Dec. 2005 Briefing - Allergy

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in allergy for December 2005. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Respiratory Illness Deaths Drop Sharply in U.K. Kids

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Since the late 1960s, deaths from respiratory illnesses in children aged 1 to 6 years have fallen from 8.6 per 100,000 to 1.3 per 100,000 in England and Wales, according to a report in the December issue of Thorax.

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Inhaled Corticosteroids Improve Survival in COPD

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Inhaled corticosteroids not only reduce exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), they also significantly reduce mortality from all causes, Canadian researchers report in the December issue of Thorax.

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Nurse Intervention Doesn't Curb Asthma Symptoms

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A nurse-led psychoeducational program designed to help patients with asthma cope with and manage their disease does not offer significant advantages in the long run, according to a study published in the December issue of Thorax.

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Sorry, Celebrants: Hangover Cures Don't Work

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that there is no conventional or complementary intervention that will prevent or treat a hangover, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Short Drinks May Have More Kick Than Tall Ones

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Because of human perceptual bias, alcoholic beverages mixed in short, wide tumblers may be more potent than those mixed in taller and more slender highball glasses, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Secondhand Smoke Has Lasting Effect on Children

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Children who grow up with smokers are more likely to develop respiratory symptoms as adults even if they never become smokers themselves, according to a study published in the December issue of Thorax.

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Mold Genomes Shed Light on Soy Sauce, Sake and Sickness

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- International teams of researchers announced the sequence of three Aspergillus genomes this week in the Dec. 22 issue of Nature, including Aspergillus oryzae, which is used in soy sauce and sake production; Aspergillus nidulans, the model laboratory mold; and Aspergillus fumigatus, the bane of physicians everywhere for causing allergies, asthma attacks, and death in immunocompromised patients. The sequence should help provide tools for the diagnosis and treatment of such infections.

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Variant Gene Increases Effect of Secondhand Smoke in Kids

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Children with a genetic variant of the tumor necrosis factor gene TNF-308 are especially susceptible to secondhand smoke and have an increased risk of developing respiratory illnesses that keep them home from school, according to a study in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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New Food Labeling Law Requires Listing of Allergens

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this week that food products must contain a list on their label of all ingredients derived from eight major allergenic foods to comply with a new law that takes effect Jan. 1, 2006.

More Information -- FDA
More Information -- FDA

Hospital 'Handoffs' Common Source of Medical Errors

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Poor communication during hospital "handoffs," when patient care transitions from one physician or team of physicians to the next, may be responsible for many of the estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths that occur each year in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors, according to a study published in the December issue of Academic Medicine.

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Carbon Monoxide Relieves Chronic Colitis in Mice

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Inhaled carbon monoxide (CO) relieves symptoms of chronic colitis in mice, which may explain why cigarette smoking protects against ulcerative colitis in humans, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

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Company Recalls NeutroSpec Imaging Agent After Deaths

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Acting at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the makers of NeutroSpec (Technetium 99m Tc fanolesomab), an imaging agent approved to diagnose appendicitis, are voluntarily withdrawing the product from the market.

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Diesel Exhaust Impairs Cardiovascular Function

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Inhaling diesel exhaust fumes at levels common in big cities impairs vascular function in humans, according to a new study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Etanercept Improves Fatigue, Depression from Psoriasis

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The TNF-alpha-inhibiting drug etanercept may help relieve fatigue and depression in psoriasis patients, in addition to improving symptoms of the skin condition itself, according to a report in the Dec. 15 issue of The Lancet.

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Acute Respiratory Syndrome Lethal in Autoimmune Patients

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a common event in patients with "catastrophic" antiphospholipid autoimmune disease, according to a report in the January issue of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Patients with antiphospholipid disease who present with ARDS should be suspected of the catastrophic version of the disease, which is characterized by multiorgan failure due to small vessel occlusion.

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Asthma Control Less Likely in Overweight Patients

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Asthma patients who are overweight are less likely than normal weight patients to get their symptoms under an acceptable level of control, according to a study published in the January issue of Allergy.

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Allergy to Vegetable Oil Components Seen in Children

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Turnip and oilseed rape are common plants used in vegetable oil production and should be added to the list of potential food allergens for children with atopic dermatitis, according to a study in the January issue of Allergy.

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High-Efficiency Vacuum Cleaners Don't Benefit Allergy

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Although high-efficiency vacuum cleaners are often recommended for patients with allergies, the vacuums confer no benefit compared with regular models, according to a study published in the January issue of Allergy. All types of vacuum cleaners slightly increase short-term exposure to personal mite allergens, the authors say.

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Wheat and Maize Allergies More Complex Than Expected

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Wheat- and maize-related food allergy is far more complex than has been understood to date, due to the heterogeneity of genetic sequences and the biochemical nature of new allergens, according to a study published in the January issue of Allergy.

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Pillows Can Be Heavily Contaminated with Fungi

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to the common belief that most exposure to fungi occurs outside the home, pillows can be contaminated by a heavy load of several types of fungi, particularly Aspergillus fumigatus, according to a study in the January issue of Allergy. The finding has important implications for patients with respiratory disease, such as asthma or sinusitis, the authors report.

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Allergist Care Associated with Improved Asthma Control

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Asthmatics treated by allergists have better outcomes than those treated by primary care providers, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Bacterial Sources of Endotoxin in Dust Mites Identified

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- House dust mite DNA contains evidence of Bartonella and other Gram-negative species, which are the likely sources of endotoxin found in mite allergenic extracts, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Some Types of Fish Less Allergenic Than Others

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Cod, pollack, salmon, herring and wolffish contain more potent allergens, while halibut, flounder, tuna and mackerel are less likely to be allergenic in sensitized patients, according to a small study of patients with fish hypersensitivity, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Vitamin D3 May Overcome Steroid-Resistant Asthma

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Pretreatment of an asthma patient's T cells with vitamin D3 seems to help overcome steroid resistance in cultured cells, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. In addition, a proof-of-concept trial in three patients suggests that taking vitamin D3 daily could enhance responsiveness to dexamethasone.

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FDA Issues Warning on Radiodiagnostic Agent

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that a radiodiagnostic agent, NeutroSpec (Technetium [99m Tc] fanolesomab), has been linked to two deaths due to cardiopulmonary failure and other cases of life-threatening cardiopulmonary events.

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Household Endotoxins Raise Asthma Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of bacterial endotoxins found in household dust raise the risk of asthma, but have no effect on the prevalence of allergies, according to a nationwide survey in the December issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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New Guidelines Issued for Sinusitis Diagnosis

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- A joint task force of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology this week issued new recommendations for the treatment and management of sinusitis.

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Asthma Classifications Don't Identify Severe Patients

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Current asthma classification systems may not accurately identify patients with the most severe conditions, according to a report in the November issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

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Allergic Disorders May Be Linked to Atherosclerosis

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Common allergic disorders such as asthma and allergic rhinitis may be associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, according to an analysis of two studies published in the Nov. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Physician's Briefing