Oral herpes is a very common infection of the mouth area. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1). When they are first infected, some people have symptoms while others do not. After the first infection, the virus becomes dormant (goes to sleep) in nerve tissues in the face for life. Periodically the virus is reactivated (wakes up) and causes cold sores in the mouth area. Cold sores (also called fever blisters) are small painful blisters of the lips, mouth or gums. The severity of the cold sores, and how often they recur, vary greatly between individuals. This suggests that the immunity of the infected person plays an important role.
This study is being conducted by Dr. Kari Nadeau, an allergist and immunologist at Stanford University, and Dr. Rebecca Bauer, a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Nadeau’s laboratory. The purpose of this study is to better understand how exposure to tobacco smoke affects immunity and diseases of the immune system such as asthma. Researchers will assess how tobacco smoke exposure alters the genes of immune cells in the blood that contribute to asthma and allergy. The researchers are recruiting twin pairs for this study because twin pairs provide a unique way to look at the genetics of immune responses.
If you decide to participate, you will be asked to commit to one study visit, and, if needed, a follow-up visit at ASTHMA, Inc. in Seattle, WA. During the visit you will complete a questionnaire, and the research team will collect blood, cheek swabs, urine, and saliva samples. They will also measure your height, weight, and blood pressure. They will be conducting two breathing tests (spirometry and a measurement of exhaled nitric oxide) and will administer a skin prick test for allergies. At the end of the visit, they will give you a stool collection kit to assess your microbiota (the bacteria in your digestive track) that you can complete in clinic or at home and then send the stool kit in the mail at your earliest convenience. The entire visit should last from 1.5 to 2 hours.