Friday List: 3 Reactions to the Denmark Dust Mite Review

If you have no idea what the dust mite review is, read this first.

1. AAFA Director of External Affairs Mike Tringale isn’t happy.
According to MSN, Tringale thinks the write-up concentrates too much on dust mites without addressing other allergens, points out that dust mite reduction should be part of a larger asthma maintenance effort, and even claims the review left out results that show asthma improvement after dust mite reduction. (Study author Peter Grotzsche says nope, didn’t happen.)

However, the article also quotes the director of a university immunology clinic who supports the research.

2. UK: We need new tools for dust mites.
The UK’s National Health Service explains reviews and research for us regular folks, and it has a good article on the dust mite review that also questions the quality of some of the research studied. Also this article states that  the Cochrane researchers don’t recommend giving up the dust mite fight so much as they suggest the need for better weapons against the things.

3. “High degree of variability” in study, says asthma doctor.
Doctors in this ABC News story say geography can make a difference in patient exposure to dust mites and point out that eliminating them is only recommended as a housewide overhaul of possible allergic triggers. Perhaps most significant, Dr. Harold S. Nelson of National Jewish says he recommends dust mite bedding covers to his patients as part of a more widespread allergen-reduction plan but tells them there’s no proof that the covers help.

You can see the common threads here:

– We should not address dust mite reduction only and forgo other maintenance efforts.
– We should not assume hypoallergenic bedding covers will definitely help reduce flares.
– We should not assume the Denmark review is conclusive.
– We need better methods for killing dust mites.

And now I have issues. Because it’s great that Dr. Nelson up there in #3 tells his patients about the lack of evidence and it sure makes me wish my daughter were his patient, but this is news to me. When AG finally proved allergic to dust mites, her specialist told me in no uncertain terms, “Cover her pillows and mattress. Get rid of all but her one or two favorite stuffed animals. Don’t keep down pillows or comforters in the house because they harbor dust mites, too.”

I’ve never heard or read anything like, “You can try these covers, but there’s no proof that they’ll help her.” Now, after how many years of buying pillow and mattress covers and washing the bedding frequently and freezing the stuffed animals? Now I’m reading Oh, wait. We never had any firm evidence this stuff helped?

As for the all the statements about including dust mite elimination as part of the overall asthma maintenance/prevention/medication picture? Sounds a little too much like throwing too many darts at one tiny bullseye. Now, that dart marked “dust mite reduction” may actually hit the target for some asthma sufferers—maybe even AG—and I don’t mind continuing to throw it for now, but I’d sure like at least some evidence that it helps.

3 responses to “Friday List: 3 Reactions to the Denmark Dust Mite Review”

  1. GeorgeandWheezie says:

    Well, like statistics, they say there are studies out there that can prove/disprove almost anything. It’s tough for those of us without medical degrees to wade through all of this sometimes. I just think we can’t have a knee-jerk reaction and just chase all the latest research.

    I’m glad you’re posting all sides of this issue. I am wondering myself whether the critics of this study are decrying it because they have some sort of stake in the companies that profit off the dust mite fight?

  2. Asthmagirl says:

    off topic from my blog…
    You know, my example should be the standard. Although I will admit that he gave me next to no info at first… I think we both hoped it would just go away. But once it started getting ugly, he really rose to the occasion and became the guy. And that’s what I wish other asthmatics had.

  3. Asthma Mom » Asthma Mom’s Glossary of Equipment Terms says:

    […] Recent research suggests HEPA filters and other products are probably ineffective against the effects of overall indoor dust mite load on asthma. […]