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Managing Asthma in Children

Children's Health • • Allergies • • AsthmaJul 17 07

Asthma is the No. 1 cause of hospitalizations among children, but with proper management, children can have full participation in school and sporting events.

Experts estimate nearly 20 million Americans have asthma, ranging from 7 percent to 12 percent of children. Among African-Americans the rate of asthma is even higher.

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Dental assistants at risk of lung problems

Allergies • • Dental HealthJul 06 07

Dental assistants who work with substances called methacrylates may be at risk of developing asthma or chronic respiratory symptoms, a study has found.

Methacrylates are used in dental filling materials and bonding agents, like those used to cement porcelain veneers, crowns and orthodontic brackets. Dental assistants are exposed to airborne methacrylate particles when mixing these materials or during placement or removal of dental restorations.

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Cats may be trouble for any allergy sufferer

Allergies • • Respiratory ProblemsJul 02 07

People with allergies may have some constriction in their airways when they’re around a cat, even if they’re not specifically allergic to cats, a study published Monday suggests.

Researchers found that people with a range of allergies—to grass, mold or dust—were more prone to airway constriction if their homes were heavy with cat dander. This was true even when blood tests showed the allergy sufferers were not specifically sensitized to cats.

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Giving antibiotics to babies boosts asthma risk

Children's Health • • Allergies • • AsthmaJun 13 07

Children who received antibiotics as babies have a higher risk of developing asthma by age 7, Canadian researchers said on Monday.

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to children under age 1 for a host of reasons, most often for lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia or upper respiratory tract infections like ear and sinus infections.

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Asthma Not Controlled in Majority of Patients

Allergies • • Asthma • • Public HealthMay 30 07

A survey of 1,812 patients with moderate-to-severe asthma revealed that the disease was not controlled in 55 percent, despite the fact that most had health insurance and visited their health care providers regularly.

“Even more shocking was the finding that 38 percent of controlled asthmatics and 54 percent of uncontrolled asthmatics reported having had an asthma attack during which they feared for their life,” said Stephen P. Peters, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and a professor of pediatrics, internal medicine-pulmonary and associate director of the Center for Human Genomics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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Allergic diseases don’t affect fertility in women

Allergies • • Fertility and pregnancy • • Sexual HealthApr 17 07

Women with asthma, hay fever or eczema are no less fertile than their peers who don’t suffer from these allergic conditions, UK researchers report. In fact, they may be slightly more likely to have children.

“This is an important finding for women with allergic disease and their clinicians,” Dr. L. J. Tata of the University of Nottingham and colleagues write in their report, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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Mediterranean diet may ward off asthma, allergies

Allergies • • Asthma • • DietingApr 11 07

A traditional Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables and nuts during childhood appears to protect against symptoms of asthma and nasal allergies, according to a new study.

“There has been increasing interest in the role of nutrition in the development of asthma, and in the modulating effect of nutrition on environmental exposures,” Dr. Paul Cullinan, of Royal Brompton Hospital and National Heart and Lung Institute, London, UK, and colleagues write in the medical journal Thorax.

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Frequent Infections May be a Sign of Immunodeficiency

AIDS/HIV • • Allergies • • AsthmaApr 03 07

Children who get frequent infections, such as ear infections, sinusitis or pneumonia, may have a more severe condition called immunodeficiency, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

Patients who have immunodeficiency have infections that usually do not go away without using antibiotics and often recur within one or two weeks after antibiotic treatment is completed. These patients frequently need many courses of antibiotics each year to stay healthy. There are several forms of immunodeficiency and while some are very severe and life-threatening, many are milder but still important enough to cause recurrent or severe infections.

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Inhaled steroids do not alter course of COPD

Allergies • • Respiratory ProblemsMar 23 07

Inhaled steroid therapy can improve lung function in people with COPD, but after 6 months the decline in lung function resumes, according to a pooled analysis of trial data.

COPD—short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—is a progressive lung illness caused by smoking that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is characterized by difficulty breathing that is not completely reversible.

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Allergies Not Just for Children Anymore

Children's Health • • AllergiesFeb 20 07

What do all these people have in common - a 25-year-old man who sneezes every spring when the trees bloom, a 14-year-old girl who wheezes after petting a cat, a 3-year-old boy who gets a rash after drinking milk, and a 30-year-old woman who gets dizzy after she is stung by a wasp?

They all suffer from various forms of allergies.

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Aspirin may prevent asthma in adults: study

Children's Health • • Allergies • • Asthma • • Drug NewsJan 16 07

Results from the Physicians Health Study indicate that regular use of aspirin may reduce the risk of “new-onset” asthma in adults by 22 percent.

However, there is no evidence that aspirin improves symptoms in people who already have asthma, and it may, of course, cause acute breathing difficulties among individuals with “aspirin-intolerant asthma.”

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Research suggests beta agonists may alter the immune system

AllergiesNov 17 06

New research at Wake Forest University School of Medicine suggests that certain inhaled asthma medications – as well as similar chemicals our bodies produce during times of high stress – may worsen diseases such as asthma, heart failure and lupus that involve inflammation.

The scientific team led by Raymond Penn, Ph.D., and Matthew Loza, Ph.D, found that beta-agonists, such as those used in the treatment of asthma, increase the accumulation of type 2 T cells, a type of white blood cell that participates in immune system defense mechanisms. In certain diseases such as asthma and lupus, an over-reactive type 2 T cell response occurs and is believed to contribute to the disease.

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Important first step towards designing new therapies for shingles

AllergiesOct 21 06

A team of scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has identified a human protein that helps varicella-zoster virus, the cause of chickenpox and shingles, spread from cell to cell within the body.

NIAID virologist Jeffrey I. Cohen, M.D., and NIAID research fellow Qingxue Li, M.D., Ph.D., discovered that a surface protein of varicella-zoster virus attaches to a cellular protein called insulin-degrading enzyme, using it as a receptor to enter and infect cells. In the October 20, 2006 issue of the journal Cell, they also describe how interfering with this interaction inhibits the spread of virus among cells in the test tube. The discovery of this receptor is important in understanding varicella-zoster virus, say Drs. Cohen and Li.

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Asthma Symptoms Linked to Soot from Diesel Trucks in So. Bronx

AllergiesOct 17 06

Soot particles spewing from the exhaust of diesel trucks constitute a major contributor to the alarmingly high rates of asthma symptoms among school-aged children in the South Bronx, according to the results of a five-year study by researchers at New York University’s School of Medicine and Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Over the course of the study, asthma symptoms, particularly wheezing, doubled among elementary school children on high traffic days, as large numbers attend schools in close proximity to busy truck routes because of past land-use decisions.

The South Bronx has among the highest incidences of asthma hospital admissions in New York City, and a recent city survey of asthma in the South Bronx’s Hunts Point district found an asthma prevalence rate in elementary school of 21 percent to 23 percent. The South Bronx is surrounded by several major highways, including Interstates 95, 87, 278 and 895. At Hunts Point Market alone, some 12,000 trucks roll in and out daily.

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Research holds promise for herpes vaccine

AllergiesOct 13 06

A study by a Montana State University researcher suggests a new avenue for developing a vaccine against genital herpes and other diseases caused by herpes simplex viruses.

In a study published earlier this year in the Virology Journal, MSU virologist William Halford showed that mice vaccinated with a live, genetically-modified herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) showed no signs of disease 30 days after being exposed to a particularly lethal “wild-type” strain of the virus.

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