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September 14, 2007, 5:12 AM CT

Children in affluent countries more likely to develop allergy-related asthma

Children in affluent countries more likely to develop allergy-related asthma
Children with allergic sensitizations in economically developed countries are much more likely to develop asthma than similarly sensitized children in poorer countries, as per a team of international researchers.

The global research study is the first to link economic development to differences in rates of asthma symptoms and allergic sensitization, based on examination of a large, multi-center cross-sectional study of 8- to 12-year-old children who participated in Phase Two of the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood (ISAAC).

The findings were reported in the second issue for September of the American Thoracic Societys American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Atopic sensitization has long been known to be correlation to childhood asthma, wrote Gudrun Weinmayr, M.D., M.P.H., of the Institute of Epidemiology of Ulm University in Gera number of, and lead investigator of the study. Dr. Weinmayr noted that the strongest relationships have been found in studies in affluent western countries. Thus, it may be that the link between asthma and atopic sensitization differs between countries.

Dr. Weinmayr and his colleagues reviewed parents answers about their childrens respiratory symptoms from over 54,000 standardized questionnaires; assessed the results of more than 31,000 skin-prick tests; and analyzed the serum levels of allergen-specific IgE in nearly 9,000 children from 22 countries, from rural African to urban Europe.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 5:02 AM CT

Mold linked to asthma

Mold linked to asthma
Image courtesy of .homemoldtestkit
A Cardiff University study has observed that removing indoor mold improves the symptoms of people with asthma.

Asthma UK figures show the prevalence of asthma in Wales is among the highest in the world, with 260,000 people receiving therapy for their asthma with the rate of hospital admissions for adults 12 per cent more than anywhere else in the UK.

Scientists in the School of Medicine asked patients with asthma living in two areas of South Wales if they noticed mold growing inside their houses which was then confirmed by a trained observer. In half of the houses with mold (chosen at random), the mold was removed (using a fungicidal wash to kill any remaining mold) and ventilation was improved by means of a fan in the loft. In the other houses, mold removal was delayed for twelve months.

Dr Michael Burr, School of Medicines Department of Primary Care and Public Health said: In the houses where mold was removed, the symptoms of asthma improved and the use of inhalers decreased more than in the other houses. Removing mold also led to improvements in other symptoms: sneezing, runny or blocked noses, and itchy-watery eyes.

There was no clear effect on measurements of breathing, but this may have been because patients used their inhalers as needed so that they could always breathe freely.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 31, 2007, 5:01 AM CT

Some Kids Are Being Misdiagnosed With Asthma

Some Kids Are Being Misdiagnosed With Asthma
Typically vocal cord dysfunction (vcd) is the sudden, abnormal narrowing of the vocal cords during inhalation causing obstruction of the airflow, and is characterized by a noise that can mimic the sound of wheezing. A VCD attack can easily be mistaken for an asthma attack though it does not respond to asthma medications.

Treatment of VCD relies on correct identification of the disorder using breathing and relaxation techniques to help the vocal cords relax. During an acute VCD attack, spirometry (a device that measures airflows) can show patterns that are highly suggestive of VCD.

Doctors at Columbus Childrens Hospital performed a clinical research study using spirometry in Childrens Emergency Department to try to identify adolescents who had findings suggestive of VCD in comparison to an acute asthma attack. The year-long study (February 2005-February 2006) included patients 12-21-years-old who suffered from acute episodes of respiratory distress. The manuscript was reported in the recent issue of Pediatric Pulmonology.

Both asthma and VCD are very common, and emergency departments across the country are seeing more and more kids with these kinds of symptoms, said Karen McCoy, MD, chief of Pulmonology at Columbus Childrens Hospital and a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. While they may appear similar to parents, the conditions act differently and must be treated differently. It is important that parents, coaches and family doctors are aware of the differences.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 20, 2007, 9:33 PM CT

Genetic predisposition for childhood asthma

Genetic predisposition for childhood asthma
Children who carry variations in specific genes that metabolize vehicle emissions are more susceptible to developing asthma, especially if they live near major roadways, a study led by scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) suggests.

Scientists observed that children who carried variations in two genes and lived within 75 meters of a major road were up to nine times more likely to develop asthma than children who lived further away, says Muhammad T. Salam, Ph.D. candidate at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and the studys lead author. The study will appear in the journal Thorax, and is now available online.

This is one of the first studies to report that children with certain genetic backgrounds are even more susceptible to asthma than if they lived near major roads and did not carry the variations, Salam says. We are working to understand how traffic-related exposures may interact with these genes, leading to asthma development.

Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, and prior studies have shown that traffic-related pollution near the home increases asthma risk and reduces lung growth, as per USC experts.

Scientists drew upon data from the Childrens Health Study (CHS), a longitudinal study of respiratory health among school-age children in 12 Southern California communities. They compared associations between number of genetic variants and exposure to toxins among more than 3,000 study participants.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 16, 2007, 9:40 PM CT

Cannabis May Alleviate Allergic Skin Disease

Cannabis May Alleviate Allergic Skin Disease
Administering a substance found in the cannabis plant can help the bodys natural protective system alleviate an allergic skin disease (allergic contact dermatitis), an international group of scientists from Gera number of, Israel, Italy, Switzerland and the U.S. has found.

Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by reaction to something that directly contacts the skin. A number of different substances (allergens) can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Commonly these substances cause no trouble for most people, but if the skin is sensitive or allergic to the substance, any exposure will produce a rash, which may become very severe. Allergic contact dermatitis affects about 5 percent of men and 11percent of women in industrialized countries and is one of the leading causes for occupational diseases.

An article describing the work of the international research group, led by Dr Andreas Zimmer from the University of Bonn, was published recently in the journal Science. The article deals with alleviating allergic skin disease through what is called the endocannabinoid system. Among the members of the group is Prof. Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Pharmacy.

In earlier work, Prof.Mechoulams research group at the Hebrew University isolated two naturally occurring cannabinoid (cannabis-like) components one from the brain, named anandamide (from the word ananda, meaning supreme joy in Sanskrit), and another from the intestines named 2-AG. These two cannabinoids, plus their receptors and various enzymes that are involved in the cannnabinoids syntheses and degradations, comprise the endocannabinoid system. These materials have similar effects to those of the active components in hashish and marijuana, produced from the cannabis plant.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 7, 2007, 10:07 PM CT

Scratch no more: Gene for itch sensation discovered

Scratch no more: Gene for itch sensation discovered
Itching for a better anti-itch remedy? Your wish may soon be granted now that researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified the first gene for the itch sensation in the central nervous system. The discovery could rapidly lead to new therapys directly targeting itchiness and providing relief for chronic and severe itching.

The "itch gene" is GRPR (gastrin-releasing peptide receptor), which codes for a receptor found in a very small population of spinal cord nerve cells where pain and itch signals are transmitted from the skin to the brain. The researchers, led by Zhou-Feng Chen, Ph.D., observed that laboratory mice that lacked this gene scratched much less than their normal cage-mates when given itchy stimuli.

The laboratory experiments confirmed the correlation between GRPR and itching, offering the first evidence of a receptor specific for the itch sensation in the central nervous system. The findings are reported this week in Nature through advance online publication.

Chronic itching is a widespread problem. It can be caused by skin disorders like eczema, or it can stem from a deeper problem such as kidney failure or liver disease. It can be a serious side effect of cancer therapies or powerful painkillers like morphine. For some people, chronic itching can be very disruptive, interfering with sleep or giving rise to scratching that leads to scarring. Effective therapy options for itchy patients are limited.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 23, 2007, 5:13 PM CT

Process For Allergen-free Peanuts

Process For Allergen-free Peanuts
An agricultural researcher at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has developed a simple process to make allergen-free peanuts. The new process thought to bea first for food science could provide relief to millions of peanut allergy sufferers, and be an enormous boon to the entire peanut industry.

Doug Speight of the N.C. A&T Office of Outreach and Technology Transfer said food companies are showing a strong interest in licensing the process, which does not degrade the taste or quality of treated peanuts, and might even render them easier to process for use as a food ingredient.

Immunoassays showed 100 percent inactivation of peanut allergens in whole roasted kernels, and the processed peanuts showed no reaction in tests on human serums from severely allergic individuals. The inventor, Dr. Mohamed Ahmedna, is optimizing the process further to remove allergens from other foods.

We are extremely pleased that we were able to find such a simple solution to a vexing problem that has enormous economic and public health ramifications, both for peanut sensitive individuals, and the food industry as a whole, said Ahmedna, associate professor of food science in N.C. A&Ts School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

Peanut and tree nut allergies are the most severe of all food allergies, affecting approximately 3 million Americans, and causing 100 150 deaths from anaphylactic shock annually and a number of more hospitalizations. In industrialized nations, the allergy has been rapidly increasing in children, for causes that are not entirely understood. One study showed that between 1997 and 2002, peanut allergies in children doubled in the United States. Today, an estimated one percent of all children suffer from the allergy.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 2, 2007, 9:17 AM CT

Papworth breathing technique cuts asthma symptoms

Papworth breathing technique cuts asthma symptoms
A sequence of breathing and relaxation exercises known as the Papworth method has been shown to reduce asthma symptoms by a third by the first randomised controlled trial to investigate the technique, which is published online ahead of print in Thorax.

Eighty five people with mild asthma were randomly assigned to receive either five sessions of therapy by the Papworth method on top of their medical care or to continue to rely on usual drug treatment.

After the sessions had finished, patients asthma symptoms were assessed using the St Georges Respiratory Symptom Questionnaire. Patients who had been treated by the Papworth method scored an average of 21.8 on the questionnaire compared with an average score of 32.8 for patients who had not received the therapy.

And this improvement in symptoms was still maintained one year later. At 12 months patients who had been treated using the Papworth method scored 24.9, while patients who had not scored 33.5.

Use of the Papworth method was linked to less depression and anxiety, and symptoms from inappropriate breathing habits were also reduced. The technique improved the relaxed breathing rate but there was no significant improvement in specific measures of lung function.

The authors say: To our knowledge, this is the first evidence from a controlled trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Papworth method.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 12, 2007, 5:06 AM CT

Antibiotic use in infants linked to asthma

Antibiotic use in infants linked to asthma
New research indicates that children who receive antibiotics before their first birthday are significantly more likely to develop asthma by age 7. The study, reported in the recent issue of CHEST, the peer-evaluated journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), reports that children receiving antibiotics in the first year of life were at greater risk for developing asthma by age 7 than those not receiving antibiotics. The risk for asthma doubled in children receiving antibiotics for nonrespiratory infections, as well as in children who received multiple antibiotic courses and who did not live with a dog during the first year.

Antibiotics are prescribed mostly for respiratory tract infections, yet respiratory symptoms can be a sign of future asthma. This may make it difficult to attribute antibiotic use to asthma development, said lead study author Anita Kozyrskyj, PhD, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB. Our study reported on antibiotic use in children being treated for nonrespiratory tract infections, which distinguishes the effect of the antibiotic.

By using a prescription database, Dr. Kozyrskyj and his colleagues from the University of Manitoba and McGill University in Montreal were able to monitor the antibiotic use of 13,116 children from birth to age 7, specifically noting antibiotic use during the first year of life and presence of asthma at 7. The reason for antibiotic use was categorized by lower respiratory tract infection (bronchitis, pneumonia), upper respiratory tract infection (otitis media, sinusitis), and nonrespiratory tract infection (urinary infections, impetigo). Risk and protective factors also were noted, including gender, urban or rural location, neighborhood income, number of siblings at age 7, maternal history of asthma, and pets reported living in the home. Within the study group, 6 percent of children had current asthma at age 7, while 65 percent of children had received at least one antibiotic prescription during the first year of life. Of the prescriptions, 40 percent of children received antibiotics for otitis media, 28 percent for other upper respiratory tract infections, 19 percent for lower respiratory tract infections, and 7 percent for non-respiratory tract infections. Results showed that antibiotic use in the first year was significantly linked to greater odds of asthma at age 7. This likelihood increased with the number of antibiotic courses, with children receiving more than four courses of antibiotics having 1.5 times the risk of asthma compared with children not receiving antibiotics. When scientists compared the reason for antibiotic use, their analysis indicated that asthma at age 7 was almost twice as likely in children receiving an antibiotic for nonrespiratory tract infections compared with children who did not receive antibiotics.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 23, 2007, 9:53 PM CT

Bronchial thermoplasty for severe asthma patients

Bronchial thermoplasty for severe asthma patients
The Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System from Asthmatx
Credit: Asthmatx
A medical device company that has developed a catheter-based procedure for the therapy of asthma, announced recently that positive results from the Research in Severe Asthma (RISA) Trial were reported today at the annual scientific assembly of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) by Neil Thomson, MD, Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland. Clinically and statistically significant improvements in pulmonary function, asthma control, and quality of life, as well as a reduction in use of rescue medications, were observed following the bronchial thermoplasty procedure in patients with severe asthma. Bronchial Thermoplasty is an innovative non-drug therapy for asthma under clinical investigation in the United States.

The RISA Trial was conducted at a total of eight hospitals, in three countries, and reviewed the safety and efficacy of bronchial thermoplasty in 32 adult subjects with severe persistent asthma who remained symptomatic despite taking regular asthma medications. In comparison to patients who received only standard asthma medications, patients who received the bronchial thermoplasty procedure and standard medications showed clinically and statistically significant improvements in pulmonary function, quality of life, and asthma control, and used less rescue medicine nearly 6 months following the procedure. One year following the therapy, 50% of bronchial thermoplasty treated patients were able to wean completely off oral corticosteroids (OCS), in comparison to 14% of patients who did not receive the therapy. Further, a greater overall reduction in OCS dose was observed at 52 weeks in the bronchial thermoplasty treated patients compared with those that did not receive therapy at 52 weeks, eventhough this difference didnt reach statistical significance. The study was not powered to show statistical significance in medicine changes.........

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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