestine. This is a kind of water conservation or recycling mechanism.

Solid, undigested food residue is then passed from the large intestine as a bowel movement.

When the small intestine is inflamed—as it often is with Crohn’s disease—the intestine becomes less able to digest and absorb food nutrients fully. Such nutrients, as well as unabsorbed bile salts, can escape into the large intestine to varying degrees, depending on how extensively and how severely the small intestine has been injured by inflammation. This is one reason why people with Crohn’s disease become malnourished, in addition to just not having much appetite. Furthermore, incompletely digested foods that travel through the large intestine interfere with water conservation, even if the colon itself is not damaged. Thus, when Crohn’s disease affects the small intestine, it may cause diarrhea as well as malnutrition. Should the large intestine also be inflamed, the diarrhea is likely to be worse. In ulcerative colitis, only the colon is inflamed; the small intestine works normally. Because the inflamed colon does not recycle water properly, diarrhea can be severe.


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Dietary recommendations for people with IBD must be individualized: They depend on which disease you have and what part of your intestine is affected. Many people have food intolerances— far more than really have true food allergies. One of the more common intolerances, lactose intolerance, is the inability to digest lactose (milk sugar), which is related to genetic tendencies and to small bowel function. Elimination tests are better at diagnosing which foods must be avoided or modified than the standard allergy skin or blood testing. Many good books discuss the proper way to follow such an “elimination diet,” which involves keeping a food and symptom diary over several weeks.

About two thirds of people with small bowel Crohn’s disease develop a marked narrowing (or stricture) of the lower small intestine, the ileum. For these patients, a low-fiber with low residue diet (see below) or a special liquid diet may be beneficial in minimizing abdominal pain and other symptoms. Often, these dietary modifications are temporary; the patient follows them until the inflammation that caused the narrowing responds either to treatment or to a corrective surgery. Individual experience, sometimes with the guidance of a registered dietitian, remains the single most useful guide to selection of foods for any person with IBD.


This diet minimizes the consumption of foods that add “scrapy” residue to the stool. These include raw fruits, vegetables, and seeds, as well as nuts and corn hulls. The registered dietitian associated with your IBD treatment program can assist you in devising such a diet when appropriate.


Yes, vitally so. IBD patients, especially people with Crohn’s disease, are prone to becoming malnourished for several reasons. First, the appetite is often reduced. Second, chronic diseases tend to increase the energy (calorie) needs of the body. This is especially the case when IBD is “flaring up. ”Third, IBD, particularly

Crohn’s disease is often associated with maldigestion and malabsorption of dietary protein, fat, carbohydrates, water, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Thus, much of what one eats may never truly get into the body. On the other hand, good nutrition is one of the assets the body uses to restore itself to health. Therefore, the tendency to become malnourished must be resisted. Restoration and maintenance of good nutrition is a key principle in the management of IBD.

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An appropriate diet should contain a variety of foods from all food groups. Meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products, if tolerated, are sources of protein; bread, cereal, starches, fruits, and vegetables are sources of carbohydrate; margarine and oils are sources of fat. Your physician and the registered dietitian with whom he or she is associated can help you with meal planning. Generally, if the colon is inflamed, avoiding scrappy foods such as nuts, corn hulls, and raw vegetables is advised until some healing has occurred.


Some people cannot properly digest lactose, the sugar present in milk and many milk products, regardless of whether they have IBD. This may occur because the inner surface of the small intestine lacks a digestive enzyme, called lactase. Poor lactose digestion may lead to cramps, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and bloating. Because symptoms of lactose intolerance may be very similar to the symptoms of IBD, recognizing lactose intolerance may be difficult.

A simple “lactose tolerance test” can be performed to identify the problem. If there is any question, milk ingestion may be limited. Alternatively, lactase supplements may be added to many dairy products, so that they no longer cause symptoms. Your registered dietitian may assist you and/or your child with this. It is desirable to maintain intake of at least some dairy products, because they are such a good source of nutrition, in particular calcium and protein.

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No. Although some people do have allergic reactions to certain foods, neither Crohn’s disease nor ulcerative colitis is related to food allergy. People with IBD may think they are allergic to foods because they associate the symptoms of IBD with eating.


Most often, yes. Patients with inflammation only in the large intestine absorb food normally. People with Crohn’s disease may have problems with digestion if their disease involves the small intestine. The degree to which digestion is impaired depends on how much of the small intestine is diseased and whether any intestine has been removed during surgery. If only the last foot or two of the ileum is inflamed, the absorption of all nutrients except vitamin B-12 will probably be normal. If more than two or three feet of ileum is diseased, significant malabsorption of fat may occur. If the upper small intestine is also inflamed, the degree of malabsorption in Crohn’s disease is apt to be much worse, and deficiencies of many nutrients, minerals, and more vitamins are likely. Some

IBD therapies, especially the 5-ASA medications (e.g., Asacol,® Canasa,® Colazal,® Dipentum,® Pentasa® and Rowasa®), cause interference with the absorption of folate, so this vitamin, so essential in preventing cancer and birth defects, should be supplemented.


Vitamin B-12 is absorbed in the lower ileum. Therefore, persons with ileitis (Crohn’s disease that affects the ileum) may require injections of vitamin B-12, because they cannot absorb enough from their diet. If you are on a low-fiber diet, you may be receiving an inadequate supply of certain vitamins common in fruits, such as vitamin C. In the setting of chronic IBD, it is worthwhile for most persons to take a multivitamin preparation regularly. If you suffer from maldigestion or have undergone intestinal surgery, other vitamins, particularly vitamin D, may be required. Vitamin D supplementation should be in the range of 800 U/day, especially in the non-sunny areas of the country, and calcium intake should be emphasized, with calcium citrate for those older or on acid reducing medications. Steroid use and Crohn’s disease itself are linked to bone thinning and osteoporosis, so screening with bone density studies is suggested for those at risk.

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In most IBD patients, there is no obvious lack of minerals. However, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium supplements may prove necessary in people who have extensive small intestinal disease or who have had substantial lengths of intestine removed through surgery. Iron therapy is helpful to correct anemia. Oral iron turns the stools black, which can sometimes simulate intestinal bleeding.


Yes. In a condition with chronic diarrhea, there may be a risk of dehydration. If fluid intake does not keep up with diarrhea, kidney function may be affected. Patients with Crohn’s and other diarrheal diseases have an increased incidence of kidney stones, which is related to this problem. Furthermore, dehydration and salt loss create a feeling of weakness. For these reasons, people with IBD should consume ample fluids, especially in warm weather when skin losses of salt and water may be high.


In young people with IBD whose IBD began before puberty, growth may be retarded. Poor food intake may contribute to poor growth. Thus, good nutritional habits and adequate caloric intake are very important. Control of the disease with drugs or, less often, surgical removal of a particularly diseased region of intestine, is most successful when appropriate dietary intake is maintained.


Because IBD, especially Crohn’s disease, may improve with nutritional support, enteral nutrition (a nutrient-rich liquid formula) or tube feeding may be necessary. Due to its taste, enteral nutrition is given overnight through a tube, most commonly from the nose to the stomach. Patients are taught to pass a tube each night, so that they can receive nutrition while sleeping. In the morning, they remove the tube and go about their normal activity. In this way, patients receive all the nutrition they need and are free to eat normally—or not—throughout the day. Enteral feedings can also be given through a gastrostomy tube (G-tube). This is a tube located on the abdominal wall that goes directly into the stomach. The feedings are most commonly given overnight, but they can also be given intermittently throughout the day Parenteral nutrition (nutrition delivered through a catheter placed into a large blood vessel, usually one in the chest) is rarely needed. Parenteral nutrition has more complications than enteral nutrition and does not nourish the gastrointestinal tract itself.


Eating to help the gut heal itself is one of the new concepts, and numerous experimental studies are being conducted in this area.  Probiotics are just beginning to be appreciated as a therapeutic aid in IBD. These are “good” bacteria that restore balance to the enteric microflora—bacteria that live in everybody’s intestine. Lactobacillus preparations and live-culture yogurt can be very helpful in aiding recovery of the intestine. There is much work being done in the use of diet and supplements to aid in the healing of IBD and much more to be learned.

In summary, while there is no evidence that diet and nutrition play a role in causing IBD, maintaining a well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients can help you to live a healthier life. Proper nutrition depends, in large part, on whether you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and what part of your intestine is affected. It’s important to talk to your doctor. It also can be helpful to ask your physician to recommend a dietitian in order to develop a diet that works for you.

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Research is a vital part of developing new treatments and cures for autoimmune disorders. Plasma Med Research is currently looking for those with Crohn’s and UC to donate a small blood sample that will contribute to medical research.

If you, or someone you know is interested in participating, please reach out to us on Facebook, or at















Reprinted from:  Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Resources


Norovirus & the Olympics: What to Know

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The bug began Sunday amongst a group of security guards staying at the youth training center in Pyeongchang. Nervous organizers have since quarantined at least 1,200 Olympics staffers as a precaution. And South Korean officials deployed roughly 900 military personnel to help with the security shortage. So far, no athletes have been infected. But officials are on high alert, as some of the security workers showing symptoms reportedly worked at the athletes’ villages.

In light of the norovirus, here’s what you need to know.

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What is the norovirus?

The norovirus is also referred to as the “winter vomiting bug,” Lee-Ann Jaykus, the scientific director for NoroCORE, a food safety initiative that’s funded through a $25 million grant from the USDA, told Fox News.

And it’s common: roughly 21 million Americans get the virus each year, according to the CDC.

The norovirus is consumed through the mouth, reaches a person’s gastrointestinal tract and inflames the stomach or intestines, or both. As a result, the virus causes nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea, which leads to dehydration. It can also cause fever, headaches and body aches.

While the symptoms can be severe, most people recover within days.

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How does it spread?

The norovirus, which has different strains, can spread easily — especially in close spaces, Jaykus said.

A common way the virus is transmitted is through close contact with an infected person. This is either directly or indirectly; such as sharing a bathroom, a dorm room or another communal space. Cruise ships, schools and nursing homes “are the most commonly reported settings for norovirus outbreaks,” the CDC says.

More specifically, however, the virus spreads through fecal matter and vomit.

When an infected person vomits or defecates, “massive amounts [of the virus] are excreted,” Jaykus explained. “There are millions to billions of particles in one just one gram.”

“It only takes a few virus particles to make people sick,” she added.

The virus also spreads through food and contaminated water.

Food handlers who are sick and don’t practice adequate hygiene can easily infect other people. Infected water can also spread the illness, though this more commonly occurs in developing countries, Jaykus noted.

How do you prevent it?

Unlike the flu and other illnesses, there is no vaccine to prevent norovirus.

“Hand washing is hugely important. In fact, it’s the single most important thing for people attending Olympics.”– Lee-Ann Jaykus

Keeping your hands washed and thoroughly cleaning contaminated surfaces is key to prevent the spread of infection.

“Hand washing is hugely important,” Jaykus said. “In fact, it’s the single most important thing for people attending Olympics,” she said.

The norovirus is extremely hard to kill, Jaykus warned. Inactivating the virus requires a high concentration of bleach. And while it’s easy enough to clean countertops and other similar surfaces with bleach, the same can’t be said for carpet and furniture. Alcohol isn’t strong enough to entirely kill the virus either, Jaykus added.

“The norovirus can be spread for weeks,” said Jaykus, who added that quarantining infected people can also be useful in preventing the spread of norovirus.

How did the norovirus spread at the Winter Olympics?

The short answer: no one is sure.

Health officials in South Korea said that a preliminary five-day survey of water for cooking and drinking has come up negative for norovirus. Restaurants and all food facilities linked to the Olympics will also be inspected.

“This is really scary for the athletes — if you have norovirus you really are incapacitated,” said Jaykus, though no athletes have reported having symptoms of the virus.

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Targeted Treatments: Updates in Finding the Cure for Inflammatory Diseases

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Inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis have been linked to faults in a critical immune pathway that enables inflammation to continue unchecked.

Researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, have shed new light on how this immune response is controlled, and hope it could lead to new drugs for people with these chronic diseases.

A NOD to Inflammatory Diseases

Mr Che Stafford, Dr Ueli Nachbur, Professor John Silke and colleagues at the Institute led the research, which was published today in Cell Reports. The critical immune pathway in question is the NOD2 pathway, which detects and responds to bacterial invaders by releasing inflammatory signals to fight the infection.

Inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory skin diseases have been linked to faults in how the NOD2 pathway is regulated.

Dr.Nachbur said faults in how the NOD2 pathway was controlled could enable the cell to continue to cause inflammation long after the bacterial threat has passed, leading to chronic inflammatory diseases.

“Inflammation occurs when our immune cells release inflammatory messengers, or cytokines, which is a normal response to disease. However when too many cytokines are produced, inflammation can get out-of-control and damage our own body – a hallmark of inflammatory diseases,” Dr Nachbur said.

Inflammatory ‘controllers’ identified

Mr.Stafford said the research team showed that a protein called xIAP was the ‘master controller’ that initiated inflammation via the NOD2 pathway.

“We revealed that xIAP was the key to initiating the inflammatory response in these cells,” Mr Stafford said. “We also showed that, once the NOD2 pathway trigger is initiated, the cells need a second, amplifying step to complete a full-strength immune response.”

Knowing the key players in the entire NOD2 pathway, from initiators to enhancers, would pave the way for new strategies to treat inflammatory diseases, Mr Stafford said.

“Targeting key components of the NOD2 pathway shows promise as a way of switching off ongoing inflammation associated with diseases such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. In 2015 our research team showed that blocking a different protein in the NOD2 pathway could halt inflammation and was able to halt the progression of multiple sclerosis in a preclinical model. So, it is very exciting to identify other potential targets for treating these diseases,” he said.

Need for Targeted Treatments & Donors’ Help

Clarifying how the NOD2 pathway was regulated on a molecular level was important for developing new treatments for inflammatory diseases, Dr Nachbur said.

“Chronic inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis have a very significant impact to people’s lives and new, targeted treatments are urgently needed. xIAP has other roles in the cell, such as regulation of cell death, so it is a tricky target for treating inflammatory diseases. However these new discoveries provide us with vital information to develop new treatment strategies that could lead to a safe and effective way of switching off inflammation for treating disease,” Dr Nachbur said.

If you have an inflammatory disease, or know someone who does, your donations are why discoveries like Dr. Nachbur’s have become possible. To find out more about participating in research, visit our website and reach out to us at


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