Tag Archives: asthma

Dr. M’s SPA Newsletter Audiocast Volume 12 Issues 4,6 and 8

SPA Audiocast Newsletter Letters 4, 6 and 8

In this issue we discuss the story of fructose, letting go and forgiveness and preparation for allergy season. There is a lot of news to use in this audiocast for allergy season preparation and how to release emotional hurts.


Dr. M

Dr. M’s Women and Children First Podcast #7 – Dr. William Parker, The “Macrobiome” and Human Health

Dr. William Parker, Associate Professor of Surgery and Global Health at Duke University, will discuss the biome depletion theory and how our cleanliness is disrupting normal immune function. These processes can have profound downstream effects on maternal and child health. From the Duke Medical School: What is widely known as the “hygiene hypothesis” is more appropriately described as the biota alteration or biome depletion theory: Changes in symbiont composition in the ecosystem of the human body in Western culture has led to immune dysfunction and subsequent disease. We are working on several aspects of this theory. Our earlier studies probe the immunological differences between laboratory-raised and wild-raised animals as a means of assessing differences between humans with and without Western culture, respectively. Other studies probe the role of biome enrichment, in particular the addition of helminths, in the treatment of disease. Studies are ongoing in both humans and in animals, with particular attention to the role of biome depletion in cognitive dysfunction.

We discuss the future of human health with a specific focus on our macrobiome friends, parasites, with whom we have co evolved. They are now missing and we are not better off because of it.


Please enjoy my conversation with Dr. William Parker,

Dr. M

Interesting Child Health Links 5/21/18

The Following are Dr. Smo’s links to interesting articles about children and child health for the week of 5/21/18

Article #1The pediatricians at Nationwide Children’s hospital discuss the causal relationship between air pollution and asthma, one of today’s biggest health problems for children.


Article #2– The Seattle Mama Doc, reviews many important aspects of child car restraints in this article. What is your child car seat IQ? Find out in this interesting article.

Continue reading

More of Grandma’s Wisdom (Pedcast)


I  was out riding my bike with my buddies the other day and had an experience that reminded me of something I talk to parents about all the time…that is the concept of bronchial sensitivity. We all understand that different humans are born with different, genetic sensitivities to irritants.   Let’s take light sensitivity for example; some of us with very dark skin can tolerate an enormous amount of sun exposure without burning and others of us sustain suffer first and second degree solar burns from minimal sun exposure. How can this be?  I go to the beach with my black friends and they can be out on the beach all day without any problem and me, sitting right next to them, I get sick with severe sun poisoning. The answer is mostly in the genes and today we are going to explore how this relates your children. Continue reading

Fast Food: More bad news (Article)

It is common knowledge that fast food is not good for our children’s health. Recent research confirms what we already knew: an extensive new study correlates consumption of fast food with a child’s increased chance of developing asthma and allergies. The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood surveyed nearly half a million six- and seven-year-olds and thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds across 31 and 51 countries, respectively. The study found that teenagers who consume fast food more than three times a week are 40% more likely to develop asthma, while children aged six or seven who also eat fast food more than three times a week are 27% more likely to suffer from asthma. Additionally, both the six- and seven-year-olds and teenagers who frequently dined on fast food suffered from increased frequency of food allergies, eczema, and allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

Clearly, the researchers have provided us with valuable information, but much more work needs to be done to confirm the study’s results. Many factors are undoubtedly at play beneath the surface. While overconsumption of fast food seems to be associated with an increase in many allergic diseases in children, excessive eating of processed fast food may not totally explain why children are, on average, more allergic than their older relatives. Other factors undoubtedly contribute to the problem.

Nonetheless, this new information provides us with things we can do TODAY to lessen a child’s chance of allergy: providing a more traditional diet rich in fruits and vegetables may be part of the solution. By simply visiting the produce aisle instead of swinging by the nearest drive-through, a child’s health and quality of life can be changed for the better. Replacing processed sugars, carbohydrates, and preservatives with natural foods is the first step towards a healthier lifestyle and possibly less allergy disease for both you and your children.

Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com. Let me hear what your think. For more timely medical updates about children, subscribe to DocSmo.com on iTunes or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.  Until next time.

Smo notes:


Authored by Keri Register, Davidson College intern and Paul Smolen MD

From the desk of Doc Smo: Once again, no free lunch (Article)

I can think of no pharmacological therapy in medicine that is free of unwanted side effects.   Even therapies that bestow great benefit seem to have  unintended consequences.  The September 2012 issue of the  New England Journal of Medicine featured an article that considered the impact of inhaled steroid treatment of asthma on adult height.  Physicians have speculated for a long time that  the frequent ingestion of in childhood reduces a child’s adult height, but what about the very small doses that are used in inhalers:  do  they have the same effect on adult height?

The authors of this article provide the first good, long-term data about the effect of inhaled steroids on growth.  According to these researchers, inhaled steroids reduce adult height by a very small amount:  an average of  1.8 cm or a ½ inches in children who used a common inhaled medication called “budesonide” ( brand name “Pulmicort”).   They confirm that even small doses of inhaled budesonide slow growth slightly with the effect persisting into adult life.  BUT, and this is a big capital letter BUT, the investigators say that this negative effect on ultimate height must be weighed against the tremendous benefit that children with persistent asthma receive in controlling a potentially life threatening disease.

As with vaccines, antibiotics, and even chemotherapy, the decision to use inhaled steroids requires weighing potential risks against anticipated benefits.  If the benefits are high and the risks are low, families and doctors should consider using inhaled steroids.  On the other hand, the article highlights the wisdom of  prescribing the minimum effective dose of these medications. Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com.  Explore all the content while you are there.  Until next time, this is Dr. Paul Smolen wishing you and your family good health.


Smo Notes:

Kelly H, et al “Effect of inhaled glucocorticoids in childhood on adult height” New Engl J Med 2012; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1203229.



From the Desk of Doc Smo: Could Acetaminophen be Toxic?

Oh no, not again. It is happening again! When I was a doctor-in-training in the trenches with the sickest of the sick in a teaching hospital, we used to take care of children with a disease that is not seen anymore called Reyes Syndrome. The typical story of a child with Reyes syndrome went as follows: a previously healthy teen came down with influenza or chickenpox, and a few days into their illness—when they should have been improving— they started vomiting, getting disoriented and combative and then going into a coma with liver failure. Death was certain without heroic measures by an experienced intensive care team. Can you imagine your child experiencing such a thing?


During the 70’s, a veritable epidemic of Reyes syndrome started occurring all over the country. No one knew what caused the syndrome, but some clever researchers began to believe that the combination of a severe viral infection along with the ingestion of ASPIRIN was to blame. I remember the response that my colleagues and I had to such a simple answer….nonsense.  It can’t be that simple. No way. Well, it turns out that it was that simple.  When children were prevented from taking aspirin when they had a severe viral infection, Reyes syndrome disappeared.  To this day, there are still warnings on aspirin labels discouraging teens from taking aspirin.


Now, let’s fast forward to December 2011 and an article in Pediatrics linking ACETOMENOPHEN (Tylenol) with the increasing incidence of asthma that has occurred in the past 25 years.  Could it be that the ‘trusted,’ ‘safe,’ ‘harmless’ medicine that doctors and families have relied on for control of pain and fever actually triggers asthma in susceptible individuals?  Such talk must be heresy, pure blasphemy. Evidence is building that in genetically susceptible children, taking acetaminophen can CAUSE ASTHMA. Response in the medical field has been largely the same as in the 70’s with ASPIRIN: first disbelief, then skepticism, and finally acceptance.


Thus, another treatment that we once thought was benign may turn out to have unintended consequences. There is no free lunch, and no actions are carried out in a vacuum. Every action has consequences, even those that seem so safe and benign. Both parents and doctors need to rethink medicine from the ground up. Are the benefits great enough to warrant the inevitable unintended consequences? These are calculations for both parents and doctors to make together. I don’t know if we have the final answer yet with regards to the link between Acetaminophen and asthma, but my experience with aspirin in the 70’s has taught me to keep an open mind.  We will see.


John McBride, The Association of Acetaminophen and Asthma Prevalence and Severity, Pediatrics Vol 128, Number 6, December 2011.