Regrettably, my busy summer schedule has consumed me a bit too much and has prevented me from composing a first entry to my blog…until now.
Enough excuses, moving on. Allow me to divulge some more meaningful information. So as you may, or probably don’t, know I’ve been conducting a bit of personal research, among many other things, surrounding human food allergies. What originally inspired me to explore the biochemistry of food allergies was my severe tree nut allergy. One of the worst experiences of my life occurred about nine years ago at a swim team function. On this occasion, I was given a white chocolate chip (which I soon thereafter learned was a white chocolate chip, MACADAMIA NUT) cookie, and quickly ingested it. About five minutes later, hives covered my body, my throat tightened, and a nervous breakdown ensued. I took probably an unhealthy amount of diphenhydramine to counter the initial reaction (don’t tell the FDA), but long story short, I ended up spending 5 hours in the hospital hooked up to various steroids and clinical-strength antihistamines. After the entire ordeal, I was prescribed an “epi-pen,” a euphemism for a dreadful auto-injection device that delivers epinephrine to relax smooth muscle and subsequently open the trachea.
While the epi-pen was a solution, it certainly wasn’t the best. Honestly guys, have you seen the size of the needle that comes out of the device? I often contemplate which would be worse: dying, or shanking myself (this is sarcasm, I’m not interested in dying quite yet). But my desire for better treatment of food allergies is what led me to begin conducting my specific research this summer. My goal is to find a way to prevent allergies altogether, rather than dealing with allergic reactions episode by episode. With my newly acquired knowledge of biochemistry, genetics, gene control, and organic synthesis, I will be exploring the possibilities of developing treatments or therapies that would prevent allergic reactions at the level of genes. Stay tuned.
I leave you with a quote from Sir Archibald Garrod, the physician and scientist known for discovering the first human genetic disease:
“Nevertheless, scientific method is not the same as the scientific spirit. The scientific spirit does not rest content with applying that which is already known, but is a restless spirit, ever pressing forward towards the regions of the unknown, and endeavoring to lay under contribution for the special purpose in hand the knowledge acquired in all portions of the wide field of exact science.”