Martin Dubravec, M.D.  

The Hilltop Allergy Letter

Volume 16    Number 4

September 2017 - November 2017




              We welcome all new and established patients to our newsletter.  This is formulated four times a year to inform patients and the medical community with regard to new developments in asthma, allergies, and clinical immunology.  Please feel free to take this home with you and share it with family and friends. 


Asthma and Pets


Allergies to indoor substances  play a major role in asthma.  With regard to pets, the question remains as to how significant is pet allergy in asthma.  A unique study from Northern Sweden was completed with children who live above the Arctic Circle.  These patients typically have no exposure to dust mites or cockroaches which are significant indoor allergens in our part of the world.  In this study, the presence of positive allergy tests to cat and dog was related to both the prevalence and the severity of asthma in these patients.  Interestingly, a high percentage of these patients without pets also had positive tests to cat and dog indicating that pet dander exposure outside the home can be significant and may play a role in asthma.  Source:  Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2016, Vol. 138, pp. 1582-1590.




Do Fish Oil Supplements During Pregnancy Prevent Asthma?


Recent studies suggest that low intake of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids during pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of asthma in children born to these mothers.  A recent study looked at 695 children whose mothers either received supplemental fish oil (which contains these fatty acids) or olive oil (which does not contain these fatty acids) before they were born.  Persistent wheezing or asthma developed in 17% of children who received fish oil vs. 24% of patients with olive oil.  The group receiving fish oil also had a lower rate of upper respiratory infections.  With regard to the development of allergies, eczema and asthma flare-ups, there was no change in the frequency of these in patients whether or not they received fish oil.


                The results of this study point to the possibility that taking supplemental fish oil during the third trimester of pregnancy may reduce the risk of persistent wheezing or asthma in offspring.  However, it is important to note that the dose of fish oil provided in this trial was approximately 15-20 times the average U.S. normal dietary intake.  Further studies are needed to look at the safety of taking such a high dose of fish oil prior to definitely recommending it for patients.  Source:  New England Journal of Medicine 2016, Vol. 375, pp. 2530-2539.





Around The Mitchell House


We are happy to have recently acquired the childhood train set of Charles Mitchell.  This train set is a Buddy L outdoor train set from the early 1900’s.  It was located at his boyhood home which is located just half a block from the Mitchell House. 


Dr. Dubravec Named President-Elect Of Michigan Allergy And Asthma Society


Dr. Dubravec has been named President-Elect of the Michigan Allergy and Asthma Society.  This organization is dedicated to continuing education of allergists/immunologists in Michigan as well as improving the treatment of patients with asthma, allergy and immunologic disease.  Although this time commitment will necessitate travel downstate, Dr. Dubravec hopes to be a constructive part of the care that patients receive statewide with regard to allergic disease. 


Fall Allergens


Major allergens in autumn include mold spores and ragweed.  Ragweed will remain strong until a good hard frost or until there is insufficient sunlight to support plant growth, i.e., ragweed often decreases in severity at the end of September.  Mold spores will remain prominent until there is a good hard frost.


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Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Cadillac