Autoimmune Research Roundup

This is a roundup of recent research that has been done on Autoimmune diseases from around the world:


  • An in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome from University of Maryland Medical Center 
  • Untreated sleep apnea: higher risk blood sugar level spikes, stress hormones & blood pressure, new study finds. 


Health quotes

Health quotes
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, 
and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. - World Health Organization
Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings. 
Publilius Syrus
Health quotes
 'I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. 
Caring for myself is an act of survival.'

If you have health, you probably will be happy, 
and if you have health and happiness, 
you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want.

 Our illness does not define us. Our strength and courage does.

'Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed

It means the damage no longer controls our life.'


Autoimmune hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a rare condition and caused by the body’s immune system attacking the liver. It can affect all age groups, all ethnic groups and all geographical regions though there is a predominance in females.
Autoimmune hepatitis was previously called lupoid hepatitis, as most patients had systemic lupus erythematosus, and also chronic active hepatitis (CAH).

Initial symptoms may include fatigue, muscle aches, fever, abdomen pain and jaunice (yellowing of skin and the whites of the eyes). Other symptoms may include weight loss and pain in the small joints of fingers. It is often seen in people with other autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease or autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimto's), primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis.

liver diagram


13th July 2017: Association of autoimmune hepatitis with Src homology 2 adaptor protein 3 gene polymorphisms in Japanese patients

Takeji UmemuraSatoru JoshitaHideaki HamanoKaname YoshizawaShigeyuki KawaEiji Tanaka and Masao Ota
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic inflammatory liver disease characterized by an autoimmune reaction to hepatocytes. Read more

May 2017: Autoimmune hepatitis: review of histologic features included in the simplified criteria proposed by the international autoimmune hepatitis group and proposal for new histologic criteria

Dana BalitzerNafis ShafizadehMarion G PetersLinda D FerrellNajeeb Alshak and Sanjay Kakar
Simplified criteria for diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis are based on autoantibodies, serum immunoglobulin G, histologic features, and negative viral serology. Read more

22nd April 2017: Immunoserological and histological differences between autoimmune hepatitis with acute presentation and chronic autoimmune hepatitis


The histological features of clinically chronic autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) have been well established, with interface hepatitis and plasma cell infiltration as hallmark lesions, however, the immunoserological and histological features of recent-onset and acute AIH remain undefined. Read on

2017: Recurrent Autoimmune Liver Diseases After Liver Transplantation

A. J. Montano-Loza; R. A. Bhanji; S. Wasilenko; A. L. Mason 

Indications for liver transplantation (LT) in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) Read more at Medscape

31st August 2016: Autoimmune hepatitis: current challenges and future prospects

Aizawa Y, Hokari A

Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic progressive liver disease characterized by high levels of aminotransferases and autoantibodies, hypergammaglobulinemia, and interface hepatitis. Read more

Liver diagram


Probiotics to reduce hay fever symptoms

Probiotics reduce spring allergies

Probiotics have been shown to improve quality of life in individuals with seasonal allergies. This was in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial done at the University of Florida.

The probiotics are Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-

Rhinoconjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva due to allergy combined with rhinitis. The conjunctiva is the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids.

Quality of life is often reduced during seasonal Rhinoconjunctivitis. The Mini Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (MRQLQ) is used to measure the quality of life in people experiencing allergies.

In the results of the survey the probiotic group reported an improvement in the MRQLQ score when compared with the placebo group.

Conclusions: This combination probiotic improved rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life during allergy season for healthy individuals with self-reported seasonal allergies.


Autoimmune disease in pregnancy - Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), Hughes syndrome and pregnancy.

Antiphospholipid syndrome and pregnancy

Antiphospholipid syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that is associated with pregnancy complications. However most people with APS only get one of these complications not all of them. They include: recurrent miscarriage, early delivery, tiny blood clots in the blood vessels within the placenta, growth restriction of the foetus, stillbirth, and pre-eclampsia. 

Planning your pregnancy
Women with diagnosed APS are advised to plan for pregnancy because treatment to improve the outcome is more successful when it begins as soon as possible after conceiving. Also because some medications used to treat APS could also harm an unborn baby and these are stopped when planning to become pregnant.

Treatment during pregnancy
This involves taking daily doses of aspirin or heparin, or a combination of both. The doctors decide this considering the history of blood clots and complications during any previous pregnancy.  
These treatments usually start at the beginning of the pregnancy and may continue for one to six weeks after birth.
But don’t despair. These pregnancies are treatable. In our recent study (the largest and most detailed one done to date), pregnancy outcome was about the same as for women with diabetes, kidney disease, or poor socioeconomic conditions. More than 9 of 10 pregnancies survived, and about 8 of 10 pregnancies went to full term. Of course patients were very closely monitored and treated, mostly with a form of injectable heparin (a blood thinner). The common problems were prematurity and high blood pressure (a pregnancy complication seen in many circumstances); the problems occurred most often in patients who also had lupus. Dr Michael Lockshin.
Working closely with an obstetricians and/or gynecologists during pregnancy is advised as they have the means to prevent thrombosis and the other pregnancy complications associated with APS.

Support for those with APS:
APS Support UK
APSFA.org has a pregnancy support forum.


Foods to support the immune system - part 3

Cruciferous vegetables are the gold standard in immune-boosting vegetables.

Watch this video to see the great range of Cruciferous vegetables. 

Although all vegetables have nutrients and some protective powers, for these vegetables, it’s off the charts. Cruciferous vegetables, from the Brassica family, have a special chemical composition: They have sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent flavors. When they’re broken down by biting, blending, or chopping, a chemical reaction occurs that converts these sulfur-containing compounds into isothiocyanates (ITCs). ITCs prevent and knock out cancer and have infinite proven immune-boosting capabilities.
They contain antiviral and antibacterial agents that keep you disease free. Adding the following cruciferous vegetables to your daily plate is like taking an anticancer pill: arugula, beet greens, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, red cabbage, turnip greens, or watercress. Cruciferous vegetables are often called cole crops by people in North America and brassicas by people in the United Kingdom.

Here is a great book that provides recipes on cooking with these healthy immune assisting vegetables: 

Brassicas: Cooking the World's Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More
A cookbook showcasing 80 recipes for the most popular of the world's healthiest vegetables-kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, leafy greens, and more-tailored to accommodate special diets such as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan.
For a long time, brassicas had a mixed reputation. While a small group of people staunchly adored them, most Americans were not as fond of the vegetables formerly known as "cruciferous" (who doesn't remember a plate of stinky boiled cabbage or President Bush's condemnation of broccoli?). But in recent years, a transformation has occurred. Kale has taken the world by storm and there's hardly a restaurant left that doesn't have cauliflower on the menu. The rising popularity of brassicas is not only due to their extraordinary health benefits and "superfood" status, but also the realization that they can taste delicious when properly prepared.

Diagnosis of autoimmune urticaria

The autologous serum skin test is used as a screening test for chronic autoimmune urticaria and has a sensitivity and specificity of about 70 and 80%, respectively. The current gold standard diagnostic test is the basophil histamine release assay. NCBI
Autoimmune urticaria (AIU) cannot be diagnosed by this test alone. A study has been done showing "A simple, combined test can improve the diagnosis of autoimmune urticaria."

Researchers from Hungary’s University of Debrecen have shown a more effective testing procedure for diagnosing AIU. The combination of tests have increased the sensitivity and specificity to 98% and 86%. 

The researchers found that ASST positivity, the occurrence of symptoms at night, angioedema, incidence of more than five symptomatic days per week, and anti-thyroid antibody positivity were more frequent in the AIU group versus patients with chronic spontaneous non-AIU. These parameters were defined as specific to AIU. MD Magazine

urticaria on back
Urticaria is another name for hives which are raised red marks on the skin that can occur anywhere on the body. Chronic urticaria is when the hives have been there for 6 weeks or more. This is called chronic idiopathic urticaria, which means there is no known cause. Many people with chronic idiopathic urticaria are thought to have autoimmune urticaria (AIU) where antibodies exist. 

A strong connection has been found between AIU and the existence of other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sj√∂gren's syndrome, Lupus (SLE) and celiac disease. 


Fatigue in Sjogren's Syndrome

Fatigue and Sjogren's Syndrome

A U.K. study found that factors that associated with high levels of fatigue among patients with Sjogren's syndrome included pain, depression, and - unexpectedly - low levels of two proinflammatory cytokines. Proinflammatory cytokines are cytokines that promote systemic inflammation.

"This suggests that measures of disease activity in primary Sjogren's syndrome appear to be less important than cytokines, depression, and pain in accurately predicting fatigue levels," the researchers observed.

Conclusions: Cytokines, pain and depression appear to be the most powerful predictors of fatigue in Sjogren's Syndrome.  The research data challenged the idea that proinflammatory cytokines directly cause fatigue in chronic immune conditions. "Instead, we hypothesise that mechanisms regulating inflammatory responses may be important."  

Fatigue in primary Sjogren's syndrome is associated with lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Published in BMJ Journals in 19 July 2016


What to eat when your body attacks itself: immune diet

immune diet

Many people have found improvement in their autoimmune symptoms when changing their diet. If you are interested in diet and it's role in helping improve a damaged immune system, i.e. one with an autoimmune condition, you may be interested in these ideas: 
Get off gluten grains: wheat, barley, rye. And don’t go for so-called “gluten-free” breads, as they generally contain soy or corn products or members of the nightshade family, especially potatoes, that can also damage the lining of your intestinal tract.
Get off all cow dairy products.
If you stop insulting your gut tract, it will probably recover to some extent.
In addition to the things you should avoid, there are foods to improve the health of your intestinal wall. While not a complete list, these include:
A probiotic supplement.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially green and leafy ones.
Healing supplements like L-glutamine; omega-3 fatty acids; vitamins A, C and E; and turmeric.
From an article by Bob Keller, a holistic practitioner, Making Sense of Medicine

READ A BOOK ABOUT AUTOIMMUNE DIET: The Autoimmune Diet: Feel the freedom and energy of using whole food to manage autoimmune disease symptoms
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