Blog

 

The sudden onset of an asthma attack can be a frightening event. Asthmatics often experience a severe shortness of breath combined with coughing or wheezing and a tightening sensation in their lungs and chest. If you suffer from asthma, there is a chronic state of inflammation in your lungs. When this inflammation is paired with constriction of the airwaves and muscles in the chest, it is important to seek immediate relief, either via a bronchodilator or emergency medical care.
 
When your body experiences one form of inflammation or another, it is typically in response to something your body regards or perceives as foreign or harmful. With sufferers of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the inflammation may appear for seemingly no reason and last for far too long. These unexpected occurrences can be harmful.
 
Additionally, airway constriction, also known as bronchoconstriction, may accompany an onset of inflammation. The combination of bronchoconstriction with an onset of inflammation can further limit your airway function making it just that much harder to breathe.
 
It is bronchoconstriction (and how to mitigate it) that researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) have been researching lately. And their findings may be both surprising and welcome among the asthma and COPD communities.
 
The new study, focusing on the effects of bitter foods on our physiology, was conducted by an interdisciplinary team of scientists from UMMS and was published this week in the open access journal PLOS Biology. The team claims their research represents an important step forward in gaining an understanding of how certain substances that are responsible for making some foods bitter in taste can also play a part in helping to reverse the contraction of airway cells. The reversal of bronchoconstriction is known as bronchodilation.
 
For the rest of the article, click here.
Read more..
BPA exposure linked to kids' asthma risk

 

Children exposed to the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, may be at an increased risk for asthma, a new study suggests.
During the study, kids who had greater exposure to BPA at ages 3, 5 and 7 were more likely to be diagnosed with asthma before age 12 than children who had less exposure.
 
BPA is found in some plastics, canned food containers and other food packaging, and most people have detectable levels of the chemical in their urine. Previous studies have linked BPA to a number of health conditions, including childhood obesity and behavior problems.
 
The new study is the first to report a link between BPA exposure during childhood and an increased risk for asthma. An earlier study found a link between BPA exposure in the womb during the second trimester of pregnancy, and an elevated risk of wheezing at age 3.
 
Red the rest of the article here.
Read more..

Vitamin D has effects on the innate and adaptive immune system. In asthmatic children low vitamin D levels are associated with poor asthma control, reduced lung function, increased medication intake, and exacerbations. Little is known about vitamin D in adult asthma patients or its association with asthma severity and control.

For more about this, read the pdf abstract from Respiratory Research here.

Read more..

 

If I were a virus, I think I’d like to be Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
 
What is that, you ask? Exactly my point.
 
Our lungs are the only organ in our body that is exposed to the filth of our environment. Because of this, our lungs have to fight off bacteria, viruses and pollutants, and yet try to function normally to help us breathe. 
 
Asked to name a respiratory virus, our mind immediately jumps to influenza, the big daddy of viruses that affect our lung. Yet, there is a virus that infects more infants throughout the world (in developed and developing countries), that nearly all of us have been infected by at least once by the age of 1 year,  that we have no vaccine or treatment for, that our body is unable to develop long lasting immunity to, and that kills more elderly individuals than influenza. That virus is RSV, and yet, is but a blimp in our collective consciousness.
 
I will admit, I am partial to this virus. I work with it for my PhD. My aim is to study how infections with RSV early on can cause asthma.
 
Oh right. I forgot to tell you. If you are hospitalised with RSV infection as a kid, you have a higher likelihood of getting asthma as you get older. Influenza on the other hand? Can’t cause asthma.
 
For more about this, read here.
Read more..

 

Those who suffer from asthma may have a different mix of fungi in their lungs than those who do not, says a new study from researchers at the School of Medicine at Cardiff University in Wales.
 
For the study, lead researcher Hugo van Woerden and his team analyzed the fungi in mucus from participants with and without asthma. They found a total 136 different species of fungi living within the lungs of all participants. Ninety of those species were more common in asthma patients while 46 were more common in non-asthma participants.
 
"Our analysis found that there are large numbers of fungi present in healthy human lungs. The study also demonstrates that asthma patients have a large number of fungi in their lungs and that the species of fungi are quite different to those present in the lungs of healthy individuals," writes Woerden.
 
by RTT Staff Writer
 
Read more..

 

Environmental Health
 
Your environment is everything around you—the air you breathe, the water you drink, the community you live in, the places where your food is grown or prepared, your workplace, and your home. When your environment is safe and healthy, you are more likely to stay healthy. But when your environment exposes you to dangerous events or toxic substances, your health can be negatively affected.
 
CDC is committed to saving lives and protecting people from environmental hazards by responding to natural and man-made disasters, supporting state and city public health programs, educating communities, and providing scientific knowledge. We help maintain and improve the health of Americans by promoting a healthy environment and preventing premature death and avoidable illness caused by environmental and related factors. We also identify how people might be exposed to hazardous substances in the environment and assess exposures to determine if they are hazardous to human health. CDC invests in prevention to improve health and save money by reducing health care costs. We remain committed to maximizing the impact of every dollar entrusted to the agency.
 
National Asthma Control Program
 
Asthma is a common disease that is on the rise. It has significant health disparities and associated health care costs. CDC has been working with states for more than 10 years to implement and evaluate community-based interventions, build community-based coalitions, and track the disease burden. As a result of CDC’s work, people with asthma control their disease and live healthier, more productive lives.
 
Read more about the National Asthma Contraol Program here.
Read more..

 

Smoking rates are different from state to state. The percentage of people with asthma who smoke ranges from about 12% in Minnesota and Utah to about 32% in Kentucky. The states with the highest percentage of people with asthma who smoke are clustered in the Midwest and South regions.
 
CDC’s National Asthma Control Program (NACP) was created in 1999 to help the millions of people with asthma in the United States gain control over their disease. The NACP conducts national asthma surveillance and funds states to help them improve their asthma surveillance and to focus efforts and resources where they are needed.
 
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2010
 
* Includes persons who answered “yes” to the questions: “Have you ever been told by a doctor, nurse, or other health professional that you had asthma?” and “Do you still have asthma?”
 
U.S. Total includes 50 states plus DC and excludes Puerto Rico and the two territories
 
** Estimate is unreliable if the unweighted sample size for the denominator was < 50 or relative standard error was > 0.30

Take a look at the Percentage of People with Asthma who Smoke by state, by viewing here.

Read more..

 

The study found that children born to parents who sought treatment for fertility issues were more likely to experience asthma, wheezing and to be taking asthma medication at the age of 5 than children who were conceived without medical intervention. 
 
The researchers did not find that the parents’ infertility treatments caused asthma in their children, but rather that there is a slightly higher chance that children born after fertility treatments might develop asthma. More research is needed to better understand the link.
 
Claire Carson, PhD, a researcher at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford (UK), and colleagues led the study to find out if there was a link between parents’ infertility treatments and the likelihood that their children would develop asthma.
 
The study authors used data from a larger study called the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) to perform their research. The MCS has followed over 18,000 children in the United Kingdom born between 2000 and 2002.
 
The children were recruited into the MCS at nine months of age. Interviews were performed with their caretakers to get demographic information. Health data for both parents and children was also gathered, including information about the pregnancy and any infertility treatment.
 
The infertility treatments they asked about included assisted reproductive technologies (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a technique sometimes used in IVF.
 
The children were followed up at 3, 5 and 7 years of age. Data for the present study was used from 13,000 of the MCS children at the 5- and 7-year follow-ups.
 
At these follow-ups, caretakers were asked what experiences their child had had with asthma or wheezing, including how often the symptoms occurred, how severe they were and if the child was taking medication.
 
The results showed that approximately 15 percent of the total study population had asthma at ages of 5 and 7 years. Of the children born to parents who had used infertility treatments, 24 percent had asthma at ages 5 and 7.
 
In this group, boys had higher rates of asthma than girls. At the ages of 5 and 7 years, 17 percent of the boys had asthma while 12 percent of the girls were asthmatic. 
 
The asthmatic children had several things in common. They were more likely to have a family history of asthma, to have less...
Read more..