Medical Society Dr Shuaib Nasser ‘Can We Prevent Allergic Reactions?’

As a front-line researcher for allergic reactions and cures in Cambridge, there was no one more qualified to give the talk than Dr Nasser. In going through some of the studies his team had undertaken, he showed us a number of interesting and unusual aspects of allergies. One example was that of ‘Thunderstorm Asthma’, where you suffer acute (and occasionally fatal) inflammation of the bronchi during periods of thunderstorms. Dr Nasser’s team discovered that fungal spores of Alternaria alternata are the most likely cause of this, as they are carried up into the atmosphere when a cold front displaces hot air and cause the reaction in humans when they drop back down to earth.

His accounts of these studies were often accompanied with uncomfortable facts, saying for example that 10% of the mass of your pillow is comprised of dust mites and foecal matter! Dr Nasser spent the last half of his talk explaining the process of desensitization in patients with allergies, and how this slow exposure to tiny amounts of allergen changes their allergic immune response to a normal immune response. This is where most of the modern research is focused and the possibility of the treatment of most allergies looms on the horizon.

Monty Lyman OS (JMG)