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February 2009 Briefing - Pulmonology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Pulmonology for February 2009. 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.

Risk Score May Help Predict Atrial Fibrillation

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A newly developed risk score based on readily available clinical factors can predict an individual's absolute risk of developing atrial fibrillation, allowing high-risk individuals to be targeted for prevention, according to research published in the Feb. 28 issue of The Lancet.

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Exacerbations Cluster in Time in Chronic Lung Disease

FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Exacerbations cluster together in time in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with second exacerbations occurring within eight weeks of the first in about one-quarter of patients, researchers report in the Mar. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Early Exposure to Fungi Raises Risk of Wheezing

THURSDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to spores and pollen in the first three months of life affects children's risk of early wheezing, according to a report published online Feb. 24 in Thorax.

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Exercise Testing Predicts Death in Lung Fibrosis Patients

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis whose maximal oxygen uptake during exercise is below a certain threshold have a higher risk of death, according to study findings published in the Mar. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Insurance Essential for Good Health, Well-Being

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Having health insurance is vital for health and well-being, and when rates of uninsurance are high, even insured people are more likely to struggle to obtain necessary care, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine released online Feb. 24.

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Vitamin D Levels Linked to Respiratory Tract Infections

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D levels are inversely associated with upper respiratory tract infections, in a robust dose-response relationship that is clinically and statistically significant, according to research published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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US Health Spending May Have Hit $2.4 Trillion in 2008

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Health spending in the United States was estimated to be $2.4 trillion last year, and is expected to account for an unprecedented share of the economy this year, according to a report published online Feb. 24 in Health Affairs.

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Heat Increases Respiratory Hospital Admissions in Elderly

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing temperatures in Europe in the spring and summer are associated with an increase in hospital admissions for respiratory problems in the elderly, which may become worse with global warming and an aging population, researchers report in the Mar. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Hormone Reverses Asthma Changes in Mouse Model

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The antifibrotic peptide hormone relaxin reverses lung fibrosis and airway hyperresponsiveness in a mouse model of asthma, according to the results of a study published online Feb. 12 in Endocrinology.

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Proposed Changes to Health Care Would Reduce Costs

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Simultaneous gains in universal health coverage, improved health outcomes and slowed spending growth would have a major impact on the development of public policy, according to a perspective published in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Transparency, Globalization Growing in Clinical Research

THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- All clinical trial data and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration database should be publicly available, and global clinical research should be conducted in relevant populations for potential applications of the intervention, according to two articles published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Pharmacogenetic Algorithm Improves Warfarin Dosage

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A pharmacogenetic dosing algorithm for warfarin is better able to predict the stable therapeutic dose, providing a basis for a larger clinical trial to test the efficacy of these algorithms, according to research published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Best for Certain Patients

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), and not percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), results in lower incidence of cardiac or cerebrovascular events in patients with three-vessel or left main coronary artery disease, and should therefore remain the standard of care, according to research released online Feb. 18 in advance of publication in the Mar. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Implementing a Quality Improvement Faculty Path

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A new career pathway in academic medicine, termed clinicians in quality improvement, is a justified concept to achieve and recognize excellence in patient safety, according to a commentary published in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Videofluoroscopy Useful in Observing Apneic Changes

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with obstructive sleep apnea demonstrated soft palate changes during normoxygenated and desaturated periods while sleeping, as viewed with sleep videofluoroscopy (SVF), according to research published in the February issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

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Incidence of ICU MRSA Infections Declining

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) central line-associated bloodstream infections has decreased over recent years in most intensive care units (ICUs), according to research published Feb. 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Ads Featuring 'Drug Facts Box' Help Educate Consumers

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Replacing the brief summary in direct-to-consumer ads with a "drug facts box" may result in improved consumer knowledge and judgment about medication benefits and side effects, according to study findings released online Feb. 17 in advance of publication in the Apr. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Lifestyle Intervention May Cure Sleep Apnea

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Lifestyle intervention including weight reduction is an effective and potentially curative first-line treatment for a majority of patients with obstructive sleep apnea, researchers report in the Feb. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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No Signs of Epidemic in Current Influenza Season

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The mortality rate due to pneumonia or influenza is below the epidemic threshold for the flu season so far, according to a report published in the Feb. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Secondhand Smoke Linked to Cognitive Impairment

FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Secondhand smoke exposure may be associated with an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment, according to research published online Feb. 12 in BMJ.

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Social Factors Affect Smoke Avoidance in Pregnant Women

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- In pregnant non-smoking black women, social factors play a significant role in the avoidance of environmental tobacco smoke, according to an article published in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Drug Regimen Effective for Small-Cell Lung Cancer

THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A 21-day regimen of irinotecan and carboplatin is effective and well-tolerated in treating extensive and relapsed small-cell lung cancer, according to the results of a study published online Feb. 9 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Financial Incentives May Improve Smoking Cessation

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Offering workers financial incentives to stop smoking was associated with higher long-term smoking cessation rates, according to research published in the Feb. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Dronedarone May Offer Benefits in Atrial Fibrillation

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with atrial fibrillation, the use of dronedarone -- which is similar in profile to amiodarone -- was associated with a lower rate of hospitalization for cardiovascular events or death, according to research published in the Feb. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Care Coordination Programs Don't Benefit Medicare Patients

TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- For Medicare beneficiaries with chronic illnesses, most care coordination programs have little impact on reducing hospitalizations and costs or improving quality of care, according to a report published in the Feb. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Corticosteroid Use Associated with Pneumonia in COPD

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term inhaled corticosteroid use in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia, though without a significantly higher risk of pneumonia-related death, according to a review article published in the Feb. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Smoking Stops Cell Growth Via Aging Protein

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Cigarette smoke stops cell growth and impairs cell migration via a protein involved in premature aging, according to research published in the Feb. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Trichloramine at Ohio Waterpark Sickened 665 People

MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to airborne trichloramine caused eye and respiratory irritations in 665 people who were patrons and lifeguards of an indoor waterpark resort in Ohio, according to a report published in the Feb. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Preoperative Reduction in Smoking is Cost-Beneficial

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Preoperative interventions for smoking cessation can result in modest cost savings, which may accumulate with the use of an institution-based smoking cessation program through reduced total hospitalization costs, according to research published in the February issue of Chest.

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Height Loss Linked to Loss of Lung Function

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- An increased arm span to height ratio, suggesting a loss of height, is significantly associated with reduced respiratory airflow volumes, increased dyspnea severity, and right heart strain indicative of pulmonary heart disease, according to research published in the February issue of Chest.

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Breathing Problems After World Trade Center Attacks

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Responders to the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks in New York showed increased rates of spirometric abnormalities at two examinations in the following years, most commonly low forced vital capacity (FVC), according to research published in the February issue of Chest.

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Asthma Not Linked to More School Absences in Study

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In a Texas school district, children with and without asthma missed similar amounts of school, according to research published in the February issue of Chest.

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RSV Causes High Morbidity Among Children

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News)-- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a substantial cause of morbidity among U.S. children, affecting not just high-risk but also previously healthy children, according to a study published in the Feb. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Resting Heart Rate Can Predict Women's Heart Death Risk

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A low-tech and inexpensive test to measure women's resting heart rate can predict the risk of myocardial infarction and coronary death, according to research published online Feb. 3 in BMJ.

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Asthma Lung Changes Relatively Constant with Time

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The degree and extent of focal airway narrowing and their regional distribution are relatively constant over time in asthma patients, according to the results of a study published in the February issue of Radiology.

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Sedatives Effective for Critically Ill on Ventilation

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Dexmedetomidine is similar to midazolam in effectively sedating critically ill patients on mechanical ventilation for prolonged periods, but with less delirium and shorter time to extubation, according to research published online Feb. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, released early to coincide with the Society of Critical Care Medicine's annual meeting in Nashville.

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Microcoils Effective to Guide Lung Nodule Removal

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Computed tomography-guided placement of microcoils to guide video-assisted thoracoscopic surgical (VATS) excision of lung nodules is safe and effective with few complications, according to study findings published in the February issue of Radiology.

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Footballers at Risk for Drug-Resistant Staph Infections

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Poor hygiene, skin injuries and living in close proximity to teammates contributed to an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in 2007 among members of a high school football team, according to a report published in the Jan. 30 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Physician's Briefing
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