December 27, 2006
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact: Larry Parker
Phone: (973) 972-7265
NJMS Students Show Research
on Allergies, Immunology at National Meeting
-Two Mentored by Dr. Leonard Bielory
on Link Between Bacteria in Gut, Eczema -
NEWARK - Two UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School students recently addressed doctors at the annual meeting of the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI) in Philadelphia about research they conducted on allergies
Joohee Lee, a fourth-year medical student from North Brunswick, and David Jung Seto, a second-year medical student from Livingston, conducted a year-long analysis of previous clinical studies regarding the role of so-called probiotics in treating eczema, a skin rash caused by allergies, in children. Unlike antibiotics, which are drugs derived from microorganisms that kill harmful microorganisms, probiotics are live cultures (such as those in yogurt) which can stimulate the colonization of helpful microorganisms in the digestive tract.
In the students’ analysis, Seto and Lee hypothesized, based on earlier studies, that there is an interaction between the immune system and bacteria in the digestive system which can either cause or, with further research, ultimately be manipulated to treat eczema. Lee said, for example, she believes there may one day be a way to use probiotics in pregnant women to treat or even prevent eczema in the baby.
Seto said the research was so convincing to him on the overall positive effects of probiotics that he began eating more yogurt in his own diet. He cautioned, though, that future treatments for eczema that may be developed after his and Lee’s analysis would be much more complex.
Lee and Seto were mentored by Dr. Leonard Bielory, director of the division of allergy and immunology in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Bielory moderated a discussion during the ACAAI meeting on scientific advances in the use of complementary and alternative medicine in allergy, asthma and immunology.
For more information about the presentation, or to arrange an interview with the students, please contact Larry Parker at (973) 972-3000.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.