December 2013

Alternative Medications

One in two adults takes a vitamin pill. Over half of the patients that we see are on some "alternative medication" - minerals, vitamins, etc. According to a recent article in the New York Times, alternative medications have sales in this country of over $30 billion dollars a year. It is largely an unregulated industry, and a New York Times op ed noted that these medications have been found to be contaminated with arsenic, other toxic metals, and even androgenic steroids. 

Statins and Asthma

Statins are a class of medications widely used to lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Recent studies have found that they also have beneficial effects on the immune system, and in fact adults with asthma on statins have less emergency visits for asthma, and lower needs for oral corticosteroids to treat asthma flares.  

Food Allergy Risks

A significant problem for parents with young children with food allergies is assessing the relative risks. In all cases, food allergy must be taken seriously by everyone involved - the child, parents, relatives, and all caretakers. However over concern can create other problems, so a perspective is needed. The following risk assessments may be helpful.

Is Coconut a Fruit or a Nut?

One of the most common questions we are asked by patients with tree nut allergy is whether coconut is a fruit or a nut.  Unfortunately, the answer is a little complicated.  Botanically, the coconut is classified as a fruit--more specifically, it is a drupe.  Drupes are more commonly called stone fruits.  Other stone fruits include peaches and nectarines; blackberries and raspberries are drupes comprised of aggregates of drupelets.  The United States Food and Drug Administration consider coconuts to be a tree nut.  The federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requi