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Briefs: Global warming may worsen ragweed allergies

Global warming may worsen ragweed season

You may be surprised to know that ragweed season has an official beginning date, Aug. 15. But if you're among the estimated 36-million Americans who suffer from ragweed allergy, the primary cause of fall allergy symptoms, your nose and eyes are aware of the phenomenon. Now the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports such allergies may be getting worse because of global warming. Studies suggest that increasing temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are causing longer ragweed seasons and pollen production increases from 61 to 90 percent in some ragweed varieties.

Inhaler change will require new scrip

It is estimated that nearly 11 percent of children have asthma. Annually, school-age children miss nearly 13-million days in the classroom because of the illness, according to the American Lung Association. That organization is reminding parents that manufacturers are phasing out a common type of inhaler, often called a CFC inhaler. By Dec. 31, they will be replaced by the HFA inhaler, which the FDA has found to be just as effective as the CFC and does not contain ozone-depleting chemicals found in CFC inhalers. "Your pharmacy won't be able to simply substitute the new HFA inhaler,'' cautions Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the Lung Association. "Your child's doctor will need to write a new prescription."

Eggs top bagels in weight-loss test

A study this month reports that eating two eggs for breakfast, as part of a reduced-calorie diet, helps overweight adults lose up to 65 percent more weight and feel more energetic than do adults who eat a bagel breakfast of equal calories. Said Dr. Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, associate professor in the laboratory of obesity in the Louisiana state university system: "Apparently, the increased satiety and energy due to eggs helps people better comply with a reduced-calorie diet."

Spices may inhibit blood sugar harm

Herbs and spices, rich in antioxidants, are also likely inhibitors of tissue damage and inflammation caused by high levels of blood sugar. Researchers tested extracts from 24 herbs and spices. In addition to finding high levels of antioxidant-rich compounds known as phenols, they found a correlation between phenol content and the ability of the extracts to block the formation of compounds contributing to damage caused by diabetes and aging. Spices such as cloves and cinnamon had phenol levels of 30 percent and 18 percent of dry weight, respectively, while oregano and sage were 8 and 6 percent phenol by dry weight, respectively. Blueberries contain roughly 5 percent phenol.

Compiled from Times staff, wires

Briefs: Global warming may worsen ragweed allergies 08/18/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2008 4:37pm]

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