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March 15, 2006, 6:28 AM CT

Reducing Fine Particulate Air Pollution May Save Lives

Reducing Fine Particulate Air Pollution May Save Lives
Investigators who extended the Harvard Six Cities fine particulate air pollution study by eight years found that reduced levels of tiny particle pollution during this period lowered mortality risk for participants.

The results appear in the second issue for March 2006 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

The findings of the original Harvard Six Cities study (1979 to 1990) revealed an association between levels of fine particulate matter pollution and mortality risk. The new study, which was conducted from 1990 to 1998, reports on this later period of reduced air pollution concentration.

Francine Laden, Sc.D., of Channing Laboratory in Boston, Massachusetts, and three associates found that the largest drops in adjusted mortality rates were in cities with the greatest reduction in fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5). The investigators' findings remained valid even after setting controls for the general increase in adult life expectancy that occurred in the U.S. during both study periods (1979 to 1989 and 1990 to 1998).

"This reduction was observed specifically for deaths due to cardiovascular and respiratory disease and not from lung cancer, a disease with a longer latency period and less reversibility," said Dr. Laden.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source

March 14, 2006, 7:25 AM CT

Radon And Lung Cancer

Radon And Lung Cancer
Scientists and researchers point out that recently there is an increase in the number of lung cancer diagnosis among nonsmokers. This is particularly true for women. Recent sad and untimely demise of Dana Reeve has heightened public awareness about lung cancer, particularly among people who have never smoked.

While cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of lung cancer, other factors such as passive smoking and exposure to radon gas from the house environment are increasingly coming in to highlight. Lung cancer from smoking and passing exposure to smoke claims an estimated 163,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. every year. It is estimated that radon is the cause of another 21,000 cases of lung cancer deaths annually in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

Experts claim that a number of of these deaths due to exposure to radon gas could be prevented if enough precautions are taken. Nationally, about 1 in 15 homes has high radon levels, and that number is higher in some states.

It is not possible to detect the presence of radon gas in your house environment because it is a colorless, odorless tasteless gas. Radon gas is produced as part of the natural decay process of uranium. Areas, which have high content of mineral such as some mountainous areas, may have a higher risk of increased levels of radon gas.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink

March 7, 2006, 6:54 PM CT

A tribute to Dana Reeves

A tribute to Dana Reeves
When Dana Reeves announced the news of her lung cancer in August nobody expected that she would go away so quickly. The singer-actress Dana Reeves married the super star of the "Superman" movies and soon found herself to be devoted his care and his cause after he was paralyzed. Less than a year after her husband's death she was diagnosed with lung cancer and she died, a year-and-a-half after her husband because of this disease. She was 44 years old.

On 12th of January she belted out Carole King's "Now and Forever" at a packed Madison Square Garden during a ceremony honoring hockey star Mark Messier, a friend. She looked quite healthy at that time and this sad demise was sudden and unexpected.

It is not surprising for a number of of us who have seen the realities of patients who are suffering from this awful disease.

Dana Reeve, who lived in Pound Ridge, died Monday night at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center in Manhattan, said the Christopher Reeve Foundation president Kathy Lewis.

Officials would not discuss Reeve's therapy or say when she entered the hospital. But Lewis said she visited her there on Friday, when Reeve was "tired but with her typical sense of humor and smile, always trying to make other people feel good, her characteristic personality".........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink     

February 22, 2006, 10:57 PM CT

Obesity and asthma medications

Obesity and asthma medications Marc Peters-Golden, M.D
As the nation's collective waistline has swelled in recent decades, rates of asthma diagnoses also have accelerated. Indeed, much research has affirmed a link between the two conditions.

But doctors also recognize that asthma may not behave the same way among people who have different body types. With a variety of asthma medications on the market, what kinds work best for lean people and what kinds work best for obese people? The answer may be different for each group.

A new study suggests that people who are overweight or obese may have better results with the prescription pill sold as Singulair than with a type of inhaled steroid, while leaner people may have better luck with an inhaled steroid, called beclomethasone and sold as beclovent, vanceril and other brand names. The findings are reported in the new issue of the European Respiratory Journal.

"It is increasingly recognized that obese people are more prone to develop asthma, but there is no information about whether obesity influences people's responses to particular asthma medications," says lead author Marc Peters-Golden, M.D., professor of internal medicine and director of the Fellowship Program in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

"Our findings are the first to suggest the possibility that obesity might be a factor that influences how well asthmatics respond to particular medications," Peters-Golden says.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

January 28, 2006, 5:01 PM CT

Thermal Energy Procedure For Asthma

Thermal Energy Procedure For Asthma
Up until now, if you suffer from asthma, medicine has been the only therapy available to you for relief. But now, clinical scientists at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) hope to open up a new avenue to alleviate the debilitating symptoms of asthma - through an investigative bronchoscopic procedure where the smooth muscle of the airway, which causes the spasm, is reduced using thermal energy.

"Even though the smooth muscle in your airway serves no identifiable purpose, when something does go wrong with it, it can cause problems," explains Ali Musani, MD, an interventional pulmonologist at Penn and principal investigator of the study. "It can constrict, tighten, and narrow the airway considerably -- causing real health consequences for asthmatics".

Interventional pulmonologists will explore, for the first time in the United States, a new way to treat asthma. Physicians will actually go into the airways with a bronchoscope, which is a routine procedure, and by generating and applying thermal energy, will reduce areas of underlying smooth muscle in the small to medium size airways with a new medical device. The Alairandreg; System - which is manufactured by Asthmatx, Inc. - consists of a single-use device and a controller that delivers thermal energy to the bronchial wall during an outpatient bronchoscopic procedure known as Bronchial Thermoplasty™.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 11, 2006, 8:13 PM CT

Resistant Bacteria In Intensive Care Units

Resistant Bacteria In Intensive Care Units
A dangerous drug-resistant bacterium is becoming more prevalent in a number of intensive care units, according to an article in the Feb. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is responsible for a variety of infections that patients often acquire in the hospital. Skin infections are the most common, but MRSA can also infect the heart, the lungs, and the digestive tract. The emergence of MRSA and other drug-resistant bacteria may be due in part to over-prescribing and overuse of antibiotics.

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined MRSA data from more than 1,200 intensive care units (ICUs) from 1992 to 2003. They found that in 1992, 36 percent of S. aureus isolates were drug-resistant; but in 2003, 64 percent of isolates were MRSA, an increase of about 3 percentage points per year.

Despite the increase in MRSA prevalence, there was also a decrease in MRSA that was resistant to multiple drugs. The scientists hypothesize that the influx of MRSA strains from the community might have replaced those multidrug-resistant strains associated with the hospital.

"Unlike traditional MRSA the community strain is very fit - it causes infection in healthy people," said CDC epidemiologist Dr. Monina Klevens. "When it is introduced into a hospital, where ill patients are more vulnerable to infection, it has the potential to cause significant morbidity and mortality".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink

January 11, 2006, 7:42 PM CT

Reducing Secondhand Smoke in Homes

Reducing Secondhand Smoke in Homes
People who see news stories and advertisements about the dangers of secondhand smoke are more likely to feel that it is harmful, and may restrict smoking at home, according to new research published in the American Journal of Health Behavior.

The study by W. Douglas Evans, of the nonprofit research corporation RTI International, and his colleagues found that anti-secondhand smoke media messages have a strong indirect effect on smoking restrictions in the home.

Anti-secondhand smoke media account for 10 percent of people's negative attitudes about secondhand smoke, but these negative attitudes explain nearly 60 percent of home smoking restrictions, Evans said.

"Media work through changing people's attitudes to get them to change home smoking rules," he said.

People may "have to process the information" they get from the media through family discussions or through one person in a household taking a strong position on secondhand smoke before the change in attitude becomes a change in home restrictions, Evans suggested.

According to 2003 statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke exposure is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Secondhand smoke exposure has been linked to lung cancer and heart disease in adults and severe respiratory infections and asthma, especially in infants and young children.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

January 9, 2006, 10:08 PM CT

Why Blacks have lower lung cancer surgery rates?

Why Blacks have lower  lung cancer surgery rates? Christopher Lathan, MD
Even when they have equal access to specialized care, blacks with potentially curable lung cancer are about half as likely as whites to undergo surgery that could save their lives, as per a studyby Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers.

Designed to identify the causes of racial discrepancies in lung cancer therapy in the United States, the research ruled out unequal access to medical care as the sole explanation. It did show that blacks were somewhat less likely to be offered lung cancer surgery, and were slightly more likely to refuse it than were whites. Overall, the study found that blacks who had equal access to care were 45 percent less likely than whites to have lung cancer surgery.

These findings point to a subtle and complex "communications problem" underlying the inequality, said Christopher Lathan, MD, of Dana-Farber and lead author of the report that is published online by the Journal of Clinical Oncology and will be in the journal's Jan. 20 print issue. "Something's not happening. There was no specific reason that could be found, but there needs to be more attention paid to the doctor-patient interaction."

The generally poorer health of blacks and other racial minorities is often blamed on social and financial obstacles to obtaining medical care. The new study, however, documents that the lower rate of surgery for black lung cancer patients "is not just about access to care or not being physically able to undergo therapy," said Craig Earle, MD, of Dana-Farber and the paper's senior author. "There still seems to be a racial disparity."........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink

January 4, 2006

Telephone counseling for smokers

Telephone counseling for smokers
People seeking help to quit smoking have a number of options, from support groups to nicotine replacement to prescription drugs designed to lessen the urge to light up. Now Washington University scientists and BJC HealthCare are testing another one: telephone counseling.

The Call-2-Quit project, funded by a three-year, $1.35 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will compare two approaches to smoking cessation telephone counseling. Both interventions include discussion of key tasks for quitting smoking, but they differ in counseling style and in the range of topics that are covered.

Over the course of several weeks, those who call for phone counseling will participate in seven sessions with trained smoking cessation counselors to learn about methods that may help them stay away from cigarettes.

"We want to provide state-of-the-art counseling," says psychology expert Mark S. Walker, Ph.D., instructor of medicine in Washington University's Division of Health Behavior Research and the study's principal investigator. "The program will vary from person to person, but all callers will receive information about key topics, including avoiding temptation, use of nicotine replacement treatment and overcoming barriers to quitting."

The study will involve employees of BJC HealthCare who are participating in an initiative called Help for Your Health, which was launched two years ago to improve the health of BJC's 26,000 employees.

"BJC HealthCare is committed to helping our employees take charge of their health. Decreasing the incidence of smoking is one of the fastest ways to improving health," according to Steven Lipstein, President and CEO of BJC HealthCare. "Participation in the Call-2-Quit study is one of several initiatives where BJC is taking an active role to address the deadly habit of tobacco use."........

JoAnn      Permalink

December 25, 2005, 10:32 AM CT

Merry Christmas To All Our Readers

Merry Christmas To All Our Readers
Medicineworld wishes all our readers merry Christmas.

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Oh, what fun it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh

Jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Oh, what fun it is to ride

In a one horse open sleigh........

Daniel      Permalink

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