Based on studies of mice, experts at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City are suggesting that leptin, a hormone involved in energy metabolism, appetite, fertility, and building bone mass, may play a key role in the link between asthma and obesity — and possibly lead to development of a leptin-based treatment for weight-related asthma.
The researchers observed that some patients who are anorexic or obese also have asthma, which makes sense because both abnormally low or high body weight and fat mass can result in narrowing of the airways and diminished lung function.
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In particular, patients with a severe case of the disease are most at risk.
"This is the first time a link has been found between asthma and pulmonary embolism and we believe these results have important clinical implications," said Christof Majoor (Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) in a press statement.
The authors compared 365 patients with mild-moderate asthma and 283 patients with severe asthma against age-matched controls from a previously published Norwegian population study.
During 31,889 person-years of follow up, 16 patients with asthma developed deep vein thrombosis, and 19 patients had a pulmonary embolism.
The rate of pulmonary embolism among patients with severe asthma was nine times greater than in the general population (0.93 vs 0.18 per 1000 person-years). The rate among patients with mild-moderate asthma was four times greater than in the general population, although this did not reach statistical significance (0.33 vs 0.18 per 1000 person-years).
Multivariate analyses showed that severe asthma was associated with a 3.33-fold increased risk for pulmonary embolism versus no asthma, and also showed that oral corticosteroid use was associated with a 2.82-fold increased risk .
By contrast, the risk for deep vein thrombosis was not associated with the presence of asthma.
Asthma has been associated with procoagulant and antifibrinolytic activity in the airways, but this is the first study to examine an association with pulmonary embolism, explain the authors in the European Respiratory Journal.
Inactivity due to severe symptoms and the use of corticosteroids may also play a role, they say.
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A woman's exposure to high pollen levels in late pregnancy increases the risk of earlyasthma in the child, according to a group of researchers at Sweden's Ume- University in a recent study.
A number of studies have previously shown that there is an association with being born during a pollen season and an increased risk of allergies. Although the pollen season is a regular annual event, there are large variations between years in pollen levels. Few studies have closely examined the significance of actual pollen content in different time periods before and after birth, but now, researchers at the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Ume- University have conducted such a study involving 110,000 pregnancies in the Stockholm area.
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Drug experts have warned parents and healthcare professionals to double-check if children with allergic conditions such as asthma and hayfever are being over-prescribed corticosteroids. The warning follows research unveiled at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester revealing that many children with multiple allergic conditions such as asthma, eczema and hayfever may be exposed to high, cumulative doses of corticosteroids through co-prescribing of steroid preparations for different conditions.