Luara's Blog (19)

Problem with Obamacare

I dreaded signing up for the health insurance under Obamacare, because I figured it wouldn't cover the very expensive drug Xolair, that I'm getting for an off-label use.   The drug costs me almost $10,000/year.  I complained that with health insurance, people like me who have unusual problems fall through the cracks, and health insurance does everything it can to pay as little as it can and has caused me a lot  of headaches and stress in the past.  

I did sign up for health insurance,…

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Added by Luara on March 14, 2014 at 3:30am — 1 Comment

Elimination diets, the "factory of anaphylaxis"?

In an article on Medline, the authors suggest that

widespread and uncontrolled use of elimination diets for atopic dermatitis may have played a role in the increase of allergy and anaphylaxis.

They are talking especially about children with allergy problems. 

The treatment has been avoidance of the foods responsible, once they're identified. 

But the authors think food avoidance may…

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Added by Luara on February 28, 2014 at 8:00am — 10 Comments

Mechanism for delayed food allergies

I've been reading a lot of research articles, trying to get an idea of what's going on with my delayed food allergies.

By "delayed food allergy", I mean an allergy that doesn't show up in blood tests for IgE food allergy, and is similar to the food reactions I have.

My food reactions start about 1/2 hr after eating the food and last about 4 days.  Mostly, it's a groggy sick feeling, but I've also had belly pain, back pain, frequent urination, joint pain, mild itchiness all over my…

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Added by Luara on January 21, 2014 at 11:00am — 9 Comments

drama with water pipes

Drama with water pipes frozen this morn.  It's a rented mobile home.  I was worried the owners would blame it on me because I turn the heat off overnight - but it turns out the owners had forgotten to turn on the heat tape that's wrapped around the pipes!  Luckily they're plastic pipes and they seem OK. 

Added by Luara on January 4, 2014 at 1:39pm — 5 Comments

Desensitization to food allergens (rewritten)

With classical food allergies, the kind that show up in IgE RAST testing, the old model is that you just avoid the food. But gradual desensitization by taking tiny amounts of the food, has been shown to be promising in research. See for example http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/711404_6

So could desensitization work for delayed food allergies, of the kind that might be an IgE-mediated reaction localized in the gut, but don't…

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Added by Luara on January 1, 2014 at 8:00am — 25 Comments

"A manual for creating atheists": useful even if you aren't anti-theist.

Peter Boghossian's book A Manual for Creating Atheists is a crucial and original book, not just for atheists who want to propagate atheism, but also for nonbelievers in general. It gives nonbelievers a way to interact with religious people that is respectful and not antagonistic – yet confronts believers with something they often wish to avoid: the weirdness of believing without good…

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Added by Luara on December 4, 2013 at 9:00am — 20 Comments

Bryan Sykes and the mystery of Zana

Zana was a "wildwoman" who was captured in 1850 and spent decades in captivity in a village in Russia. 

Zana was believed to be an "almas", a Russian cryptid.  Almases are typically described as human-like bipedal animals, between five and six and a half feet tall, their bodies covered with reddish-brown hair, with anthropomorphic facial features including a pronounced browridge, flat nose, and a…

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Added by Luara on November 17, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

The dysfunctional relationship between skeptics and true believers

I question what I'm told, a great deal - so I could be called a skeptic.  I'm not a devotee of any pseudoscience and I agree with a great deal of what is said by skeptics. 

But the skeptical blogs and skeptical commentary online, and magazines like Skeptical Inquirer, are very far from the skeptical ideal of rational questioning.  There's a lot of ridicule.  For example, Orac on the…

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Added by Luara on October 30, 2013 at 1:00pm — 24 Comments

Sasquatch/Yeti may be a new subspecies of bear

A well-known geneticist, Bryan Sykes has been studying DNA from the Siberian Yeti (Abominable Snowman) and Sasquatch in North America. 

In a  preliminary report, he says the Yeti samples he has matched an ancient polar bear, from when polar bears and brown bears were diverging.  So the Yeti might be a previously…

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Added by Luara on October 17, 2013 at 5:30pm — 8 Comments

"natural alternatives" to the flu shot

I was incensed to get a flyer in the mail from a pharmacy, advertising "alternatives" to the flu shot.

These include Guna Flu, a homeopathic remedy with ingredients diluted by a factor of a billion or so;

Citomix, a similar homeopathic remedy;…

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Added by Luara on October 6, 2013 at 3:41pm — 10 Comments

Medical self-help

I went to a local atheist meetup group for awhile.  I didn't have a good time there, partly because there was a dogmatic pathologist there who gave me grief with his derogatory comments. 

I was chronically somewhat sick and I didn't know why, and I spent a lot of time online trying to figure out how to make myself better.  

This pathologist basically informed me that I was foolish to try to understand or solve my own medical problems, since I don't have medical…

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Added by Luara on September 17, 2013 at 11:57am — 7 Comments

For those affected by blogorrhea: The kinder way



Here, Debra and others, is how you can put a lot of blog posts in one space and avoid cluttering the main A/N page. 

Just copy the HTML of this, and edit it to suit yourself. 

Try clicking on a link below:



Armadillos

Badgers

Chupacabras

Armadillos

Armadillos have very thick skin.

 

Badgers

Badgers get what they…

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Added by Luara on June 27, 2013 at 3:00pm — No Comments

People who take their dogs everywhere

I developed an amazingly severe dog allergy, through living with dogs nonstop for 17 years.  If I'm riding my bike and a car pulls up next to me with a dog in it, and the window's open, I'll get sick.  If I'm anywhere near a dog and I breathe any of the air around it, I get sick.  The allergist I see has an office in a building where dogs live, and people sometimes go through the door that opens into the rest of the building, although the door is usually shut.  When I go there, I have bad…

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Added by Luara on June 15, 2013 at 7:00pm — 3 Comments

legalized prostitution

Like a lot of women I'm uncomfortable with legalized prostitution.  Mostly because a lot of prostitutes have a history of sexual abuse and being a prostitute seems degrading.

All the same, I think laws against prostitution and other victimless crimes have to go.  The laws against prostitution make it dangerous to be a prostitute and increase the power of pimps and probably help trap women in prostitution. 

The victimless-crime laws are perhaps a consequence of religion. …

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Added by Luara on May 3, 2013 at 3:30pm — 6 Comments

nystatin for vague symptoms

I saw an interesting 2001 study that showed a benefit of nystatin vs placebo, for people with presumed "Candida" symptoms. 

The study subjects were selected from volunteers, because of their answers to 7 questions supposed to indicate a "Candida problem":

Have you, at any time in your life, taken ‘broad spectrum’ antibiotics?

Have you taken tetracycline or other broad spectrum antibiotics…

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Added by Luara on March 31, 2013 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Candida, dysbiosis, probiotics, prebiotics

For a long time, alternative medicine doctors have told patients they have a "Candida overgrowth", sometimes based on a stool test, sometimes only a guess based on various symptoms that an excess of Candida is supposed to cause.  And they diagnose "dysbiosis", meaning the microorganisms in the person's gut are of the wrong kind.  They prescribe probiotics, prebiotics - which are substances like inulin and fructooligosaccharides that (hopefully) primarily feed good bacteria - they prescribe…

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Added by Luara on March 27, 2013 at 8:30pm — 7 Comments

Local allergies

I found out something interesting recently:  that you can have IgE-mediated allergies to inhalants, even with negative skin and blood tests.  This is called "local allergic rhinitis".  The symptoms are similar to conventional allergies, and it's rather common:  about 25% of people with rhinitis had local allergic rhinitis, in one study

There's a…

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Added by Luara on February 11, 2013 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

Anxiety and racism

Racism is connected to social anxiety.  People with a rare genetic disorder called Williams syndrome, which causes people to lack social anxiety, also lack racial biases.  These people are also vulnerable to attack because they don't have social fear; they don't pick up signals that someone may be about to attack them.  And the beta blocker propranolol, of all things,…

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Added by Luara on January 28, 2013 at 12:30pm — 7 Comments

Not the Usual

If you want to read about something other than religion, atheism or the paranormal, this is intended for you! 

The action will be in the comments section.  If you find content on AN that you like, that is NOT on religion, atheism, or the paranormal, please leave a comment on this blog post. 

The text of the comment should be a short description of what is in the link. 

The "link text" - what you put in when you click on "Link" - should be copied from the content you're…

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Added by Luara on December 12, 2012 at 7:30am — 4 Comments

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