Monday, September 14, 2015


One of my favorite tweets that came out of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology conference this year. It arose as a reaction to an abstract  with a negative result. That is, the placebo group improved more than the treatment group. People often don't publish their results when they are negative, so this took a certain amount of courage (and is how science should proceed). The conclusion form the study is: "FAHF-2 is a safe herbal medication for food allergic individuals and shows favorable in vitro immunomodulatory effects; however, efficacy for improving tolerance to food allergens is not demonstrated at the dose and duration used." Emphasis is mine.

A theme in "curing" food allergies is that researchers are skilled at curing mice. It's the (murine to human) jump that can be a hurdle. But why?

Mice are controllable

Everyday, the mice in these studies all eat the same food. They don't go out with friends and get sick. They never miss a dose. Their stress level is controlled. As is their exposures allergens, both food and environmental. But, we are dosing a person with all the unpredictability that implies.

James's Record

As a person goes, James is compliant. He hardly ever misses a dose. He complains vehemently about the cream, but still applies it twice a day. But, other factors still come into play.


James is a perfectionist and puts himself under a vast amount of stress. In theory, I could lower his stress exposure, but the cost would be his maturing as a person.


Almost all of our meals are local and organic, but James loves snacks and pretty much snacks as a normal teenager (chips, candy, etc). 


We have one. There are times when pills get forgotten, when he gets home late and puts on his cream without a shower, or has to be somewhere early and misses his bath.

Keeping up enthusiasm

Reviewing his progress

One of the benefits of going to NYC this summer was reviewing his improvements since he has started treatment. We were moving day to day and not taking time to reflect.

Not having hives anymore has also been a huge boost. He has a daily reminder, physically, that the treatment is working.

Sharing others progress

When people share their results in the CHA FB group, I share with him. I did this prior to him starting treatment as well. His own blood work won't be for another month, so hearing about others improving boosts his morale.

Not making a big deal

At fist, it seemed huge, insurmountable really as the number of pills he was taking kept going up. But now, it is routine. I tell him if he's had a change in protocol, but don't focus on it being hard or too much. It just is.

Whatever your treatment, have you had compliance issues? And how did (or do you) deal with them?

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