Childhood asthma is a scary healthy issue, for both child and parents alike. While proper diagnosis and treatment can help keep the condition from spiralling out of control, frequent asthma-related trips to the emergency room are a fact of life for many. An estimated 9 million children in the U.S. are affected by asthma, a condition brought on by food and air-borne allergens. Finding and controlling the triggers for asthma attacks is a priority, and a team of researchers from Glasgow University of Scotland now believe that the incidence of asthma is directly reflected in the number of hours young children watch TV each day.
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April 23, 2007 -- A stomach bacterium that causes ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer may make asthma less likely.
That news appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The bacterium is called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). It is associated with ulcers and increased risk of stomach cancer.
H. pylori is found worldwide, but it's more common in developing countries, note Yu Chen, PhD, MPH, and Martin Blaser, MD.
by Erwin W. Gelfand, MD
Patients with severe and refractory asthma suffer from numerous complications, fatal disease, and utilize a large proportion of healthcare resources. Treatment options are certainly limited, and it is unclear what underlies their refractoriness to conventional therapy. Whether they are "resistant" to therapy with glucocorticoids or the pathophysiologic pathways involved in their disease are not sensitive to glucocorticoids is unclear at present.
Some phenotypic differences in patients with refractory asthma have emerged, such as a greater involvement of neutrophils, but the relevance of these data are not clear. Among the candidates identified as perhaps playing a role in refractory asthma is tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), a pleiotropic inflammatory cytokine that is expressed in mast cells and is present in higher concentrations in bronchoalveolar fluid from patients with asthma, particularly in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from patients with more severe asthma.
An intravenous infusion of a solution of sodium bicarbonate -- better known as baking soda -- reduces respiratory distress and excessive acidity of body fluids in children with a life-threatening asthma flare-up, according to a report from the Netherlands.
High blood acidity, or acidosis, causes the heart to contract less strongly, reduces the effectiveness of beta-agonist bronchodilators used to treat asthma, and may stimulate rapid, shallow breathing, Dr. Corinne M. P. Buysse and her colleagues point out in the medical journal Chest.
They explain that treatment with sodium bicarbonate has been shown to relieve bronchial spasm and restore the response to bronchodilators. However, doctors have avoided the use of intravenous sodium bicarbonate for fear of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.
Scientists have identified a gene that could lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of asthma, with tablets replacing steroid inhalers.
As a result of work carried out at Dundee University, researchers believe that drugs currently used to treat diabetes could be adapted to control acute asthma attacks.
Until now asthma treatments have been dominated by steroid therapies which can often have serious side effects.
A related essay puts this survey into context through a discussion of the epidemiology of asthma in Africa.
Citation: Addo-Yobo EOD, Woodcock A, Allotey A, Baffoe-Bonnie B, Strachan D, et al. (2007) Exercise-induced bronchospasm and atopy in Ghana: Two surveys ten years apart. PLoS Med 4(2): e70.
Children who start drinking fresh milk from the farm early on are less likely to develop allergies when they are of school age, according to Swiss scientists.
But why more people are suffering allergies remains unclear, say researchers at Basel University, who have begun a study involving more than 14,000 children.
Cows' milk as food for infants has a bad reputation. From a nutritional perspective it does not fulfil the dietary requirements of babies, and children who are fed only cows' milk for too long often suffer an iron deficiency.
A fresh study by the Environmental Health section of the National Public Health Institute shows a strong link between asthma in children and dampness in the building structures of the home.
According to an article in the upcoming edition of the European Respiratory Journal, at least one in ten, and possibly as many as one in five cases of asthma among children are linked with water damage in the building.
The onset of asthma is the result of the cumulative effect of many factors. Nevertheless, in the 1990s there was a rapid increase in cases of asthma in Finland, as well as an increase in damage caused by dampness in buildings.
Newswise — Children in this country suffer from asthma more than any other chronic illness, and new research finds African-American children with the condition have a greater risk than others of experiencing severe symptoms that escalate into an emergency.
Previous research has shown that in comparison with white and Hispanic children, African-Americans have a higher rate of asthma, are hospitalized more and face more disability due to the condition. Because of this, “we suspected they might also exhibit relatively more severe asthma symptoms at the time of hospitalization,” said Yu Bai, a doctoral candidate at Pennsylvania State University.
Bai and his colleagues analyzed the records of 7,726 white, African-American and Hispanic children up to age 19 who were admitted to Pennsylvania hospitals in 2001 for asthma symptoms. The researchers then examined how the physician reported the severity of the children’s condition and ranked them either as “emergency” or “non-emergency” admissions.
British scientists reported last spring in the journal Nature Genetics that people who suffer from both eczema and asthma carry the same gene mutation and concluded that in some cases eczema may actually lead to asthma.