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April 14, 2006, 9:19 AM CT

Sleep Problems And Heart

Sleep Problems And Heart
Patients with severe sleep-disordered breathing are two to four times more likely to experience complex, abnormal heart rhythms while sleeping than individuals without the problem, as per the Sleep Heart Health Study (SHHS).

These findings are reported in the April 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

Reena Mehra, M.D., M.S., of University Hospitals of Cleveland at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, and seven associates compared the prevalence of arrhythmias in 228 patients with sleep-disordered breathing and 338 with no sleep disorder. The individuals in both groups participated in the SHHS, a multi-center longitudinal study of designed to determine the cardiovascular consequences of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).

SDB is an illness in which a sleeping individual repeatedly stops breathing for 10 seconds or longer before resuming air intake. These stoppages decrease the amount of oxygen and increase the level of carbon dioxide in the blood and brain. In this study, participants with SDB had a respiratory disturbance index that averaged about 44 pauses per hour of sleep. The control subjects experienced only 2.8 interruptions per hour.

"Individuals with sleep-disordered breathing had four times the odds of atrial fibrillation and three times the odds of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia," said Dr. Mehra.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


April 14, 2006, 9:14 AM CT

Breathing Gas Mixture May Improve COPD

Breathing Gas Mixture May Improve COPD
Breathing a special gas mixture may significantly improve the exercise performance of individuals with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). During an endurance walking test, the patients found that they could improve their walking distance by 64 percent with less shortness of breath.

The results appear in the April 15th issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

Elizabeth A. Laude, Ph.D., of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, and seven associates investigated the effects of varying oxygen and helium levels in the air breathed during exercise by 82 patients who had severe, but stable COPD.

The researchers tested four different gas mixtures with the patients: 72 percent helium and 28 percent oxygen (Heliox28); 79 percent helium and 21 percent oxygen (Heliox21); 72 percent nitrogen and 28 percent oxygen (Oxygen28); and 79 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen (medical air).

"Patients walked significantly further while breathing Heliox 28 than with either Heliox 21 or Oxygen 28," said Dr. Laude.

By replacing the nitrogen with normal supplementary oxygen with lower density helium gas, the scientists hoped that they might reduce airway resistance and improve the participants' respiratory gas exchange.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 8:21 PM CT

Infant snoring linked to parental snoring

Infant snoring linked to parental snoring
Young children born to parents who snore have an increased risk of snoring. New research reported in the recent issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), shows that infants, who had at least one parent who snored frequently, were three times more likely to snore frequently than children with no parental history of snoring. In addition, children who tested positive for atopy, an early indicator for the development of asthma and allergies, were twice as likely to be frequent snorers as compared to nonatopic children.

"Our study shows that children with a parent who frequently snores have a three-fold risk of habitual snoring, supporting the role of hereditary factors in the development of snoring ," said the study's lead author Maninder Kalra, MD, MS, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH. "Snoring is the primary symptom of sleep-disordered breathing, which, in children, is associated with learning disabilities and metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. Early detection and therapy can potentially reduce the incidence of morbidity due to sleep-disordered breathing in children."

Dr. Kalra and his colleagues from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati evaluated 681 children (median age 12.6 months) and their atopic parents to determine the prevalence of habitual snoring in infants born to atopic parents and to assess the relationship between habitual snoring, atopic status, and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Parents also completed a questionnaire pertaining both to their snoring and snoring in their child.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 27, 2006, 11:44 PM CT

In Utero Arsenic Exposure Can Lead To Lung Disease

In Utero Arsenic Exposure Can Lead To Lung Disease
Children who are exposed to high levels of arsenic in their drinking water are seven to 12 times more likely to die of lung cancer and other lung diseases in young adulthood, a new study by University of California, Berkeley, and Chilean scientists suggests.

The risk of dying due to bronchiectasis, commonly a rare lung disease, is 46 times higher than normal if the child's mother also drank the arsenic-contaminated water while pregnant, as per the study. These findings provide some of the first human evidence that fetal or early childhood exposure to any toxic substance can result in markedly increased disease rates in adults.

"The extraordinary risk we found for in utero and early childhood exposure is a new scientific finding," says the study's lead author, Allan Smith, professor of epidemiology at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. "I sometimes ponder the improbability that drinking water with concentrations of arsenic less than one-thousandth of a gram per liter could do this, and believe that I've got to be wrong. But our years of working with arsenic exposure in India and Chile tie in with this study perfectly".

The paper will appear in the July print issue of Environmental Health Perspectives and will be posted on its Web site today, Monday, March 27.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


March 15, 2006, 11:41 PM CT

Vaccination Saves Lives

Vaccination Saves Lives
Adults hospitalized for pneumonia who have received the pneumococcal vaccine are at a lower risk of dying from the disease than those who haven't been vaccinated, as per an article in the April 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online. Previous vaccination also reduces patients' risk of developing medical complications and decreases their length of stay in the hospital.

Pneumococci, or Streptococcus pneumoniae, are bacteria that colonize the nose and throat, often without causing harm. When they do cause infection, however, it can be serious, sometimes resulting in pneumonia that could be fatal to people who are elderly or vulnerable due to other illnesses.

Scientists from Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Jersey analyzed data from nearly 63,000 patients hospitalized for pneumonia between 1999 and 2003. Twelve percent of the patients were known to have received pneumococcal vaccination previous to being hospitalized, 23 percent were unvaccinated, and the rest had unknown vaccine status.

Vaccinated patients were 40 to 70 percent less likely to die during hospitalization than either unvaccinated patients or patients with unknown status. Vaccinated patients also had a lower risk of developing respiratory failure, kidney failure, heart attack, or other ailments. In addition, vaccinated patients' average hospital stay was two days shorter than that of unvaccinated patients.........

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 12, 2006, 11:24 PM CT

Smokers' Children Carry Higher Levels of Harmful Bacteria

Smokers' Children Carry Higher Levels of Harmful Bacteria Image courtesy of http://www.globalink.org/
A number of of the medical risks associated with smoking, such as cancer, emphysema and heart attacks, are well-known to physicians and the general public. However, there is new evidence that more children exposed to tobacco smoke carry Streptococcus pneumoniae than children without smoking exposure, as per an article in the April 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

S. pneumoniae often exists in the nose and throat, and children are more likely than adults to carry it. If the bacteria, also called pneumococci, grow out of control, infection can result in minor illnesses like ear infections or lead to more serious diseases like sinusitis, pneumonia and meningitis.

Scientists in Israel conducted a surveillance study of more than 200 young children and their mothers. They swabbed the noses and throats of the subjects to determine bacterial carriage rates, and then analyzed the data based on the children's and mothers' exposure to smoking. Seventy-six percent of the children exposed to tobacco smoke carried pneumococci, compared to 60 percent of those not exposed. Exposed children were also more likely than non-exposed children to carry pneumococcal serotypes responsible for most of the invasive S. pneumoniae disease. In the mothers, differences were also noted-32 percent of mothers who smoked carried S. pneumoniae, compared with 15 percent of mothers who were exposed to smoking and 12 percent of mothers not exposed to smoking.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


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


February 22, 2006, 10:25 PM CT

Psychology Of Asthma Response In Children

Psychology Of Asthma Response In Children
While a number of urban children suffer from asthma, those who have high self-esteem and good problem-solving skills may be less likely to have their asthma symptoms interfere with school, a new study finds.

"Our results suggest that in spite of facing asthma symptoms, stressors correlation to urban residence, as well as family life stressors, children's individual characteristics such as higher levels of problem-solving beliefs and self-esteem were associated with fewer school absences, more participation in activities, and less missed sleep," says lead author, Daphne Koinis Mitchell, PhD, with the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center (BHCRC) and Brown Medical School.

This study, reported in the December 2005 issue of the Journal of School Health, is an important step towards identifying ways in which school systems can develop plans to help students with asthma improve their academic performance.

Asthma can influence school absences, increase emergency room visits, limit physical activities, and account for sleep loss. If not properly treated, asthma can negatively impact children's ability to learn when in school, the authors write.

But are there are factors that might mitigate these effects? The authors studied a group of urban, school-aged children (and their mothers) with asthma from minority backgrounds.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


February 21, 2006, 9:09 PM CT

Therapies For Deadly Lung Failure

Therapies For Deadly Lung Failure
Scientists at the University of Virginia Health System have identified a molecular target, or receptor, for potential drugs to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a sudden and life-threatening failure of the lung. Interestingly, the receptor is in the same class that gives people their sense of sight, smell and taste (G-protein coupled receptors.).

In ARDS, patients cannot breathe on their own because fluid gets into the lungs. Essentially, the body's immune system causes lung inflammation and accumulation of fluid in the air sacs, or alveoli, leading to low blood-oxygen levels. Up to 30 percent of patients in intensive care units can die from ARDS. There is no current treatment other than general life support and putting patients on a breathing machine. If they survive, a number of people face long-term lung problems. Common causes of ARDS are pneumonia, septic shock, trauma, or inhaling chemicals.

The receptor identified by UVa doctors is called CXCR2. It's expressed on the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels of the lung and on inflammatory leukocytes. Using animal models, UVa doctors have found that CXCR2 attracts white blood cells called neutrophils into the lung, a key event in the early development of ARDS. CXCR2 has been characterized in the past, but the endothelial cell effects define a new role for this receptor in the body's physiology.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
The use of a nighttime air pump is the preferred therapy for sleep apnea because of questions about the safety and effectiveness of surgery, according to a new review of previous studies.The reviewers, led by Supriya Sunduram of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in England, conclude that despite widespread use of surgery as a means of improving sleep quality, it should not be recommended because of "uncertainty surrounding its safety, continued effectiveness and inconsistent" results.

Medicineworld.org: Archives of lung news blog

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