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October 4, 2011, 9:57 PM CT

Researchers question key quality measure for asthma

Researchers question key quality measure for asthma

Scientists studying the first national quality measure for hospitalized children have observed that no matter how strictly a health care institution followed the criteria, it had no actual impact on patient outcomes.

The researchers examined 30 hospitals with 37,267 children admitted for asthma from 2008 to 2010 and discovered that the quality of discharge planning made no difference to the rate of return to the hospital for another asthma attack in 7, 30 or 90 days.

"Our research concluded that there is no relationship between compliance with this measure and readmission rates for asthma patients," said co-author of study Marion Sills, MD, MPH and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

The findings have been published in October's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Asthma is the leading cause of admissions in children's hospitals. To help provide the best care, the Joint Commission, a non-profit that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations programs nationwide, adopted three core process measures for evaluating how hospitals treat childhood asthma.

The Children's Asthma Care (CAC) measures include giving asthma relievers upon admission, providing systemic corticosteroids and creating a home management plan of care when they are discharged. Hospitals' compliance with the first two measures was high and did not vary enough for scientists to study the impact on outcomes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 4, 2011, 8:10 AM CT

Mold exposure during infancy increases asthma risk

Mold exposure during infancy increases asthma risk
Infants who live in "moldy" homes are three times more likely to develop asthma by age 7�an age that children can be accurately diagnosed with the condition.

Study results are reported in the recent issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

"Early life exposure to mold seems to play a critical role in childhood asthma development," says Tiina Reponen, PhD, lead study author and University of Cincinnati (UC) professor of environmental health. "Genetic factors are also important to consider in asthma risk, since infants whose parents have an allergy or asthma are at the greatest risk of developing asthma."

UC and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center scientists analyzed seven years of comprehensive data for 176 children to evaluate the effects of mold exposure in early life.

The children were part of the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), a long-term population-based study that included more than 700 children from the Greater Cincinnati area. CCAAPS looked at the effects of environmental particles on childhood respiratory health and allergy development. Participants were identified during infancy as at high risk to develop allergies based on family medical history.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 13, 2011, 7:50 AM CT

Early exposure to pets does not increase children's risk of allergies

Early exposure to pets does not increase children's risk of allergies
A newly released study reported in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy reveals that keeping a dog or cat in the home does not increase children's risk of becoming allergic to the pets.

Parents of young children frequently want to know whether keeping a dog or cat in their home will increase the risk of their children becoming allergic to their pets.

Led by Ganesa Wegienka, MS, PhD, of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Henry Ford Hospital, scientists followed a group of children from birth until they reached adulthood. Periodic contact was made with the parents and the children to collect information about exposure to cats and dogs.

At age 18 years, 565 study participants supplied blood samples to the researchers, who measured antibodies to dog and cat allergens in the samples.

Results observed that being exposed to the specific animal in the first year of life was the most important exposure period, and the exposure appeared protective in some groups.

Young men whose families had kept an indoor dog during their first year of life had about half the risk of becoming sensitized to dogs in comparison to those whose families did not keep a dog in the first year of life.

Both men and women were about half as likely to be sensitized to cats if they had lived with a cat in the first year of life, in comparison to those who did not live with cats.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 5, 2011, 8:59 PM CT

New generation asthma drug could improve metabolism

New generation asthma drug could improve metabolism
Formoterol, a new generation asthma medication, shows great promise for improving fat and protein metabolism, say Australian researchers, who have tested this effect in a small sample of men. The scientists presented their results on Saturday 4 June 2011 at The Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston.

The research team comprises members of Professor Ken Ho's lab from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research as well as Professor Ric Day, a clinical pharmacologist from St. Vincent's Hospital.

Study leader, endocrinologist Dr Paul Lee, focused his PhD research on how various hormones affect metabolism. Of central importance is a class of hormones called catecholamines, which regulate heart rate, metabolism and breathing.

Formoterol is a synthetic catecholamine, the metabolic effects of which have not previously been studied in people. Therapy doses given to animals, however, have shown that it stimulates metabolism without affecting the heart.

"We have known for a long time that catecholamine influences the way the body handles nutrients, in particular fat and protein," said Lee.

"The generation of drugs before formoterol was exploited in the livestock industry around 20 years ago � to reduce the fat and increase the protein content of meat. Unfortunately, these older drugs also caused a faster heart rate".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 29, 2011, 2:18 PM CT

Why does flu trigger asthma?

Why does flu trigger asthma?
When children with asthma get the flu, they often land in the hospital gasping for air. Scientists at Children's Hospital Boston have found a previously unknown biological pathway explaining why influenza induces asthma attacks. Studies in a mouse model, published online May 29 by the journal Nature Immunology, reveal that influenza activates a newly recognized group of immune cells called natural helper cells � presenting a completely new set of drug targets for asthma.

If activation of these cells, or their asthma-inducing secretions, could be blocked, asthmatic children could be more effectively protected when they get the flu and possibly other viral infections, says senior investigator Dale Umetsu, MD, PhD, of Children's Division of Immunology.

Eventhough most asthma is allergic in nature, attacks triggered by viral infection tend to be what put children in the hospital, reflecting the fact that this type of asthma isn't well controlled by existing drugs.

"Virtually 100 percent of asthmatics get worse with a viral infection," says Umetsu. "We really didn't know how that happened, but now we have an explanation, at least for influenza".

Natural helper cells were first, very recently, discovered in the intestines and are recognized to play a role in fighting parasitic worm infections as part of the innate immune system (our first line of immune defense).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 18, 2011, 6:56 AM CT

New therapeutic target for asthma

New therapeutic target for asthma
Michael Croft, Ph.D., a researcher at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, has discovered a molecule's previously unknown role as a major trigger for airway remodeling, which impairs lung function, making the molecule a promising therapeutic target for chronic asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and several other lung conditions. A scientific paper on Dr. Croft's finding was published online today in the prestigious journal, Nature Medicine

The finding marks Dr. Croft's second major discovery with therapeutic potential for asthma. His prior finding, of a novel molecular mechanism driving lung inflammation, is the basis for a potential asthma therapy now in Phase II human clinical trials.

"Dr. Croft's continued efforts to uncover the cellular pathways influencing asthma and other lung disorders have produced remarkable results," said Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., La Jolla Institute president and chief scientific officer. "He is a researcher of the highest caliber and I believe his discoveries will someday improve the lives of millions of people around the world".

In his Nature Medicine paper entitled, "The tumor necrosis factor family member LIGHT is a target for asthmatic airway remodeling," Dr. Croft showed that blocking LIGHT's interactions with its two receptors significantly inhibited the process of airway remodeling in mouse models of chronic asthma. Airway remodeling refers to inflammation-fueled structural changes in the lungs, including fibrosis, which can occur over time and result in declining lung function that strongly contributes to conditions such as COPD, chronic asthma, and several other respiratory disorders.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 1, 2011, 7:50 AM CT

Good-bye to cat allergy

Good-bye to cat allergy
Good-bye itching, watering eyes and sneezing. McMaster University scientists have developed a vaccine which successfully treats people with an allergy to cats.

Traditionally, frequent allergy shots have been considered the most effective way to bring relief � other than getting rid of the family pet -- for the eight to 10% of the population allergic to cats.

Both options � one difficult and costly, the other troubling - may now be tossed aside thanks to the work of immunologist Mark Larch�, professor in the Department of Medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Allergy & Immune Tolerance.

Building on research he's conducted for the past 10 years in Canada and Britain, Larch� and his research team have developed a vaccine which is effective and safe with almost no side effects. The research is published in a recent (January 2011) issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, a leading journal in the allergy field.

The scientists took one protein (molecule) that cats secrete on their fur which causes the majority of allergic problems. Using blood samples from 100 patient volunteers allergic to cats, they deconstructed the molecule and identified short regions within the protein which activate T-cells (helper cells that fight infection) in the immune system.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 24, 2011, 7:58 AM CT

Steroids to treat asthma: How safe are they?

Steroids to treat asthma: How safe are they?
Children experiencing an asthma attack who are treated with a short burst of oral steroids may have a transient depression of immune response as per a newly released study led by Universit� de Montr�al. These findings, published in this month's issue of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonology, have implications for asthmatic children who have flare-ups and who appears to be exposed to new contagious diseases.

"There is no question that the administration of corticosteroids reduces the risk and duration of hospital admission in children with acute asthma remain the most effective therapy for moderate and severe asthma exacerbations," says first author Francine M. Ducharme, a Universit� de Montr�al professor and paediatrician and researcher at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center. "However, the safety profile of these medications continues to raise concerns among parents and physicians. New concerns over their possible impact on the immune system stem from rare reports linking or severe chickenpox infections linked with corticosteroid administration".



Reduced immune response to new triggers


Ducharme and his colleagues reviewed the immune response of children aged 3 to 17 years, who had arrived at the emergency department (ED) with an asthma attack. All subjects were given immune triggers (known as antigens) and the immune response between those who received corticosteroids versus those who did not were compared.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 7, 2011, 7:59 AM CT

Allergies lower risk of glioma

Allergies lower risk of glioma
The more allergies one has, the lower the risk of developing low- and high-grade glioma, as per data published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago, used self-reported data on medically diagnosed allergies and antihistamine use for 419 patents with glioma and 612 cancer-free patients from Duke University and NorthShore University HealthSystem. Controls had no history of brain tumors or any cancers, and did not have a history of neurodegenerative disease.

"Other studies have observed a connection between allergies and glioma risk," said Bridget McCarthy, Ph.D., a research associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. "In this study we confirmed that allergies are protective and observed that the more allergies one has, the more protected he or she is."

Participants completed a web-based or telephone survey and were asked if they were medically diagnosed with allergies or asthma at least two years previous to the survey, and if so, the age of diagnosis. In addition, they were asked to indicate the number of individual allergies within each of the following groupings: seasonal, pet, medication, food and other.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 1, 2010, 7:03 AM CT

Pregnant women who eat peanuts

Pregnant women who eat peanuts
Scientists have observed that allergic infants appears to be at increased risk of peanut allergy if their mothers ingested peanuts during pregnancy. The data are published in the November 1 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Led by Scott H. Sicherer, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, scientists at five U.S. study sites reviewed 503 infants aged three to 15 months with likely milk or egg allergies or with significant eczema and positive allergy tests to milk or egg, which are factors linked to an increased risk of peanut allergy. The study infants had no prior diagnosis of peanut allergy. A total of 140 infants had strong sensitivity to peanut based on blood tests, and consumption of peanut during pregnancy was a significant predictor of this test result.

"Scientists in recent years have been uncertain about the role of peanut consumption during pregnancy on the risk of peanut allergy in infants," said Dr. Sicherer. "While our study does not definitively indicate that pregnant women should not eat peanut products during pregnancy, it highlights the need for further research in order make recommendations about dietary restrictions".

In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that women whose infants were at increased risk of allergies based upon family history consider avoiding peanut products while pregnant and breast feeding. However, the recommendation was withdrawn in 2008 due to limited scientific evidence to support it. The Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), which was just awarded a renewed $29.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, is conducting this ongoing, observational study to help better understand the risk factors behind a child's developing peanut allergy, as well as allergies to milk and egg. The Consortium is also studying novel therapys for food allergies.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 6, 2010, 7:49 AM CT

Air pollution alters immune function

Air pollution alters immune function
Berkeley Exposure to dirty air is associated with decreased function of a gene that appears to increase the severity of asthma in children, as per a joint study by scientists at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.

While air pollution is known to be a source of immediate inflammation, this newly released study provides one of the first pieces of direct evidence that explains how some ambient air pollutants could have long-term effects.

The findings, reported in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, come from a study of 181 children with and without asthma in the California cities of Fresno and Palo Alto.

The scientists observed that air pollution exposure suppressed the immune system's regulatory T cells (Treg), and that the decreased level of Treg function was associated with greater severity of asthma symptoms and lower lung capacity. Treg cells are responsible for putting the brakes on the immune system so that it doesn't react to non-pathogenic substances in the body that are linked to allergy and asthma. When Treg function is low, the cells fail to block the inflammatory responses that are the hallmark of asthma symptoms.

The findings have potential implications for altered birth outcomes linked to polluted air, much the same as those noted for the effects of cigarette smoke.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 20, 2010, 7:16 AM CT

Possible alternate therapy for asthma

Possible alternate therapy for asthma
A drug usually used for the therapy of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) successfully treats adults whose asthma is not well-controlled on low doses of inhaled corticosteroids, reported scientists supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

"This study's results show that tiotropium bromide might provide an alternative to other asthma therapys, expanding options available to patients for controlling their asthma," said NHLBI Acting Director Susan B. Shurin, M.D. "The goal in managing asthma is to prevent symptoms so patients can pursue activities to the fullest".

As per the study, adding tiotropium bromide to low doses of inhaled corticosteroids is more effective at controlling asthma than doubling inhaled corticosteroids alone, and as effective as adding the long-acting beta agonist salmeterol. The results were published online today in the New England Journal (NEJM) and presented at the Annual Congress of the European Respiratory Society in Barcelona, Spain.

Increasing inhaled corticosteroids or supplementing them with long-acting beta agonists like salmeterol are the two preferred therapy options available for adults whose asthma is poorly controlled on low doses of inhaled corticosteroids. However, higher doses of corticosteroids do not improve symptoms for all patients and can have significant side effects, while long-acting beta agonists have come under scrutiny for their risk of worsening asthma symptoms that could result in hospitalization and, rarely, death.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 26, 2010, 7:09 AM CT

Vitamin D to treat allergy in cystic fibrosis patients

Vitamin D to treat allergy in cystic fibrosis patients
Aug. 25 Vitamin D appears to be an effective treatment to treat and even prevent allergy to a common mold that can cause severe complications for patients with cystic fibrosis and asthma, as per scientists from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Louisiana State University School of Medicine.

Results of the study, led by Jay Kolls, M.D., Ph.D., a lung disease researcher at Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, are reported in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation

Aspergillus fumigatus, is one of the most common airborne molds and while it does not cause illness in the vast majority of those who inhale it, it can cause life threatening allergic symptoms in patients with cystic fibrosis. As a number of as 15 percent of patients with cystic fibrosis will develop a severe allergic response, known as Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA). Some patients with asthma also can develop ABPA.

The research team led by Dr. Kolls studied cystic fibrosis patients from the Antonio J. and Janet Palumbo Cystic Fibrosis Center at Children's Hospital who had A. fumigatus infections. One group had developed ABPA, while the other hadn't. The scientists observed that the ABPA patients had a heightened response by immune cells known as type 2 T helper (Th2) cells, and that a protein known as OX40L was critical to this heightened response. The heightened Th2 response correlated with lower levels of vitamin D as compared with the non-ABPA patients. Adding vitamin D to these cells in the laboratory substantially reduced the expression of OX40L and increased the expression of other proteins critical to the development of allergen tolerance.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 14, 2010, 7:24 AM CT

Interferon for asthma

Interferon for asthma
An immune-system protein already used to treat diseases like multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and a variety of cancers might also aid asthma patients, UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have found.

The researchers determined that the protein interferon blocks the development of a population of immune cells known to cause asthma. These cells are members of a class of T lymphocytes, called T helper 2 cells, or Th2 cells. Under normal circumstances, Th2 cells help protect against infections by secreting chemicals that induce inflammation; however, in some individuals, these Th2 cells can also promote allergic responses to normally harmless substances, including animal dander, pollens and pollutants. Once Th2 cells become reactive to these substances, they promote all of the inflammatory processes common to allergic diseases like asthma and atopic dermatitis.

The findings, available online and in the July 15 issue of the Journal of Immunology, suggest that interferon might be a valuable and readily available treatment for individuals with asthma.

"This finding is incredibly important, because humans are being treated with interferon for a variety of diseases, yet no one has tried treating asthma patients with interferon," said Dr. J. David Farrar, assistant professor of immunology and molecular biology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. "The current therapies for asthma are inhalers and steroids, both of which offer only temporary relief."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 24, 2010, 11:18 PM CT

Moldy homes a serious risk for severe asthma

Moldy homes a serious risk for severe asthma
Exposure to high levels of fungus may increase the risk of severe asthma attacks among people with certain chitinase gene variants, as per a research studyfrom Harvard Medical School, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The research was published online on the American Thoracic Society's journal Web site ahead of the print edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

"We observed that the interaction between environmental mold exposure and certain variants of chitinase genes were positively linked to severe asthma exacerbations requiring hospitalization," said lead researcher, Ann Wu, assistant professor at the at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.

Chitinases break down chitin, a component in a number of fungi, and are induced during allergic inflammation. It has been suggested by past research that these could be biomarkers of inflammation. Moreover, certain variants of chitinase genes are known to be expressed more heavily in people with asthma.

The scientists used data from the Childhood Asthma Management Program, a multicenter trial that enrolled children between the ages of 5 and 12 with mild to moderate persistent asthma. Mold measures were taken in the subjects' homes at the beginning of the study, and homes were classified as having greater or less than 25,000 mold colonies per gram of household dust.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 17, 2010, 7:45 PM CT

Stress during pregnancy and asthma in offspring

Stress during pregnancy and asthma in offspring
Stress during pregnancy may raise the risk of asthma in offspring, as per scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The scientists investigated differences in immune function markers in cord blood between infants born to mothers in high stress environments and those born to mothers with lower stress and found marked differences in patterns that appears to be linked to asthma risk during the later part of life.

"This is the first study in humans to show that increased stress experienced during pregnancy in these urban, largely minority women, is linked to different patterns of cord blood cytokine production to various environmental stimuli, relative to babies born to lower-stressed mothers," said Rosalind Wright, M.D., M.P.H., associate doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The findings have been published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Asthma is known to be more prevalent among ethnic minorities and among disadvantaged urban communities, but the disparity is not completely explained by known physical factors. Urban women living in the inner-city also experience significant stress, especially minority women.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 9, 2010, 8:28 AM CT

Asthma program specifically tailored to teens

Asthma program specifically tailored to teens
An asthma program specifically tailored to teens could help those in rural areas manage their disease and avoid potentially fatal complications, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.

Black males have a death rate from asthma that is six times greater than their white counterparts, and Dr. Dennis Ownby, chief in the MCG School of Medicine Section of Allergy and Immunology, believes asthma rates are as bad in rural areas as they are in inner cities.

"The prevalence is probably the same in rural areas," he said. "But teens from those areas already face a number of other problems that can complicate their disease poor housing quality, air pollution, more trouble getting to doctors and smaller, less-equipped hospitals".

Forgetting to take medications or carry rescue inhalers only exacerbates the problem, as does exposure to tobacco either from smoking or second-hand smoke. Dr. Ownby said previous studies have shown smoking is more prevalent in rural areas than inner-cities.

He and other researchers think that Puff City, a culturally-tailored intervention program aimed at three key areas reduction of tobacco exposure, adherence to medicine and attack readiness could help at-risk teens better manage their asthma.

Over the next three years, with $2.1 million in funding from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Drs. Ownby and Martha Tingen, a nurse researcher at the Georgia Prevention Institute, will work with 300 Ninth- to 11th-graders with asthma from Burke, Jefferson and McDuffie counties. Half of the teens will be exposed to traditional educational asthma Web sites; the other half will use Puff City.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 8, 2010, 7:56 AM CT

Estrogen-only HRT may increase risk of asthma

Estrogen-only HRT may increase risk of asthma
Oestrogen-only hormone replacement treatment (HRT) may increase the risk of developing asthma after the menopause, suggests a large scale study published ahead of print in the journal Thorax

The authors base their findings on 57, 664 women, who were quizzed about their use of HRT and development of asthma symptoms every two years between 1990 and 2002.

All the women were taking part in the French E3N study, which includes almost 100, 000 women born between 1925 and 1950, and is the French component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

None of these women had asthma when menopausal symptoms began.

The monitoring period equated to 495,448 person years in all, of which over a third was accounted for by women who had not used HRT (35.7%).

Prior users made up 4.5% while information on how long HRT was used was not known for a further 4%. Of the remainder, just under 56% were recent users of HRT.

Between 1990 and 2002, 569 women were newly diagnosed with asthma, corresponding to a rate of 1.15 cases per 1000 women a year.

Compared with women who had never used any form of HRT, those who did use it were 21% more likely to develop asthma, after adjusting for factors likely to influence the results.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 30, 2009, 7:56 AM CT

Asthmatic care of minority children

Asthmatic care of minority children
Dr. Glenn Flores, UT Southwestern Medical Center.
UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have observed that informed adults can help families stave off complications linked to asthma. The findings, available online and in the recent issue of Pediatrics, suggest that interventions by parent mentors caregivers of asthmatic children who have received specialized topical training can effectively reduce wheezing, asthma attacks, emergency room visits and missed adult workdays.

"Childhood asthma disproportionately affects urban minority children," said Dr. Glenn Flores, professor of pediatrics and the study's main author. "Asthma mortality among African-American children alone is almost five times higher than for white children. The goal for this study was to determine whether parent mentors would be more effective than traditional asthma care in improving asthma outcomes for minority children".

Mentors in the study were parents or caregivers who got professional training from a nurse asthma specialist and a program coordinator on a variety of asthma-correlation topics. Training sessions and a manual were used to present examples of improving asthmatic care and focused on the importance of consistent therapy. The manual also discussed keeping asthmatic children out of hospitals, asthma medications and triggers, and cultural issues that can affect care.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 20, 2009, 8:48 AM CT

Depression in the mother and asthma in the child

Depression in the mother and asthma in the child
Kristin Riekert, PhD
Asthma symptoms can worsen in children with depressed mothers, as per research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center published online in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Analyzing data from interviews with 262 mothers of African-American children with asthma - a population disproportionately affected by this inflammatory airway disorder - the Hopkins researchers observed that children whose mothers had more depressive symptoms had more frequent asthma symptoms during the six-months of the study. On the other hand, children whose mothers reported fewer depressive symptoms had less frequent asthma symptoms.

Scientists tracked ups and downs in maternal depression as correlation to the frequency of symptoms among children.

"Even though our research was not set up to measure just how much a mom's depression increased the frequency of her child's symptoms, a clear pattern emerged in which the latter followed the earlier," says senior investigator Kristin Riekert, Ph.D., a pediatric psychology expert and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Adherence Research Center.

But while maternal depression appeared to aggravate a child's asthma, the opposite was not true: How often a child had symptoms did not seem to affect the mother's depressive symptoms, an important finding that suggests maternal depression is an independent risk factor that can portend a child's symptoms, scientists say.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 20, 2009, 8:44 AM CT

A new weapon against allergies and asthma

A new weapon against allergies and asthma
Researchers at Johns Hopkins and their colleagues have developed sugar-coated polymer strands that selectively kill off cells involved in triggering aggressive allergy and asthma attacks. Their advance is a significant step toward crafting pharmaceuticals to fight these often life-endangering conditions in a new way.

For more than a decade, a team led by Bruce S. Bochner, M.D., director of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has studied a unique protein known as Siglec-8. This protein, whose name is an acronym for Sialic Acid-binding, Immunoglobulin-like LECtin number 8, is present on the surfaces of a few types of immune cells, including eosinophils, basophils and mast cells. These different cell types have diverse but cooperative roles in normal immune function and allergic diseases. When functioning correctly, they are a valuable aid to keeping the body healthy and infection-free. However, in allergic reactions and asthma attacks, the cells unleash an overwhelming response that typically harms the body more than it helps.

The scientists found in prior studies that when they bound antibodies that specifically target Siglec-8 to the protein on eosinophils, the cells promptly died, an effect that might be useful in stemming an allergy or asthma attack. Since producing antibodies can be expensivea potential roadblock to using them as pharmaceuticals in the futurethe scientists sought another way to activate this protein.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 5, 2009, 8:23 AM CT

Acetaminophen may cause asthma

Acetaminophen may cause asthma
New research shows that the widely used pain reliever acetaminophen appears to be linked to an increased risk of asthma and wheezing in both children and adults exposed to the drug. Scientists from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, conducted a systematic review and metaanalysis of 19 clinical studies (total subjects=425,140) that compared the risk of asthma or wheezing with acetaminophen exposure.

The analysis showed that the pooled odds ratio (odds ratio for all studies combined) for asthma among users of acetaminophen was 1.63. The risk of asthma in children who used acetaminophen in the year previous to asthma diagnosis or in the first year of life was elevated to 1.60 and 1.47, respectively.

Furthermore, results showed a slight increase in the risk of asthma and wheezing with prenatal use of acetaminophen by mothers. Scientists speculate that acetaminophen's lack of inhibition of cyclooxygenase, the key enzyme involved in the inflammatory response of asthma, appears to be one explanation for the potential link between acetaminophen use and asthma.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 5, 2009, 8:22 AM CT

Women with asthma may benefit from oral contraceptives

Women with asthma may benefit from oral contraceptives
New research shows that during natural menstrual cycles, women with asthma who were not taking oral contraceptives (OC) had lower exhaled nitric oxide levels (eNO), a marker of airway inflammation linked to asthma, than women who were taking OC.

Scientists from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, studied 17 women with asthma during their menstrual cycles. Results showed that individuals not using oral contraceptives (OC) had higher mean eNO levels than women using OC.

Furthermore, among women not using oral contraceptives, an increase in estrogen levels was linked to a decrease in eNO, while an increase in progesterone was significantly linked to an increase in eNO. Scientists speculate that OC may have a potential role in the management of premenopausal women with asthma.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists at Yale have brought to light a mechanism that regulates the way an internal organelle, the Golgi apparatus, duplicates as cells prepare to divide, according to a report in Science Express.Graham Warren, professor of cell biology, and colleagues at Yale study Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite that causes Sleeping Sickness. Like a number of parasites, it is exceptionally streamlined and has only one of each internal organelle, making it ideal for studying processes of more complex organisms that have a number of copies in each cell.

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