Big Mac (Asthma) Attack
That double-decker bacon cheeseburger spells trouble for more than your waistline. Researchers in Australia found it’s also likely to increase airway inflammation (as measured in your sputum – that’s the mucus in your lungs) and decrease your response to bronchodilator medications. “The observation that a high-fat meal changes the response to albuterol was unexpected as we hadn’t considered the possibility that this would occur,” said Lisa Wood, PhD, a researcher who participated in the study. American Thoracic Society 2010 International Conference.
Ozone + Nicotine = Trouble
Some industrial and home air cleaners use ozone to take odors and impurities out of the air – such as from secondhand smoke. Ozone has long been recognized as a respiratory irritant. Now, scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that when nicotine from secondhand smoke mixes with ozone, it forms ultra-fine particles that can remain in the air long after the smoke is gone and penetrate deep into the airways of people who inhale them. The Environmental Protection Agency says ozone air filters alone are dangerous for people with asthma, but pack a double whammy when combined with secondhand smoke. Atmospheric Environment, August 2010.
Whooping Cough Report
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says several states have reported an increase in cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in 2010, including a state-wide epidemic in California. This is not unusual – CDC says the disease tends to peak every 3-5 years in the U.S., most recently in 2005 when more than 25,000 cases were reported. It’s too early to know if 2010 will go that high or higher, but CDC recommends you make sure you’re up to date with pertussis vaccinations. Many adolescents and adults need boosters for full immunity. Whooping cough is a bacterial disease that spreads very easily and can be dangerous for infants, young children and people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma.
Aridol: New Diagnostic Tool
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Aridol™ (mannitol inhalation powder) Bronchial Challenge Test Kit. This dry powder inhaler is approved for the assessment of bronchial hyperresponsiveness in patients 6 years of age and older. It can be used in pulmonary function laboratories as a replacement for methacholine. The Bronchial Challenge Test involves inhaling increasing concentrations of the test agent to see if airway constriction occurs. Because airway constriction can be significant, it’s important to have the text only performed in qualified laboratories. www.pharmaxis.com.au
First published in Allergy & Asthma Today, Winter 2010, Vol. 8, Issue 4.
Reviewed by Bradley Chipps, MD, and Neil MacIntyre, MD