Asthma: October 2006 Archives

Half of Asthma Patients Use Complementary Therapies

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A significant number of patients use vitamin and mineral supplements, herbal remedies, and drink coffee and tea for relief of asthma and rhinitis symptoms. These practices could cause additional health problems and may even have life-threatening adverse effects, researchers warned here at CHEST 2006, the 72nd annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Paul D. Blanc, MD, FCCP, and colleagues at the University of California at San Francisco conducted interviews with 375 patients with asthma and/or rhinitis at baseline and again 2 years later. Dr. Blanc said that 15% of patients had asthma without rhinitis, 70% had asthma with rhinitis, and 56% had rhinitis alone.

The investigators prospectively compared physical health status and the use of complementary and alternative medicines for alleviation of symptoms.
YogaAsthma is an ancient Greek word that means "panting, gasping or short-drawn breath." It is one of the most discomforting of respiratory ailments, known to affect around 5% of the world’s adult population and 10% of children.

Tests carried out at Yoga Therapy Centers across the world have shown remarkable results in managing asthma. In some cases it has also been found that asthma attacks can actually be averted, without the aid of drugs, just through yoga practices.

Since Yoga believes that the mind is central to a diseased condition, pacifying and placating it would, in itself, help cure asthma to a great extent. The practice of yogasanas, yogic kriyas, pranayamas, relaxation and meditation calm down the whole system. This, in turn, facilitates proper assimilation of food and strengthens the lungs, digestive and circulatory system. Over a period of time, that checks asthma attacks and even cures the asthma condition.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT -- October 27, 2006 -- Teamwork between a hospital asthma clinic and a legal assistance project resulted in asthma patients improving their health status by getting their homes' environments repaired.

"Our asthma patients were amazingly compliant in taking their medication, but they weren't getting any better," said Mary O'Sullivan, MD, pulmonary specialist and chief, asthma clinic, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, New York, New York. "They were living in roach-infested, rodent -infested, moldy, dusty apartments."

Attempts to get landlords to clean up the patients' homes had no results -- until the hospital partnered with a legal assistance firm, Dr. O'Sullivan said in a presentation on October 23rd at CHEST 2006, the 72nd annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Aspirin and Decreased Adult-Onset Asthma

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RATIONALE: In an observational cohort study, women who self-selected for frequent aspirin use developed less newly diagnosed asthma than women who did not take aspirin.

OBJECTIVE: To explore whether low-dose aspirin decreased the risk of newly diagnosed asthma in a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

METHODS: The Physicians' Health Study randomized 22,071 apparently healthy male physicians, age 40-84 years at baseline and tolerant of aspirin over an 18-week run-in period, to 325mg aspirin or placebo on alternate days. The aspirin component was terminated after 4.9 years due principally to the emergence of a statistically extreme 44% reduction in risk of first myocardial infarction among those randomly assigned to aspirin.

Tanox initiates early stage trial of asthma treatment

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Tanox has begun dosing a phase I clinical trial of TNX-650, an antibody being evaluated as a potential treatment for moderate to severe asthma.

TNX-650 has a mechanism of action unique from currently available asthma treatments and has the potential to be a therapeutic option for patients whose disease is not currently well controlled and for non-allergic asthmatics.

TNX-650 targets Interleukin 13 (IL-13). Preclinical studies indicate that IL-13 is a key mediator of asthma responses, including airway inflammation, obstruction and hyper-reactivity.

Approximately 50 percent of infants and preschoolers receiving medical treatment for allergies display preliminary symptoms of asthma, making them at high risk of developing the respiratory condition later in life, according to the results of a survey released yesterday.

The survey was conducted by Chang-Gung Memorial Children's Hospital on children up to five years of age who made recent outpatient visits to the hospital for allergies or asthma.

The survey found 30 percent of these patients had persistent asthma, while another 50 percent had preliminary symptoms of the respiratory condition -- such as frequent coughing and wheezing.

Pharmac under fire again over asthma inhaler

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 Controversial medicine inhaler Salamol has been linked with deteriorating control of asthma in a study that has unleashed fresh criticism of Pharmac. Last year Pharmac planned to subsidise only one metered-dose salbutamol inhaler, Salamol, which would have forced more than 500,000 patients who used the Ventolin brand to switch or pay its full price. After more than 700 complaints that Salamol was ineffective, tasted bad or that its spray got blocked, Pharmac backed down and kept subsidies on both - temporarily.
An Asthma UK census has revealed that only 4% of those people questioned have their asthma under control.

The shocking results follow Asthma UK's first ever asthma control census which was launched on World Asthma Day in May this year. It aimed to raise awareness amongst the 4.1 million adults with asthma in the UK that they may be putting up with symptoms that impact unnecessarily on their quality of life.

The Asthma Control Test, a 60-second, five-point questionnaire was completed online by over 16,000 people. The test which gives a score out of 25, helps to identify the level of asthma control.

An intervention program of telephone follow-up of asthma patients seen at an inner-city hospital reduces frequency of emergency department (ED) use and results in better healthcare management and ultimately better asthma control.

The findings were presented here yesterday at CHEST 2006, the 72nd annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.

The hospital in question was the Truman Medical Center–Hospital Hill in Kansas City, Missouri. Principal investigator Rita A. Mangold, RN, Asthma Program Coordinator at the hospital, went to some pains to convince session attendees that her Midwest institution is truly situated in an inner-city environment. "Eleven percent of this inner-city population is living below the poverty line," she pointed out. "The population is also woefully devoid of payer sources. About 39% are fee-for-service patients."

Altana: allergy drug faces obstacles despite approval

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Altana's nasal steroid spray Omnaris has been approved in the US for allergic rhinitis.

Altana's Omnaris, an intranasal corticosteroid based on ciclesonide, has been approved in the US for the treatment of seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis in patients 12 years of age and older. However, given the major products already on the market and the recent patent expiry of Flonase, Omnaris is likely to have a limited impact on the field of allergic rhinitis treatment.

'Content Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the nasal mucosa causing sneezing, itching, nasal congestion, and discharge. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is better known as hay fever, while perennial allergic rhinitis is a chronic condition caused by triggers such as pet dander and dust. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, more than 40 million Americans are currently estimated to suffer with allergic diseases.

Analysis: An asthma patient's best friend?

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Allergyby Ed Susman, UPI

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Inner-city asthma patients whose medicine doesn't help because they live in rundown housing may be better offer getting referred to a lawyer rather than a specialist.

In New York City, when doctors asked a lawyer to confront recalcitrant landlords, the patients got their homes repaired -- and used less medicine, required fewer trips to the emergency room or treatment, and in general, improved their overall condition.

Destroying Airway Muscle With Heat Eases Asthma Symptoms

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AllergyAsthma symptoms can be controlled by using heat to destroy smooth muscle tissue in the large airways, a researcher reported here.

The experimental technique, dubbed bronchial thermoplasty, is also safe and well-tolerated, although the treatment caused transient worsening of asthma symptoms, according to Michel Laviolette, M.D., of Laval University in Québec City, Quebec.

The technique uses a bronchoscopic catheter with an expandable, computer-controlled heating element on the end. The catheter is inserted into airways greater than three mm in diameter that branch off the mainstem bronchi, with the exception of the right middle lobe, Dr. Laviolette said at CHEST 2006, the meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Improper Home Nebulizer Use Boosts Asthma Risk

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TUESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Devices called home nebulizers have been a boon to asthma care. But a new study shows that, if used improperly, they can also lead to serious asthma complications, even death.

These machines turn medications into fine, inhaled droplets. But researchers at Michigan State University concluded that when home nebulizers aren't used according to the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines, they may actually contribute to some people's deaths.

"Widespread prescription and use of home nebulizers in asthma may have the unintended consequence of contributing to over-reliance on bronchodilators and inadequate use of inhaled steroids," the authors concluded.

Sunlight may protect against asthma

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Interesting article in Australian press.

Preliminary results show that if the animals had a 15-30 minute dose of light before being exposed to a common allergen their chance of developing symptoms was "significantly reduced".

It has been already found that sun light is a vital contributor to healthy immune system. Time will show when light and therapy will get proper attention from scientists and consumers.

Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have identified how a bioactive molecule involved with allergy, inflammation and cancer is transported out of mast cells, according to findings published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mast cells are specialized cells that react to allergy-causing agents by releasing substances that trigger the body's allergic response, leading to conditions like asthma and hives. Among the molecules released by mast cells that participate in the allergic response is sphingosine-1-phosphate. This molecule is also implicated in cancer.

Hospitals clean out allergy, asthma triggers

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by Jon Brodkin, Daily News, 22 Oct 2006

It's no surprise a severe asthma attack can force someone to go to the hospital. It might surprise some to learn chemicals and substances commonly found inside hospitals can cause asthma or trigger asthma attacks.

Cleaning products, latex gloves, pesticides, dust, mold and even some medications can cause or exacerbate asthma, according to a report issued Wednesday by Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition of 450 groups trying to make the health care industry safer.

"Ironically, many products that are used in hospitals to keep patients, visitors and personnel safe from pathogens represent some of the very same products that have some potential to cause or exacerbate asthma in susceptible individuals," the report states.

Falling Leaves Mean Rising Allergies

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SATURDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Raking and burning autumn leaves is a rite of the season for many, but those with allergies may want to avoid it, experts say.

Here are some other tips from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) on avoiding allergy triggers this fall:

Depression tied to poor asthma therapy adherence

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by Megan Rauscher, Reuters, 20 Oct 2006

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Depressive symptoms are common among inner-city adults hospitalized for asthma flare-ups, according to a new study in the medical journal Chest.

Furthermore, such symptoms identify individuals who are unlikely to stick to their asthma medication regimen when they go home.

"Typically, when someone comes into the hospital and we treat their asthma, we don't necessarily look at whether they are depressed," Dr. Susan J. Bartlett commented. "But maybe we need to, because these individuals are really at very high risk of being poorly adherent to their asthma therapy once they get out of the hospital."

New treatment may mean no meds for some asthma patients

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bout 20 million Americans are living with asthma and about 5000 die from it every year.

Now a new treatment for people with severe forms of the disease could save lives.

Most asthmatics take a variety of medications and now researchers are hoping a new procedure, called bronchial thermoplasty, will help patients get rid of some of their meds and live healthier lives.

State office workers to be moved soon

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BENNINGTON — Plans to move state office workers from the Veterans Drive complex starting next week are moving forward.

Weekly memos have been issued to keep workers up to date.

"The Health Department will provide guidance about what can be moved (papers and other fibrous materials) in advance of the move," according to the memo.

Despite health, Hoover senior keeps running

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I find this article very inspiring. And not only for those who have asthma. Jackie Delamater can be a role model for every person who is sick.

When Delamater crossed the line at the Strongsville Invitational in 19:58.85, it meant more than just a new personal record.

It meant beating asthma after a four-year struggle. It meant casting aside a month of doubt and worry caused by health problems. It meant overcoming childhood anxieties.

I invite you to read this long but very interesting story.

Following the success of the highly successful direct response television campaign earlier this year, Asthma UK; the only charity dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people with asthma, has appointed multi-channel communication specialist, Broadsystem for its second Asthma Attack Card awareness campaign.

This is the second peak-time terrestrial TV campaign Asthma UK has undertaken in order to highlight the number of asthma-related deaths in the UK and encourage children, parents and teachers to carry an Asthma Attack Card. The card provides basic information on how to recognise an asthma attack and what steps to take if someone has one. People with asthma can indicate on the card what their commonest signs of an attack are, and add important contact details.

Asthma cases on the rise

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The number of Californians suffering from asthma and asthma-like symptoms has spiked in the past three years, with Mother Lode counties seeing the most dramatic increase, a new study shows.

Those suffering from asthma or symptoms of asthma has jumped from 4 million, 12 percent of all Californians, in 2001 to 4.5 million, 13 percent, in 2003, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research report.

The national average of people diagnosed with asthma is 10 percent.

"Asthma All Stars" Asthma Fair Kicks off at Kohl's

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Lexington, Ky. (Oct. 19, 2006) – Today "Asthma All-Stars" promoted asthma awareness among students at the asthma fair held on behalf of UK HealthCare's Kentucky Children's Hospital and Kohl's Department Stores. The fair kicked off the Kentucky Children's Hospital Asthma Program which will be in Fayette County schools as well as in surrounding regions of Kentucky.

Kohl's Department Stores' Kohl's Cares for Kids® made a donation of $60,093 today to Dr. Tim Bricker, professor and chair, department of pediatrics, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and physician-in-chief of Kentucky Children's Hospital. The donation will support funding for an asthma program to benefit children in Fayette, Jessamine and Rockcastle counties in Kentucky.

Hospital Chemicals Can Trigger Asthma

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BOSTON -- Down every hallway in every hospital, there are doctors, nurses and patients. But it is what people can't see that could be a hazard to their health.

NewsCenter 5's Heather Unruh reported that Health Care Without Harm released a report on Wednesday that said people are getting sick from chemicals found in hospitals. In some cases, the report said, the chemicals are causing asthma or making asthma symptoms worse.

Lung Function at Birth May Predict Asthma Risk

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The way a healthy infant's lungs function at birth may provide clues to that child's future respiratory health, concludes a new study from Norway.

The study found that babies who performed poorly on lung function tests at birth were more likely to develop asthma before the age of 10.

"The study tells us that some children who later have asthma, breathe abnormally already at birth," said one of the study's authors, Dr. Geir Haland, a research fellow and assistant consultant at Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo. "Thus we may infer from this that the disease process of asthma may express itself through lung function [tests a] long time before symptoms appear and that, in some children, it may appear that the disease process is established already before birth."

Transport mechanism of bioactive molecule, S1P, identified

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What is causing the allergy? Different allergies have different triggers. Recently scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University have found a possible cause.

Mast cells are specialized cells that react to allergy-causing agents by releasing substances that trigger the body's allergic response, leading to conditions like asthma and hives. Among the molecules released by mast cells that participate in the allergic response is sphingosine-1-phosphate. This molecule is also implicated in cancer.

Taking a walk could benefit asthma research, programs

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Tawnya Shipley has a good reason to spread the word about asthma.

Her 8-year-old son, Trystan Herzog, narrowly escaped brain damage five years ago when he had his first attack of what became chronic asthma.

The family was living on an Air Force base in Japan at the time. On a trip to the grocery store, a friend who was helping Shipley buckle her son into his car seat noticed that the 3-year-old's breathing had become shallow, and he looked pale and tired.

By Shahina Maqbool, 13 Oct 2006

ISLAMABAD: Unpredictable weather changes, respiratory viral infections, and unprecedented heat and humidity in August and September increased the misery of respiratory allergy and asthma patients throughout Punjab and parts of NWFP.

The management of their illness becomes a challenge in Ramazan for many allergy and asthma patients as the holy month is associated with a significant change in daily routine patterns. Many believers visit mosques more frequently during Ramazan than any other time of the year. They expose themselves to dust from carpets, and many experience difficulty in breathing during 'sajda' (kneeling).

High in-hospital death rate with asthma flare

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - As many as one-third of all deaths from asthma occur in patients who are hospitalized for asthma exacerbations, new research finds.

Such deaths occur as frequently in blacks and in whites, according to the study, and therefore the higher overall mortality in blacks due to asthma cannot be explained by hospitalization.

"Our findings suggest that improvements in the management of asthma exacerbations before hospitalization (e.g., at home, during transportation to the emergency department) will have the greatest benefit in further reducing the overall risk of death and in eliminating race disparities in asthma deaths," Dr. Jerry A. Krishnan, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues conclude.

Children of allergy sufferers prone to same problem

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Infants, whose parents suffer from allergies that produce symptoms like wheezing, asthma, hay fever or hives, risk developing allergic sensitization much earlier in life than previously reported, according to a study by U.S. researchers.

The study suggests that the current practice of avoiding skin testing for airborne allergens before four of five years old should be reconsidered, so that children in this high-risk group can be detected early and monitored for the possibility of later allergic respiratory disease.

Patients with symptomatic moderate asthma who were treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha, an anti-inflammatory monoclonal antibody, experienced significantly fewer disease exacerbations than individuals taking a placebo.

This research appears in the first issue for October 2006 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

EU Health Research Must Prioritise Allergies

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European public health experts are concerned because “allergic diseases” in all their different aspects - from hay fever to fatal attacks of asthma or reactions to peanuts - are not included in the health priorities of the EU research programme. While allergies are mentioned among the food research priorities, the absence of wider allergy problem as a top concern in health research agenda threatens to comprise overall progress in the understanding of this complex condition.

GMOs And Allergies: Tests May Help Answer Questions

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The potential of genetically engineered foods to cause allergic reactions in humans is a big reason for opposition to such crops. Although protocols are in place to ask questions about the allergy-causing possibilities, there has been no test that offers definitive answers.

But all of that could change as a Michigan State University researcher has developed the first animal model to test whether genetically engineered foods could cause human allergic reactions. Venu Gangur, MSU assistant professor of food science and human nutrition, has received a $447,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to validate the test.