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Reference and/or Research Questions for Other People

April 4, 2009

Things that came up over the course of the last two days, and questions for which I do not know the answers:

1) I’m allergic to “penicillin.” I was given it once as and infant and my mother was instructed that I was not to get penicillin ever again. I do not know which penicillin was administered, only that it would have been around the late 70s. Question: if a person is allergic to one of the penicillins, are they generally allergic to all of them? All beta-lactam antibiotics?

2) I’m 1/4 Korean and afflicted with Asian flush. I also have a bad reaction to aspartame (I’ve mentioned both of these here before). My mom, 1/2 Korean, is similarly affected by aspartame and alcohol. Question: are the two related? Is there some breakdown product of aspartame metabolism that triggers the adverse effects of flushing/warmth, headache, and GI cramping particularly in those of us with the genetic difference that causes Asian flush?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2009 9:08 am

    If you are allergic to penicillin, you should not receive any medication in the penicillin family, or combination products that contain them.

    Per Wiki:
    “Upon ingestion, aspartame breaks down into natural residual components, including aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol, and further breakdown products including formaldehyde,[18] formic acid, and a diketopiperazine.”

    And Asian flush:

    “Ordinarily, alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) is responsible for conversion of primary alcohols to aldehydes; aldehydes are then converted to carboxylic acids by aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). In the case of ethanol, the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, ethanol is converted first into acetaldehyde and then into acetic acid. Acetaldehyde is the most toxic of these three compounds, and is both a possible carcinogen and a major cause of hangovers; ethanol’s toxicity is lower, and acetic acid is relatively harmless.

    The result is the accumulation of acetaldehyde. Approximately half of people of Asian descent are considered to be sensitive to alcohol due to this condition. [8] Flushing, after consuming one or two alcoholic beverages, includes a range of symptoms: nausea, headaches, light-headedness, an increased pulse, occasional extreme drowsiness, and occasional skin swelling and itchiness. These unpleasant side effects often prevent further drinking that may lead to further inebriation, but the symptoms can lead to mistaken assumption that the people affected are more easily inebriated than others.”

    I’m not sure if the methanol that aspartame breaks into can cause Asian Flush, though…

  2. April 5, 2009 9:13 am

    Mrs. Spock – thanks – aspartame and alcohol don’t cause exactly the same reactions for me, but I do wonder if there might be something along the lines of a processing difference for aspartame that is related to the genetic difference that causes the flush. Didn’t realize about the methanol, that’s interesting…

  3. cathyrene permalink
    December 7, 2009 10:27 pm

    please tell me does a man have the right to throw out his girlfriend in 8 months. after she has been the caregiver to him and his daughter..its snowing out and he wants to kick me out to the street

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