Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Eczema Target Identified In New Study

People with eczema know how hard it can be to manage the unbearably itchy condition: Faithfully applying steroid creams and avoiding any and all irritants are just some of the lengths they have to go to.
But a new finding in mice from researchers at Boston Children's Hospital suggests there might be another treatment option in the future.
When a person has eczema, the skin feels itchy because the body's immune system is sending in T cells to provoke an allergic response. The researchers found that in addition to these T cells, another kind of immune cell -- called neutrophils -- also
promote the itching sensation. These neutrophils release a kind of lipid called leukotriene B4, which then spur more neutrophils, which then spur more leukotriene B4 .. and so on and so forth.
Researchers found that when they blocked leukotriene B4, it also stopped the T cells from coming to provoke the inflammation linked with the allergic response in eczema.
"Our findings suggest that neutrophils play a key role in allergic skin inflammation and that blockade of leukotriene B4 and its receptor might provide a new therapy for eczema," study researcher Dr. Michiko Oyoshi said in a statement. The new study is published in the journal Immunity
The exact cause of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is not known, though dry skin and immune system functioning could play a part, the Mayo Clinic explained.
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A classic sign of the stress response is shallow, crazy-fast breathing. That's why the opposite -- deep, slow breathing -- is such an effective way to calm yourself down. It can help you halt a stress reaction, or at least control it. Plus, it shifts the body's balance of carbon dioxide to oxygen in favor of energizing oxygen. (The integrity of the brain, nerves, glands and internal organs depend on oxygen, and in any shortage in supply will have a profound impact on the entire body, both inside and out.) Breathing goes far beyond just delivering life-sustaining oxygen to the body. Slow, controlled breathing in particular is the foundation for many Eastern practices that aim to return the body to a more balanced state, and one that has removed all signs of stress. When you're focusing on your breathing, you're not thinking about anything else. That shift in your mind helps remove stressors, bringing you to a deeper level of consciousness, a place where you can out things into perspective. More from QUIZ: How healthy is your skin? QUIZ: What's your eating style? QUIZ: Are you getting enough quality sleep?
The stress response preps your body to leap into action. But most of the time you need to stay calm. Exercise releases all the revved-up energy inside you so you actually can stay calm. Additionally, it boosts the activity of white blood cells, increasing levels of beta-endorphins, improving your mood and circulation, which is good for your skin. Beta-endorphins have immense anti-inflammatory benefits that fight your stress hormone cortisol. If there is one magic bullet for enhancing the quality of your looks, and your life in general, it's exercise. We've all heard the science: exercise fights the onset of age-related disease, lifts your spirits and sense of well-being, increases your lung capacity so you can take in more oxygen, boost circulation to deliver nutrients to cells and skin, lowers inflammation, and for many, is the ultimate stress reducer. That healthy glow you get after a great workout (rosy cheeks indicative of the increased circulation that is nourishing all of those facial cells and tissues) isn't just for show.
Stress makes most people hungry. When stress hits, cortisol tells our brains that we are hungry, so we seek out a meal. Unfortunately, cortisol's message to the brain also says that we want to eat sugary, fatty foods -- all of the wrong food for stopping the cycle. Rich, sugary foods don't do much for us besides contribute to insulin swings, poor blood-sugar balance, as well as extra pounds and worse moods. What's more, the usual culprits -- ice cream, cookies, etc. -- register in the brains reward center making us crave them even more. The following two strategies will reduce the magnetic pull of these foods. One, eat lots of lean protein -- this will give you more energy and fight hunger pangs, which can play games with your mood. Protein is key to mood stability, due to its effect on maintaining a healthy blood-sugar balance, which in turn keeps certain hormones like insulin in check. Two, write down the top five guilty treats you tend to reach for when you're stressed. Then, don't eliminate them entirely. However, when you do succumb, eat only half of what you normally would. (Or less: Sometimes a bite or two will satisfy you.)
If you feel buoyant and upbeat, you're far less likely to start clenching your jaw. Here's an easy way to raise your happiness quotient at home, as first recommended by Martin Seligman, Ph.D., the scientist who inspired psychologists to investigate happiness and positive emotions. Find a notebook or journal you particularly like. Every night, write down three things that went well that day and why. It also may help to keep a gratitude list -- things for which you are truly grateful. The point is to focus on the positive -- on the events, people and experiences that you appreciate and that bring you joy. The exercise may even inspire you to turn a negative into a positive just by reshaping your attitude. When you're stressed, it's easy to get caught up in thinking about what you're doing wrong. It's also very easy for the mind to exaggerate and distort the magnitude and significance of bad things that happen and the speed with which you need to remedy them. Transforming negative thoughts takes practice. You can start by keeping a journal that records the good things that happen. It will shift the focus to what you're doing right, and that can put a brake on the stressful, negative chatter that often goes on in your head.
Sleep is free cosmetic medicine. When people ask me what's the one thing that will make the biggest improvement in how a stressed-out person looks, I say sleep. Nothing exacerbates stress and a haggard appearance like exhaustion. As you may be able to attest from experience, sleep deprivation can make you cranky, depressed and negative. It can make you overeat, over-caffeinated and cause you to ditch workouts because you're too tired. Just about every system in the body (including your inner-beautification capabilities) is affected by the quality and amount of sleep you get each night!
For most people, life is so hyperscheduled, speedy and "on" that we never do absolutely nothing. It's rare to set aside time just to be -- no agenda, no demands, no plans. Find a comfortable, quiet spot to sit for ten to fifteen minutes every day, stop all of your hustling and bustling ... and simply be still by yourself. Slowing down in this way, if you do it every day, helps create a sense of spaciousness in your life, a break in the old routine that can open the door to new perceptions, new solutions to old problems and new possibilities. It gives your brain, your psyche, your whole being a break.
Sex can possibly make us happy, and great sex in a loving, intimate relationship can possibly make us happier. Soft, healthy skin is quite sexy on its own. But there is lots more than that going on here. For starters, sex is said to be one of the world's best stress releasers, which means it could double as a terrific skin treatment. When you're making love, all kinds of age-defying, beauty promoting events can possibly happen as three seductive hormones spill out of the brain: Beta-endorphine, a natural opiate that contributes to the high you feel, Prolactin, a chemical messenger that gives you the relaxing, tension-zapping, post-coital "ahhhhh" and Oxytocin that promotes feelings of affection and triggers that nurturing instinct. All three hormones are released during orgasm and the net effect is satisfaction and contentment. And it's no surprise that your relaxed state of mind and body allows you to fall asleep rather quickly. Getting all sweaty has direct skin pluses, too, as it bathes your whole body in skin-softening oils, giving you that postcoitus afterglow. More from QUIZ: How healthy is your skin? QUIZ: What's your eating style? QUIZ: Are you getting enough quality sleep?
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