29 July 2012

Bronchial Thermoplasty VIDEO of NEW Treatment for Severe Asthma

Bronchial Thermoplasty is a new treatment for severe asthma offered in the U.S and Europe. My mother-in-law Judy Kassees was successfully treated last summer. It has vastly improved the quality of her life! Prior to this treatment she could not breathe.
She was depressed, miserable, scared and became "kind of a hermit". 
She thought it was easier to die than try to breathe.
Judy says "It was a miserable way of life"

Living with asthma can be scary. Grandmother Judy had been diabled by her severe asthma.
I am writing about this treatment to help others with severe asthma like Judy and because I have two sons with asthma.
My oldest son Alexander is also allergic to peanuts and the reason I write this blog about a new treatment for people with food allergies to peanuts, milk, egg, wheat, tree nuts or soy. 

Although my sons' asthma is not as severe Judy's we are well acquainted with its effects. The asthma was worse when the boys were small yet sadly Alexander and his brother Dylan have diminished lung capacity.

This treatment was very successful in my mother-in-law.
Now Judy only occasionally has a little bit of asthma. She has no more asthma attacks.
Her airways don't close up anymore. She says it is a miracle.

This is my understanding of this innovative treatment from Boston Scientific: "The Alair® Bronchial Thermoplasty System developed by Asthmatx was approved by the FDA on April 27, 2010 for the treatment of severe persistent asthma in patients 18 years and older whose asthma is not well controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta agonists"according to their website.*

Bronchial Thermoplasty uses radiofrequency energy that delivers heat through a small catheter placed in a bronchoscope. The bronchoscope is placed down into the airways.
Procedure Animation

"In the lungs "controlled thermal energy is delivered to the airway wall to reduce the amount of airway smooth muscle and lessen these muscles’ ability to narrow the airway, 
thereby reducing symptoms in patients with severe asthma." *

Thinner walls/ less muscles = reduced airway constriction which results in better airflow. 

The video below states "treatment helps adult patients with severe asthma achieve better control of their asthma symptoms for years rather than hours which was all that could be expected with medications alone."

Gary Weinstein, MD a pulmonologist at Southwest Pulmonary Associates of Dallas describes the treatment on the video below. 
The outpatient treatment is done in 3 sessions. The sessions are scheduled 3 weeks apart.
Session 1-  Right Lower Lobe treated 
Session 2 - Left Lower Lobe 
Session 3 - Both Upper Lobes

Watch this video which includes my mother in law describing her situation
and how she feels today.
This unique and innovative treatment was life changing for Judy.

Please share this blog post to anyone you know with asthma or severe asthma.  You may be saving their life.

Judy thanks Dr. Suneel Kumar, MD of Southwest Pulmonary Asso. and Boston Scientific for the Bronchial Thermoplasty. She was the first patient in Texas to undergo this treatment. At that time the procedure was only performed in 2 places in Texas. This procedure was performed in Europe for 5 years prior to FDA approval. 

According to the Center for Disease Control 22 million people in the U.S. have asthma.  Of those people 10-15% have severe asthma. Approximately 3500 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to asthma.

Please know I am not a doctor. Don't rely on the information in this post. I have zero medical training. I am just sharing this information to tell Judy's story. Talk to your doctor to learn more about it.
I hope this post helps you or someone you love.

To God be the Glory!- Julie


For further information from Boston Scientific see their website Bronchial Thermoplasty

Treatment Locations for Bronchial Thermoplasty:

United States
Since last summer many doctors have received training the this procedure.
My research indicates that it is now available in 42 states. 
Insurance- note- not all insurance companies will pay for this treatment, perhaps because it is new. 

Gary Weinstein,MD and Suneel Kumar, MD at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
Victor M. Gomez, MD or Allan Shulkin, MD at Medical City Dallas

Joseph Varon, MD at University General Hospital

Timothy A. Connolly, MD and Lisa M. Kopas, MD and Clinton Doerr, MD
J. Fernando Santacruz, MD - all at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital

San Antonio
Michael Wooley, MD at Methodist Hospital
Jairo Mello, MD

New York City 
Arthur Sung, MD at Beth Israel 
William Bulman, MD at New York Presbyterian- Columbia  

Denver at National Jewish

U.C Davis Medical Center
St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach
Palo Alto Medical Foundation - Ganesh Krishna, MD

South Miami Hospital, Rodney Benjamin, MD and Jacky Blank, MD
Orlando Regional Medical, Mark A. Vollenweider, MD
Baptist Hospital of Miami,  Raul R. Valor, MD
Memorial Hospital of Tampa, Adam Katz, MD and Imran Khan, MD
Shands Hospital at University of Florida in Gainesville,  Michael Jantz, MD

D. Kyle Hogarth, MD at University of Chicago Medical Center
Kevin Kovitz, MD at Central DuPage Hostpial

David Wilson, MD at Columbus Regional Hospital Lung Institute

International Locations:

Canada- Gerard Cox, MB and John D. Miller, MD at St. Joseph's
Michel Laviolette, MD in Quebec

UK - United Kingdom
Robert Niven, MD in Manchester
Bernard Higgins, MD in High Heaton, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Germany  Prof. Felix Herth, MD in Heidelberg

Stefano Gasparini, MD in Ancona
Dardes Nicola, MD in Rome at Rome American Hospital

Czech Republic - Jiri Votruba,MD

Hans Christian Siersted, MD in Odense at Odense University Hospital

1- the Video above
2- * Brochial Thermoplasty website -link shown above

18 July 2012

Peanut Allergy Treatment plus Milk, Egg, Wheat, Cashew Allergies: All Successfully Treated

Peanut allergy, milk allergy and other food allergies can now be successfully treated!
Dr. Richard Wasserman at Dallas Allergy Immunology (DAI) has been providing Food Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) since 2008 for people allergic to peanuts, milk and eggs.
Over time the OIT program has expanded to treat wheat, tree nut and soy allergies.

My son Alexander has been successfully desensitized to peanuts. This blog documents every phase of his treatment.
Alexander "graduated" in 2011 and eats a maintenance dose of 8 peanuts per day.

According to the DAI Quarterly Newsletter published July 2012:
"DAI has a number of children who have graduated from our Food OIT program and are now eating eggs, peanuts, cashews, pecans and wheat or drinking milk without reactions"

"This program is designed for a child of school age or older who will be old enough to understand the reasons for participating and be actively engaged in the process."

Below are the current Oral Immunotherapy treatment statistics from DAI's June newsletter.
Patients who have graduated or "completed" the program are considered desensitized to their particular food allergy.

"From 2008 to present:
27 complete, 3 active

39 complete, 16 active

81 complete, 26 active

1 complete, 1 active

3 complete 0 active

0 complete, 1 active"

This program has provided Alexander both physical and mental relief. Allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and a few other foods can be deadly. Food allergies in general can be very debilitating.

For more information see:
Peanut Allergic Teenager Eats a Peanut

Milk Allergy Treatment 

Peanut and Food Allergy Testing Results for Alexander Over the Years

Precise Dose for Peanut Oral Immunotherapy Treatment

Peanut Allergic Teen Officially Desensitized to Peanuts

06 April 2012

Peanut Allergy ALERT on Odawalla product -Tree Nut Allergy Alert for Odawalla product

Odwalla, Inc. is recalling Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monster beverage in 12-oz and 32-oz bottles, with “enjoy by” dates prior to and including 23 MAY 2012,

The recall is due to reports from Consumers allergic to peanuts and/or tree nuts experiencing severe allergic reactions after consuming this beverage
People with an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts and/or tree nuts may run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product according to the alert issue by FAAN.

I have never posted an Alert before,however; this product is widely consumed in the United States! Please tweet, share on FACEBOOK or otherwise forward to your peanut and tree nut allergic friends, support groups or organizations.

I pray this post helps someone from consuming this beverage.

Here is a link to the Alert that was just issued by FAAN.


12 March 2012

Peanut Allergy Patch

Is there a Skin Patch for Peanut Allergies? Wouldn't that be grand. Something like a medicine skin patch for sea sickness. It is not so far fetched as you might think.

The good news is that two French pediatricians have developed a skin patch for peanut allergy.
Dr. Pierre-Henri Benhamou told the Daily Mail: "We envisage that the patch would be worn daily for several years and would slowly reduce the severity of accidental exposure to peanuts. " 'The beauty of the patch is that it is absorbed just under the skin and is taken up by the immune system."
"But because it doesn't go directly into the bloodstream there is no risk of a severe reaction.”

The doctor also stated he and his colleague have already conducted a few safety trials. Their next steps will be to conduct trials to establish the size of the dose needed and the amount of time the patch would need to be worn. Read more at Mail Online

In June 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an application that allowed DBV Technologies, a private French company that specializes in food allergies, to begin conducting clinical trials on a new “Peanut patch” called Viaskin. 
Researchers at National Jewish Health are also testing the peanut patch with hopes that clinical trials will commence.

The peanut patch would work in a similar way to the Oral Immunotherapy treatment (OIT) used to desensitize my son Alexander to his peanut allergy. 
Yes my son is desensitized and doing well.  
His entire treatment journey is explained in detail on my blog Just A Little Peanut.
See my posts "Peanut,Milk, Egg Allergy Treatment Explained" and Peanut Allergic Teen Desensitized to Peanuts:Progress ReportYou can follow us on TWITTER http://twitter.com/PeanutBlog
For updates and the latest information can subscribe by Email to this blog- top right section

How does a medicine skin patch work? 
A patch is placed on your skin like a bandaid. The patch contains medicine which is slowly absorbed through the skin. How convenient!
The peanut patch slowly releases minute doses of peanut oil under the skin. The amounts are increased over time to hopefully desensitize the patient the allergy.

Alexander my peanut allergy teen recently used a medicine patch on his knee, prescribed by his phyical therapist.
An increasing number of medicines are now available in the convenient form of a patch. Medicine patches are currently being used to treat the following ailments:
Anti-inflammatories. Pain, Nicotine, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Anti-depressants, Sea Sickness, Alzheimers, Parkinsons (and many more).

If the peanut patch clinical trials prove safe and viable, it is unknown how long it will take before the patch is available for patients. I suspect this type of immunotherapy might be the wave of the future.

Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1392034/Doctors-invent-patch-cure-deadly-peanut-allergy.html
Physorg.com http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-peanut-allergy-patch.html

11 March 2012

AFRICA Kony Atrocities and Links to Ways You Can HELP THE VICTIMS

This post is a departure from my usual Peanut Treatment topic but I thought it important to allow my readers across the globe (in over 83 countries) to read this post from my other blog- "Salt and Light". Let us all help those in need. 
I share this with you with the hope that something good may result from this post.

Atrocity for 25 years -You Can HELP the Victims of suffering and injustice.
Africa has experienced years of atrocity and tragedy in countries such as Biafra, Congo, Sudan and Rwanda to name but a few. Acts of genocide,tribal warfare, kidnapping, slavery, political violence and injustice have been common in Africa for decades. This is not new information. 
Now is your chance to help. Africa has not been the only place to suffer such horrors but it is the focus of this article.
HELPING the victims is the purpose of this post.

Children and families in Uganda and Central Africa have been terrorized for years by Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). (See the Video below).
The group is responsible for murder,mutilations, massacres, kidnapping of children to serve as soldiers or sex slaves and the displacement of up to 2 million people in Uganda in neighboring areas. Unimaginable crimes. His tactics brutal,using machetes and clubs regularly and forcing children to kill their own families. 

A new video documentary,"Kony 2012",made by Invisible Children,Inc. is part of a campaign raise awareness of Kony and his LRA. It highlights his crimes in an effort to create a public outcry and increase the chances Kony is finally brought to justice. The International Criminal Court has already indicted Kony and LRA leaders for crimes against humanity. 
Kony has not operated in Uganda since 2006 (see below-"Uganda Today"). His LRA has dwindled in size to around 200 according to various reports yet he continues to conduct raids in Congo,Central African Republic and Southern Sudan in order to survive.
The pain and suffering Kony has wrought is real and ongoing. People physically and psycologically devastated. He needs to be brought to justice.
The capture of Kony is another issue. This is a complicated subject.(See "Capture" below) 

YouTube, Twitter and other social media, perfect tools for such a campaign, have already been used to spread the message a wide audience. (Please share this post).

WAYS YOU CAN HELP the Victims 
Please open your heart and help bring healing,love and hope to victims still suffering and those trying to recover from great pain and loss. 
Genesis 1:27 We are all made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with love. 
We sponsor two orphans from Uganda. 
One is a young boy in Gulu,Uganda who was a victim of the LRA. He was abducted to serve as a child soldier. By the grace of God he escaped.Consider Orphan Sponsorship below.
The stories from Uganda are not new to me 
and although my family has supported many of the charities working in Uganda and Central Africa listed below I have not done enough to spread the word. 
Please share this blog post on Facebook and Twitter so your friends may have the opportunity to make a difference.

"and let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds"   Hebrews 10:24. "keep on loving each other as brothers" Hebrews 13:1

If you would like to read more posts like this one click here for my Salt and Light blog.  You can "subscribe by Email" box in the upper right corner.

Links to Organizations that HELP 
ALARM,Inc -Donate , What We Do  African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministry -
I highly recommend them. I have met the founder. Their work is life changing.

Empower African ChildrenDonate I know the founder personally. Their work in Uganda is life changing. We sponsor an Orphan from Uganda that is now studying in the U.S.
They have several initiatives such as Holistic Care for Children

Every Child Ministries  In Africa- offering hope for child slaves, street children and forgotten children. Take time to explore their website. Learn more about their work and numerous projects. 
Click here to Donate to their Uganda project and read more about the child tragedy in Uganda.

Samaritan's Purse - WorldwideDonate to Uganda PROJECTS scroll on the left to UGANDA
Samaritan's Purse UK
Samaritan's Purse CANADA

Hope International- Micro-finance - Donate Rwanda,Burundi,Congo,DRC and 12 other countries

Hope for Kids International- UK
World Hope CANADA
Hope International Development Agency- CANADA

Orphan Sponsorship
Compassion InternationalSponsor a Child
Every Child Ministries- sponsor an orphan in Uganda - Sponsor an orphan in Uganda or other vulnerable child

World Vision -sponsor a child in Uganda. We sponsor 2 orphans (Zambia & Uganda). Fantastic organization!
World Vision UK- 
World Vision CANADA
World Vision AUSTRALIA
World Vision GERMANY

I applaud the tireless work of the 3 American videographers of Invisible Children. 
Visit the website. They have a passion for this cause. 
Compassion and love is evident
Four LRA-affected countries are involved in the "hunt" to capture Kony and his men. The effort includes the Ugandan army which does have a record of human rights abuses. In October of 2011 the  U.S. sent 100 soldiers to help in the effort. 
If you are considering a donation to Invisible Children you may want to do your own internet research on this entire topic. Click here for their financial statements. There will be opinions on all sides. 

Where is Kony now?  He is operating mainly in DRC,Central African Republic and Southern Sudan. According the LRA Crisis tracker in the past month the LRA has abducted 42 people and killed 2 peopleKony and his men may operate in small groups but their effect is still devastating. 
What if one of those kidnapped was your child.

Joseph Kony no longer operates in Uganda. His long running and brutal attempt to overthrow the Ugandan government failed. Northern Uganda has been free of Kony's violence since 2006. Gulu, once the center of the LRA activities, has not seen the rebels since that time. 
It is now a peaceful area. The region and its people are getting back to a more normal way of life and healing is slowly happening. Many Christian and humanitarian groups work in all the areas affected including surrounding countries. 
Uganda has suffered so much. Remember their former dictator Idi Amin? (read here)

"Seek justice, encourage the oppressed; defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow" 

"Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?"

(note- Southern Sudan,a new country in July 2011, has a refugee crisis and ongoing violence unrelated to Kony and is facing possible food shortages according the U.N -Feb 2012) 

12 January 2012

Peanut Allergic Teen Desensitized to Peanuts: Progress Report 9 Months Later

My son Alexander was desensitized to peanuts on April 12,2011. Today marks 9 months since this momentous occasion. What has happened during the last 9 months??
First let me provide a little background.
Alexander was diagnosed at 22 months old with an allergy to peanuts. He is now 16 years old.

When he tested positive for a peanut allergy I was aware that this allergy could be dangerous.
I was very surprised to be told there was no cure or allergy shot or any protocol to eliminate or reduce his allergy to peanut.
We were told to strictly avoid peanuts.
The doctor said that was "all we could do." This was hard to believe in this age of modern medicine.

So.... we avoided peanuts, peanut dust, peanut contaminate snacks, certain types of restaurants etc.
I read every food label and asked every restaurant if they had peanuts in "x" dish.
In those days, restaurants and fast food places did not care. There we no allergen statements on menus. They did not pay attention to cross-contamination. Schools were unconcerned and unprepared.
Perhaps someday I will write a post about it.

In order to protect my son, I prepared and sent "special snacks" to school and provided non-peanut snacks to the class on our snack days or birthdays. In addition Alexander was not allowed to eat any cookies or desserts served on a tray which meant parties, school events etc.

Not to mention the series of precautions and steps necessary for Alexander to fly on commercial airlines especially SW Airlines. For these of you with a peanut allergy, you know the drill!

All these efforts were successful. Alexander never had an allergic reaction or scare, even though he tested off the blood chart for his peanut allergy.
You may want to check out my post "Peanut and Food Allergy TESTING Results for Alexander Over the Years"
We never had to use an EpiPen!

By God's grace we learned of a program to desensitize my son to peanuts.

Thankfully this new and revolutionary treatment was offered in our hometown (and only 10 minutes from our house).

Click here to read my blog for all the details. You will find posts describing every aspect of Alexander's treatment by Dr. Wasserman and his fantastic staff.
Be sure to check out the "Helpful Links" on the right side of my blog.

Now 9 months after completing the treatment program and becoming officially desensitized to peanuts, I am happy to report Alexander has never had an allergic reaction to peanuts.
In fact he never had a reaction during the treatment program.
Alexander eats a "maintenance dose" of 8 peanuts every day, which I hope he continues as he gets older and makes his own decisions. 

Alexander loathes eating the peanuts but for the most part sticks to the rules thus far.
The taste of peanuts makes him want to choke.
He recently asked me "Mom what food do you truly hate and cannot choke down ever?"
My answer was asparagus.
Then he said "Imagine having to eat asparagus every night. Now you know what I have to go through"

I still remind him to takes his peanuts and then I rely on him to eat his maintenance dose.
He has missed doses.
Sometimes Alexander just does not want to choke them down!