Dec. 2005 Briefing - Pulmonology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Pulmonology 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.

TB Transmission Reported at N.Y. Hospital Maternity Ward

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A foreign-born maternity nurse working in the newborn nursery of a New York City hospital has been identified as the source of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission to four newborns on the ward, according to a report in the Dec. 23 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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FDA Approves Tamiflu for Flu Prevention in Kids Under 12

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) for the prevention of influenza A and B in children between the ages of 1 and 12 years, who have been exposed to the flu. Tamiflu is already approved for the prevention and treatment of influenza in adolescents aged 13 and older and in adults, and for treatment in pediatric patients older than age 1.

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Particle Size Alters Impact Of Inhaled Asthma Medication

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- While smaller inhaled albuterol particles penetrate deeper into the lungs of asthma patients, larger particles are better at targeting the proximal airway and are more effective bronchodilators, according to a study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Coma Outcomes on Soap Operas Too Good to Be True

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Coma patients in soap operas experience significantly rosier outcomes than their real-life counterparts, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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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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Fish Oil May Counteract Pollution's Effect on Heart

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Supplementation with fish oil may help prevent a decline in heart rate variability (HRV) associated with exposure to particulate matter, according to a study of elderly subjects published Dec. 15 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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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.

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Chest X-Ray Screening Finds Early-Stage Lung Cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- About 44% of lung cancers detected by chest X-rays are early-stage tumors, according to the findings of a large screening study reported in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The overall detection rate was 1.9 per 1,000 screens, although the rate was 6.3 per 1,000 screens in current smokers and 4.9 per 1,000 screens in former smokers who had smoked in the past 15 years.

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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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Pneumonia Guidelines Cut Hospital Admissions

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- An intense effort to have emergency department staff follow the recommended guidelines for treatment of pneumonia increases the number of low-risk patients who are treated as outpatients rather than being admitted to the hospital, according to a report in the Dec. 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Low Fitness of U.S. Teens and Adults Linked to CVD Risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- About one-third of teens and 14% of adults in the United States have poor cardiorespiratory fitness, and those less-fit individuals tend to have other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, such as a higher body mass index and elevated cholesterol, according to a study published in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Chronic Exposure to Pollution Boosts Atherosclerosis in Mice

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In mice susceptible to heart disease, chronic exposure to even low doses of air pollution alters vasomotor tone, causes vascular inflammation and potentiates atherosclerosis, according to a study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Exposure to particulate matter boosts plaque accumulation in animals fed either a low-fat or high-fat diet.

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus Gets Early Start in 2005

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The peak season for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) began mid-October in the southern United States this year, and health-care providers should consider RSV as a possible diagnosis and provide prophylaxis for high-risk populations, according to a report in the Dec. 16 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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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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Study Sheds Light on Rare Respiratory Syndrome

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Mice with a mutation in the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) gene have less norepinephrine and serotonin as well as drastically fewer tyrosine hydroxylase neurons in their medullas, according to a study in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. The finding sheds light on Rett syndrome, a severe neurological condition seen in one in 10,000 children, mostly females, that is characterized by mental retardation and respiratory problems.

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Pacifiers Reduce Risk of Sudden Infant Death By 90%

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Pacifiers substantially reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to a study published online Dec. 9 in the British Medical Journal.

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Vitamin D May Play Role in Lung Health

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- People with high serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D have improved lung function compared with those having lower concentrations, according to a report in the December issue of Chest.

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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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Omega-3s Improve Lung Function in COPD

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A diet rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) can improve lung function and exercise capacity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a report in the December issue of Chest.

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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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Universal Pertussis Vaccine Urged for Adolescents

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a new policy Wednesday recommending universal vaccination for pertussis at 11 to 12 years of age, and catch-up vaccinations of older adolescents.

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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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Disease-Related Internet Use Expected to Increase

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Chronically ill adult patients are frequent users of the Internet to get information about their condition and seek mutual support, and they say they expect to increase their use in the future to contact their care providers, according to a study in the January issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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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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Over 150 Flu-Related Deaths in U.S. Children in 2003-2004

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Although most influenza-related deaths occur among the elderly, an analysis suggests that over 150 children died from the flu in the United States during the 2003-2004 season, most of them younger than age 5. The results of the study are published in the Dec. 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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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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U.S. Hospitals Lag in Adopting Safety Recommendations

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Despite some improvements in hospital patient safety systems, many hospitals have made slow progress in adopting 1998 recommendations from the Institute of Medicine National Roundtable on Health Care Quality or from subsequent reports, according to a study published in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Race and Gender Disparities in Lung Cancer Clinical Trials

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Women and blacks are less likely to enroll in treatment trials for lung cancer, according to a study in the Jan. 15 issue of Cancer.

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Personal Fulfillment Motivates Adolescents to Get Fit

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Personal fulfillment, including such factors as enjoyment of physical activity and a desire to become fit, is what motivates most adolescents to become physically active, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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Prescribing Antibiotics Does Not Save Pediatrician Time

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Prescribing an antibiotic does not streamline office encounters for physicians treating children with presumed viral upper respiratory infections, according to a report in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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Few Adverse Side Effects Seen with Intranasal Flu Vaccine

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Widespread use of live, attenuated intranasal flu vaccine has not caused unexpected serious risks when used as recommended in the first two flu seasons after licensure, according to a study in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Hospitalization for Pneumonia on the Rise Among Elderly

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalizations for pneumonia increased by 20% between 1988 and 2002 in patients aged 64 to 85, and an increasing prevalence of comorbid conditions such as heart disease and diabetes may be the reason why, according to a report in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. One in 20 patients over age 85 is hospitalized for pneumonia every year.

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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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Sleep-Disordered Breathing Increases Stroke Risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) has been linked to an increased risk of stroke and may contribute to the development of strokes, researchers report in the December issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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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