Seen on Saturday morning: June 14th

June 14, 2008 8:39:31 AM PDT

We're just a week away from the first day of summer -- A time when you and your family enjoy the great outdoors.

But, the greenery you'll find outside could also stir up your allergies.

Joining us this morning with some tips is New York City allergist Dr. Clifford Bassett.

What is an allergy?
An allergy is sensitivity to a normally harmless substance, such as pollen or animal dander. When the body is exposed to this substance, or "allergen," it experiences symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny, or itchy nose.

How prevalent are allergies?
- Allergies affect an estimated 50 million Americans. About 1 in every 5 adults suffer from allergies.
- Allergies are the most frequently reported chronic condition in children, affecting approximately 40 percent of them.

Why is it important to treat allergies?
If left untreated, allergies may be associated with other health conditions such as asthma and may interfere with sleep. In children, untreated allergies can cause difficulties in school and impair learning.

When do people experience allergies and how can they be treated?
The foods that have an adverse affect on allergies
Allergic rhinitis can be seasonal or perennial. Seasonal allergies change with the season due to pollen from plants. Patients with perennial allergies react to allergens that are present year-round, such as pet dander or dust mites.

What common allergens are found during the summer months?
During the summer months, grass pollen fills the air for much of North America. First, it's sweet vernal and orchard grass, then comes timothy, bluegrass, fescue, redtop and perennial rye. In the southern United States, Bermuda grass is found nearly year-round, and Johnson and salt grasses also have long seasons.

Are allergies genetic?
Allergies can be inherited. If only one parent has allergies, there is a 26 percent chance that a child will have an allergy. If both parents have allergies, a child has a 52 percent chance of developing allergies.

Any other summer allergy tips:
- Minimize walks in wooded areas or gardens
- Stay indoors on hot, dry, windy days, and between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when pollen counts are usually highest
- Wear a mask (like an inexpensive painter's mask) when mowing the lawn or gardening
- Avoid raking leaves or working with hay or mulch if you're allergic to mold
- After being outdoors, take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes to remove pollen that may have collected

For more information, click links below:


As you walk around the city, you'll notice all types of yoga centers urging you to join. It's gaining in popularity, but is it something for you?

Joining us this morning are the authors of "Citystretch: a guide to New York city yoga," Erin Turner and Natasha Augoustopoulos.

Are there some basic things one needs to know before taking a yoga class?
Know Before You Go
Arrive early
Go on an empty stomach
Bring your own water
No baggy clothing
Do your research

For more information, go to

-----DR. LAMM ELASTIN-----

In the world of cosmetics, there are many products from which to choose, but how do you know if the claims are supported by scientific data?

Contributing editor of Best Life magazine and clinical assistant professor at NYU, Dr. Steven Lamm-- looked into the claims by one line of products and found interesting results.

He joins us this morning along with Christine Coleman who has tried the products.

Unlike medicine, where clinical trials must be done to prove scientific claims, there are no such requirements in the world of anti-aging cosmetics. As a result, anyone can make unsubstantiated claims about products that offer the "fountain of youth" promise (or, as many in the industry describe it --"essence of unicorn").

In that setting, Dr. Steven Lamm had heard about a scientist -- Dr. Burt Ensley of Sedona, AZ -- who had pioneered in the development of a synthetic form of Elastin (Elastotropin) that was being using to treat war wounds, by promoting faster healing of battlefield scars. By way of background, Elastin is a natural substance that helps promote the elasticity of skin...but (sad to say) the body already begins to slow its production in the teen years.

Based on that success, Dr. Ensley started a company -- DermaPlus Products ( -- to market a consumer cosmetic cream version of his development -- DermaLastyl-B (for the face) and DermaLastyl-E for the eye area -- which attracted Dr. Lamm's attention. And that, in turn, led to the industry's first-ever clinical study designed to determine if such claims could be backed with solid scientific evidence rather than hype. Using "before and after" photos (utilizing state-of-the-art Profilometry), the study's results clearly demonstrated that it effectively improved appearance by significantly reducing wrinkles and improving overall skin elasticity and tone.


- Elastin is the protein in the extracellular matrix surrounding the skin, organs and connecttive tissues that gives these materials their strength and elasticity - it is the "rubber band" that causes our skin and other organs to maintain their shape and "snap back" if they are stretched

- Elastin is produced almost entirely during development and early childhood - little or no elastin is made by adult tissues

- Elastin is a major protein component of arteries and veins - About 30-50% of the aorta, 50% of elastic ligaments, and 2-5% of the skin are made of elastin

- Elastin deficiencies cause certain diseases - elastin loss in major blood vessels leads to atherosclerosis and elastin loss in the lung leads to emphysema

- Elastin is extremely durable in skin - it has a half-life of about 70 years, but is only slowly replenished

- The skin gradually loses its elastin content over time, with about 10% of the elastin content of the skin lost over a lifetime

- Elastin loss leads to decreases in the flexibility, strength and healing ability of skin; eventually thin, sagging and easily injured and bruised skin results

- Tropoelastin is the water soluble precursor to elastin. Tropoelastin is the form of elastin made by the cells in the body. This elastin precursor is then exported outside the cells and becomes incorporated into the extracellular matrix as elastin.

- Elastin promotes wound healing; it has been used as a coating on collagen patches for injuries, tissue augmentation, as part of a gel or scaffold in wounds, and elastin helps recruit the cells that regrow new flesh to the site of a wound.

- The relative lack of elastin in newly formed scar tissue is the reason scars are not as flexible nor strong as the surrounding tissues. A wound dressing that could incorporate elastin into a wound could result in faster healing and a "better", stronger and more flexible scar.

- Dermalastyl contains Elastatropin, a form of the human elastin precursor tropoelastin. It is made by inserting the gene for human elastin into plants and microorganisms. The human elastin is recovered from the cultures, purified and formulated into a skin care product.

- Elastatropin is much more available to the skin and active on the skin's surface than traditional forms of elastin, which is usually derived from animal sources

- Laboratory studies have shown that some forms of human elastin (including the elastin in Dermalastyl) can penetrate into the surface of the skin, and become incorporated into the extracellular matrix surrounding the skin cells.

- Dermalastyl-B contains about 25 ug per ounce of human tropoelastin. This is a sufficient amount to replenish the elastin lost from the face in about one month. Other versions of Dermalastyl with differing amounts of elastin are under development and testing

- The addition of an active form of elastin to the skin's surface has the potential to reduce the requirement for and extend the interval between cosmetic surgery procedures, making it a highly cost effective and safe alternative.