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November 21, 2008, 5:43 AM CT

Fall babies: Born to wheeze?

Fall babies: Born to wheeze?
It is said that timing is everything, and that certainly appears to be true for autumn infants. Children who are born four months before the height of cold and flu season have a greater risk of developing childhood asthma than children born at any other time of year, as per new research.

The study analyzed the birth and medical records of more than 95,000 children and their mothers in Tennessee to determine whether date of birth in relationship to the peak in winter respiratory viruses posed a higher risk for developing early childhood asthma. They observed that while having clinically significant bronchiolitis at any age during infancy was linked to an increased risk of childhood asthma, for autumn babies, that risk was the greatest.

"Infant age at the winter virus peak following birth independently predicts asthma development, with the highest risk being for infants born approximately four months previous to the peak, which is represented by birth in the fall months in the Northern hemisphere. Birth during this time conferred a nearly 30 percent increase in odds of developing asthma," said Tina V. Hartert, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine and director of the center for Asthma Research at Vanderbilt University, and principal investigator of the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 17, 2008, 10:23 PM CT

Asthma may be over-diagnosed by up to 30 percent

Asthma may be over-diagnosed by up to 30 percent
A new research study suggests that asthma may be over-diagnosed by up to 30 per cent in Canadian adults. The study, led by Ottawa researcher Dr. Shawn Aaron, examined 496 people from eight Canadian cities who reported receiving a diagnosis of asthma from a physician. When the individuals were retested for asthma using the accepted clinical guidelines, it was observed that 30 per cent had no evidence of asthma. Two thirds of these individuals were able to safely stop taking asthma medications. The results are reported in the November 18, 2008 edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal

"Our study suggests that there may be a substantial over-diagnosis of asthma in Canadian adults," said lead author Dr. Shawn Aaron, a Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Health Research Institute and Head of Respiratory Medicine at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa. "This is a serious issue because asthma medications are expensive and they can have side effects. Also, an inappropriate diagnosis of asthma may obscure the true cause of a patient's symptoms".

The original goal of the study was to determine if obese people were more likely to be misdiagnosed with asthma, but the results showed that misdiagnosis was just as common in people of normal weight. The prevalence of asthma in Canada and America is five per cent overall, and 10 per cent for obese people. The overall prevalence has nearly doubled in the last 20 years.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 13, 2008, 10:36 PM CT

Antibodies to cockroach and mouse proteins

Antibodies to cockroach and mouse proteins
A study released by scientists at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health shows that developing antibodies to cockroach and mouse proteins is linked to a greater risk for wheeze, hay fever, and eczema in preschool urban children as young as three years of age. The study, reported in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, is the first to focus on the links between antibody responses to cockroach and mouse proteins and respiratory and allergic symptoms in such a young age group.

"These findings increase our understanding of the relationship between immune responses to indoor allergens and the development of asthma and allergies in very young children," said lead author of the study, Kathleen Donohue, MD, fellow in Allergy and Immunology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. The study found evidence that the likelihood of developing wheeze, hay fever, and eczema in preschool urban children was significantly increased among the children who were exposed to antibodies of both cockroach and mouse allergens.

This study is part of a broader multi-year research project launched in 1998 by CCCEH that examines the health effects of exposure of pregnant women and babies to indoor and outdoor air pollutants, pesticides, and allergens. The Center's previous research findings have shown that exposure to multiple environmental pollutants is linked to an increase in risk for asthma symptoms among children. These latest findings contribute to a further understanding of how the environment impacts child health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 11, 2008, 9:00 PM CT

The miseries of allergies just may help prevent some cancers

The miseries of allergies just may help prevent some cancers
Sherman
There may be a silver -- and healthy -- lining to the miserable cloud of allergy symptoms: Sneezing, coughing, tearing and itching just may help prevent cancer -- especially colon, skin, bladder, mouth, throat, uterus and cervix, lung and gastrointestinal tract cancer, as per a new Cornell study.

These cancers, interestingly, involve organs that "interface directly with the external environment," said Paul Sherman, Cornell professor of neurobiology and behavior, who led the study. He and his colleagues analyzed 646 studies on allergies and cancers published over the past 50 years, putting together "the most comprehensive database yet available" on allergies and cancers.

The study revealed "a strong relationship" between allergies and cancer in environmentally exposed tissues, Sherman said. This relationship seldom exists, he noted, between allergies and cancers of tissues that are not directly exposed to the environment, such as cancers of the breast and prostate, as well as myelocytic leukemia and myeloma.

Moreover, the study observed that allergies associated with tissues that are exposed to environmental factors -- eczema, hives, hay fever, and animal and food allergies -- were most strongly linked to lower rates of cancers in exposed tissues.

The study, co-authored with Erica Holland '05 (now a medical student at the University of Massachusetts) and Janet Shellman Sherman, a Cornell research scientist and lecturer in neurobiology and behavior, is reported in the recent issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology (83:4).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 31, 2008, 5:26 AM CT

Drinking milk to ease milk allergy?

Drinking milk to ease milk allergy?
Giving children with milk allergies increasingly higher doses of milk over time may ease, and even help them completely overcome, their allergic reactions, as per the results of a study led by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and conducted jointly with Duke University.

Despite the small number of patients in the trial 19 the findings are illuminating and encouraging, researchers say, because this is the first-ever double-blinded and placebo-controlled study of milk immunotherapy. In the study, the scientists compared a group of children receiving milk powder to a group of children receiving placebo identical in appearance and taste to real milk powder. Neither the patients nor the researchers knew which child received which powder, a rigorous research setup that minimizes the chance for error and bias.

The findings of the study are reported online ahead of print, Oct. 28, in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

"Our findings suggest that oral immunotherapy gradually retrains the immune system to completely disregard or to better tolerate the allergens in milk that previously caused allergic reactions," says Robert Wood, M.D., senior investigator on the study and director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children's. "Albeit preliminary and requiring further study, these results suggest that oral immunotherapy may be the closest thing yet to a 'true' therapy for food allergy".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 29, 2008, 8:50 PM CT

The upside to allergies: cancer prevention

The upside to allergies: cancer prevention
A new article in the recent issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology provides good evidence that allergies are much more than just an annoying immune malfunction. They may protect against certain types of cancer.

The article, by scientists Paul Sherman, Erica Holland and Janet Shellman Sherman from Cornell University, suggests that allergy symptoms may protect against cancer by expelling foreign particles, some of which may be carcinogenic or carry absorbed carcinogens, from the organs most likely to come in with contact them. In addition, allergies may serve as early warning devices that let people know when there are substances in the air that should be avoided.

Medical scientists have long suspected an association between allergies and cancer, but extensive study on the subject has yielded mixed, and often contradictory, results. A number of studies have observed inverse associations between the two, meaning cancer patients tended to have fewer allergies in their medical history. Other studies have observed positive associations, and still others found no association at all.

In an attempt to explain these contradictions, the Cornell team reexamined nearly 650 prior studies from the past five decades. They observed that inverse allergy-cancer associations are far more common with cancers of organ systems that come in direct contact with matter from the external environmentthe mouth and throat, colon and rectum, skin, cervix, pancreas and glial brain cells. Likewise, only allergies linked to tissues that are directly exposed to environmental assaultseczema, hives, hay fever and animal and food allergieshad inverse relationships to cancers.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 7, 2008, 10:38 PM CT

Wheezing and asthma in young children

Wheezing and asthma in young children
The diagnosis of asthma in a young child may well be more challenging to pediatricians than previously appreciated, as per a review of research and clinical experience literature by Howard Eigen, M.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children appearing in the October 2008 issue of Clinical Pediatrics

"Wheezing can be serious," said Dr. Eigen, the Billie Lou Wood Professor of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine and director of pediatric pulmonology and critical care at Riley Hospital. "A comprehensive review of clinical practice and peer evaluated studies show that the difficulty of accurate diagnosis is often underestimated by pediatricians who may link it to a passing cold or other non-serious condition rather than relating it to asthma, a chronic and potentially serious disease".

Dr. Eigen noted in his study that in early childhood asthma is often under recognized and under diagnosed because the symptoms can vary widely and are similar to other common childhood illnesses, including a non-specific cough, flu and bronchitis. Establishing a diagnosis of asthma in young wheezing children also can be challenging for the doctor because the type, severity and frequency of asthma symptoms vary widely among children and, sometimes even with an individual child.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 22, 2008, 10:38 PM CT

Pollution, everyday allergens, may be sources of laryngitis

Pollution, everyday allergens, may be sources of laryngitis
Everyday exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, allergens, and air pollution may be the root of chronic cases of laryngitis, says new research presented at the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO in Chicago, IL.

Laryngitis symptoms include hoarseness of the voice, cough, and chronic clearing of the throat. Scientists and physicians generally attribute laryngitis to a viral infection and overuse of the voice. Other factors, including consistent exposure to second-hand smoke, have also been cited as a trigger.

Scientists have now found through animal models that exposure to different environmental pollutants, including dust mites and everyday air pollution, can cause what they term as "environmental laryngitis".

The findings are significant, given recent reports on diminishing air quality and increased unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution, particularly in countries like China, which could lead to more cases of laryngitis and chronic laryngitis.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 10, 2008, 8:33 PM CT

Link shown between thunderstorms and asthma attacks

Link shown between thunderstorms and asthma attacks
In the first in-depth study of its kind ever done in the Southeastern United States, scientists at the University of Georgia and Emory University have discovered a link between thunderstorms and asthma attacks in the metro Atlanta area that could have a "significant public health impact".

While a relationship between thunderstorms and increased hospital visits for asthma attacks has been known and studied worldwide for years, this is the first time a team of climatologists and epidemiologists has ever conducted a detailed study of the phenomenon in the American South.

The team, studying a database consisting of more than 10 million emergency room visits in some 41 hospitals in a 20-county area in and around Atlanta for the period between 1993 and 2004, found a three percent higher occurence rate of visits for asthma attacks on days following thunderstorms.

"While a three percent increase in risk may seem modest, asthma is quite prevalent in Atlanta, and a modest relative increase could have a significant public health impact for a region with more than five million people," said Andrew Grundstein, a climatologist in the department of geography at UGA and lead author on the research. Grundstein went on to say that "three percent is likely conservative because of limitations in this study".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 18, 2008, 9:08 PM CT

Caesarean sections associated with risk of asthma

Caesarean sections associated with risk of asthma
Babies born by Caesarean section have a 50 % increased risk of developing asthma in comparison to babies born naturally. Emergency Caesarean sections increase the risk even further. This is shown in a new study based on data from 1.7 million births registered at the Medical Birth Registry at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The goal of the study was to investigate the possible link between being born by Caesarean section and later development of asthma.

Summarised results from the study:.
  • In comparison to children born in the natural way (i.e. spontaneously and vaginally), children born by Caesarean section had an approximately 50 % increased risk of developing asthma.
  • Children born vaginally, but with assistance from vacuum or forceps, had a 20 % increased risk of asthma.
  • For children born between 1988 and 1998, planned Caesarean section was linked to an approximately 40 % increased risk of asthma while emergency Caesarean section was linked to a 60 % increased risk.
.

Why do Caesarean sections give an increased risk of asthma?

- We found a moderately strong association between birth by Caesarean section and asthma in childhood, says doctor and research fellow Mette Christophersen TollÄnes, who works for both the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care at the University of Bergen, Norway.........

Posted by: Emily      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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