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By National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (U.S.)

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27 09-0247 Airborn 14ƒ 4/30/03 Allergy 10:11 AM Page 34 Research Research on allergies is focused on understanding what happens to the human body during the allergic process— the sequence of events leading to the allergic response and the factors responsible for allergic diseases. Scientists supported by NIAID found that, during the first years of their lives, children raised in a house with two or more dogs or cats may be less likely to develop allergic diseases as compared with children raised without pets.

These studies offer the promise of improving the treatment and control of allergic diseases and the hope that one day allergic diseases will be preventable. 31 09-0247 Airborn 14ƒ 4/30/03 10:11 AM Page 38 Glossary• allergen—substance that causes an allergic reaction allergenic—describes a substance which produces an allergic reaction antibody—molecule tailor-made by the immune system to lock onto and destroy specific germs basophils—white blood cells that contribute to inflammatory reactions conjunctivitis—inflammation of the lining of the eyelid, causing red-rimmed, swollen eyes, and crusting of the eyelids genes—units of genetic material that carry the directions a cell uses to perform a specific function granules—small particles; in cells the particles typically include enzymes and other chemicals immune system—a complex network of specialized cells, tissues, and organs that defends the body against attacks by disease-causing organisms inflammation—an immune system process that stops the progression of disease-causing organisms lymphocytes—small white blood cells which are important parts of the immune system 32 09-0247 Airborn 14ƒ 4/30/03 10:11 AM Page 39 mast cells—granule-containing cells found in tissue molecules—the building blocks of a cell.

Based on the success of the first National Cooperative Inner-City Asthma Study, NIAID and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, also part of NIH, started a second cooperative multicenter study in 1996. This study recruited children with asthma, aged 4 to 11, to test the effectiveness of two interventions. One intervention uses a novel communication and doctor education system. Information about the children's asthma severity is provided to their primary care physicians, with the intent that this information will help the doctors give the children the best care possible.

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Airborne allergens : something in the air by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (U.S.)

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