April 15, 2007, 9:23 PM CT
Breathing for better lung health
While working to find novel ways to treat the life-threatening disease of cystic fibrosis, scientists at the University of North Carolina have discovered that the rhythmic motion of the lungs during normal breathing is a critical regulator of the clearance of bacteria and other noxious materials. Their research, funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the National Institute of Health, is reported in the latest issue of The Journal of Physiology.
Their findings have important implications in the understanding and therapy of cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common fatal genetic disease in the United States (30,000 sufferers) and the UK (7,500 sufferers). As a result of CF, the body produces abnormally thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs, leading to difficulty in breathing and chronic, life-threatening lung infections.
Dr. Brian Button and his colleagues at the University of North Carolinas Cystic Fibrosis Research and Treatment Center observed that the rhythmic motion of the lung during normal breathing is important in establishing the rate of mucus clearance and can help the lung in responding to changes in lung environment, such as during a lung infection.
More importantly, in CF, they observed that rhythmic motion of the lung can result in re-hydration of the airways and acceleration of mucus clearance, thus promoting lung health in CF patients. The scientists speculate that this may explain the preservation of mucus clearance in young CF patients previous to the onset of chronic infections.........
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April 15, 2007, 9:14 PM CT
alcohol and sleep-related breathing disorder
Increased usual alcohol consumption among men is linked to an increased risk of a mild or worse sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD), as per a research studyreported in the April 15th issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM).
The study, authored by Paul E. Peppard, PhD, and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focused on 775 men and 645 women, who were reviewed for alcohol consumption and a sleep-related breathing disorder. It was discovered that, relative to men who consumed less alcohol, for each increment of one drink per day, men who consumed more alcohol had 25 percent greater odds of a mild or worse SRBD.
Among women, minimal to moderate alcohol consumption was not significantly linked to an increased risk of an SRBD. As per Peppard, possible explanations for this include the limited range of alcohol consumption reported by women in the study sample, reducing the ability to detect clinically important moderate associations. Alternatively, added Peppard, women may be more resistant than men to threats to nocturnal respiratory stability. Such protection may be due to hormonally-mediated increased ventilatory drive, anatomical differences or other characteristics that may provide general protection for women from events of an SRBD, noted Peppard, adding that women, for example, appear to require relatively greater increases in body mass to demonstrate weight-related increments in an SRBD in comparison to men.........
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March 25, 2007, 9:18 PM CT
Bacteria from patient's dental plaque
Patients admitted to a hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) already are seriously ill, so the last thing they need is a new infection.
Unfortunately, statistics show that as a number of as 25 percent of all patients admitted to the ICU and placed on ventilators develop pneumonia, which can be fatal.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia is a major cause of infection in the hospital, and studies have shown that this infection can add $40,000 to costs and double the length of stay of the patient in the hospital.
Ironically, it turns out that the patients own dental plaque is a major source of germs that cause ventilator-associated pneumonia.
In results to be presented today (March 23, 2007) at the International Association of Dental Research (IADR), scientists from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine show that the same bacteria identified in dental plaque of patients when they were admitted to the ICU and placed on ventilators were found later in the lungs from those who subsequently developed pneumonia.
"Our study shows that a strong relationship exists between oral and respiratory pathogens in patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia," said Paul Heo, D.D.S., a doctoral student in the UB dental schools Department of Oral Biology and first author on the study.........
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November 30, 2006, 5:02 AM CT
Go To Church To Breathe Easier
Going to church might help you breathe easier. A new study by Temple Universitys Joanna Maselko, Sc.D., observed that religious activity may protect and maintain pulmonary health in the elderly.
Pulmonary function is an important indicator of respiratory and overall health, yet little is known about the psychosocial factors that might predict pulmonary function. At the same time, religious activity is emerging as a potential health promoting factor, particularly among the elderly. We wanted to determine whether there was a correlation between the two, Maselko said.
Religious Service Attendance and Decline in Pulmonary Function in a High-Functioning Elderly Cohort, reported in the November 2006 issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, was conducted while Maselko, assistant professor of public health, was at Harvard University.
Using peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), scientists measured pulmonary function in 1,189 study subjects ranging in age from 70 to 79 years. They observed that.
regular religious service attendance (at least weekly attendance) was linked to a slower pulmonary function decline among men and women, in comparison to those who never attend services. The findings could not be explained by differences in smoking or physical activity.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
November 3, 2006, 4:57 AM CT
Heart Catheters Do Not Benefit Patients
Pulmonary artery catheter
Doctors should probably stop using pulmonary artery catheters because they do not benefit patients, say doctors from Australia in this week's BMJ.
The pulmonary artery catheter was invented in 1968. It enabled bedside monitoring in critically ill patients by measuring heart output and capillary pressure in the lungs and became widely used in intensive care units.
But reports of serious complications soon appeared and arguments for and against its use have continued ever since.
The most recent evaluation, commissioned by the NHS Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme, observed that pulmonary artery catheters do not benefit patients and concluded that withdrawing them from UK intensive care units would be cost effective.
Another recent trial in patients with acute lung injury confirmed these findings, while an analysis of 13 trials reported no overall effect of using these devices on mortality or length of hospital stay.
So what should clinicians do with all this information?
Given that the use of pulmonary artery catheters increases the risk of important complications, continued use of these devices is difficult to defend, say the authors.
The onus is now on the proponents of the pulmonary artery catheter and related devices to limit their use to clinical trials and to show that protocols based on such devices do benefit patients, they conclude.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink Source
October 1, 2006, 8:34 PM CT
Tamiflu Reduces Death From Influenza
Tamiflu (oseltamivir), is effective in reducing the risk of death linked to seasonal influenza in severely ill patients,1 as per new data presented today. Treatment of infected adults was linked to a 71 per cent reduction in mortality.1 These results demonstrate the importance of the role of antivirals in the management of seasonal influenza and highlights the seriousness and risk of mortality linked to it.
"The neuraminidase class of antivirals were originally assessed during their clinical development for their ability to reduce influenza symptom severity and duration in healthy adults", comments Dr. Allison McGeer, Primary Investigator who led today's research and Microbiologist and Infection Disease Consultant at the Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, "This new analysis contributes to the accumulating evidence that oseltamivir also has a significant impact in preventing serious complications including death in older at-risk individuals".
The population-based surveillance study was conducted during the two consecutive influenza seasons on a total of 512 patients who were admitted to hospital for illness linked to a positive test for influenza in Ontario, Canada. Over half of patients, mainly those with underlying illness, had been previously vaccinated. 84% were treated with antibacterial agents and 32% with antivirals (3% amantadine; 97% oseltamivir) at time of admission/diagnosis. Of the total patients with influenza who mandatory hospital admission, 67% were diagnosed with influenza with or without pneumonia, 13% with respiratory infection (e.g. acute bronchitis) and 62% with fever/viral syndrome. 1 Of all adult patients, 6.4% patients died and these deaths were attributed to influenza.1 Treatment of adults with an antiviral was linked to more than a two third reduction in death from influenza.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
August 21, 2006, 9:53 PM CT
Nicotine Withdrawal Begins Quickly
Smokers who have tried to quit are well aware of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal: cravings for cigarettes, mood disturbances, appetite increase and sleep problems. However, it had not previously been known when withdrawal symptoms first appear. Thomas H. Brandon, Ph.D., Director of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute's Tobacco Research & Intervention Program and his research team from Moffitt and the University of South Florida study examined this and observed that within 30 minutes, the abstaining smokers reported greater cravings for cigarettes. Results have been reported in the most recent issue of Psychopharmacology, authored by Peter S. Hendricks, Joseph, W. Ditre, and David J. Drobes, and Brandon.
The team brought 50 pack-a-day smokers into the laboratory for four hours of testing. Half the smokers were randomly selected to continue smoking as usual, while the other half were asked to abstain from smoking for the four hours. Every half-hour these participants received a series of tests. Differences between the two groups were considered evidence of nicotine withdrawal.
Within 30 minutes, the abstaining smokers reported greater cravings for cigarettes. By one hour, they reported greater anger. Increases in anxiety, sadness, and difficulty concentrating all appeared within the first three hours. Results also show that in the first half-hour the abstaining smokers already performed more poorly on a task requiring sustained attention, and that their heart rate slowed within the first hour, another withdrawal symptom.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
August 21, 2006, 9:11 PM CT
Ozone forecaster unveiled
People with asthma or other respiratory problems can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to University of Houston professors who have recently unveiled a forecasting system that provides air quality data on ozone conditions.
With the intent to not only increase public awareness, but also help Texas manage air quality issues, the Institute for Multi-dimensional Air Quality Studies (IMAQS) at UH has been operating an air quality forecasting system for a year that has been tested, fine-tuned and now determined ready for public use. Over the course of this past year, the system has been expanded and improved to serve the entire eastern half of Texas, including the Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas.
"Our ozone forecaster is more localized than others and goes into further detail," said Daewon Byun, director of IMAQS and a professor in UH's geosciences department. "For instance, while the ozone conditions may be rated unhealthy in downtown Houston on a given day, suburbs like Sugar Land and The Woodlands may actually be experiencing a good day that still is safe for outdoor activities in those specific areas. Other days, the opposite is true with downtown-area ozone levels being lower than in certain suburbs." .
By clicking on the local, regional or national maps at http://www.imaqs.uh.edu/ozone_forecast.htm
, the public can obtain a map view of daily maximum ozone levels color-coded with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health alert index. Also included are links to animations of a two-day forecast in one-hour increments. These maps and animations can help individuals, particularly those with respiratory problems, plan their day's outside activities. The Web site is updated daily with the most recent 48-hour local, regional and national forecasts, providing graphical analysis of the onset, intensity, duration and area of poor air quality conditions via access to hourly data from 165 East Texas air pollution monitors. The near real-time hourly air pollution and meteorological data, air quality indices and animations from 3-D simulations performed by IMAQS use the EPA's Community Multiscale Air Quality modeling system co-developed by Byun in 1999 while at the EPA before coming to UH.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
August 20, 2006, 2:27 PM CT
Trial Of New Asthma Treatment Calls For Volunteers
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are seeking participants for the AIR2 (Asthma Interventional Research) international, multi-center clinical trial, which explores whether a new asthma therapy improves asthma care.
The trial, the first test of the procedure in the United States, focuses on a procedure called bronchial thermoplasty to treat asthma. Early patient data from trials outside the United States suggest it may hold promise for moderate and severe asthmatic patients.
"This is an exciting trial because for the first time ever in the U.S., we are looking at a non-pharmacological therapy for asthma," says Mario Castro, M.D., principal investigator of the study at the School of Medicine and associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. "Currently, if you suffer from asthma, medicine is the only therapy available to you for relief, so there is the potential this clinical trial may change the way we care for millions of asthma sufferers."
Asthma is one of the most common and costly diseases in the world. It affects more than 20 million people in the United States alone, with an estimated 2 million emergency room visits and 5,000 deaths per year. The prevalence of asthma is on the rise, and there is no cure.........
Posted by: Scott Permalink Source
August 17, 2006, 11:36 PM CT
All Tobacco Bad For The Heart
A major Canadian-led global study has observed all forms of tobacco exposure, whether that be smoking, chewing or inhaling second hand smoke, increase the risk of heart attack.
The study by professors Salim Yusuf and Koon Teo of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences in Hamilton, is published in this week's issue of The Lancet.
In collaboration with colleagues from 52 countries, they calculated the risk of heart attack for various forms of active tobacco use (both smoking and non-smoking) and second hand smoking in all areas of the world. The INTERHEART study included data from more than 27,000 people in 52 countries. In their calculations, the researchers accounted for other lifestyle factors that could affect the heart attack risk, such as diet and age.
They observed that tobacco use in any form, including sheesha smoking popular in the Middle East and beedie smoking common in South Asia, was harmful. In comparison to people who had never smoked, smokers had a three-fold increased risk of a heart attack. Even those with relatively low levels of exposure of eight to 10 cigarettes a day doubled their risk of heart attack. Each cigarette smoked per day, increased the risk by 5.6 per cent.
However, the scientists did find that the risk of heart attack decreased with time after stopping smoking. Light smokers, those who consume fewer than 10 cigarettes a day, benefit the most. They have no excess risk three to five years after quitting. By contrast, moderate and heavy smokers of 20 or more cigarettes a day still had an excess risk of around 22 per cent, 20 years after quitting.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink Source