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Environews by Topic: Asthma (Environmental Health Perspectives, EHP, is a monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news on the impact of the environment on human health. EHP is published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

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Report Links Vehicle Exhaust to Health Problems … Exhaust from cars and trucks exacerbates asthma in children and may cause new cases as well as other respiratory illnesses and heart problems resulting in deaths, an independent institute that focuses on vehicle-related air pollution has concluded. The report, to be issued on Wednesday by the nonprofit Health Effects Institute, analyzed 700 peer-reviewed studies conducted around the world on varying aspects of motor vehicle emissions and health. It found “evidence of a causal relationship,” but not proof of one, between pollution from vehicles and impaired lung function and accelerated hardening of the arteries. …(NYTimes by Matthew L. Wald, Jan. 12, 2010)

A Breathing Technique Offers Help for People With Asthma … Ordinarily, during an asthma attack, people panic and breathe quickly and as deeply as they can, blowing off more and more carbon dioxide. Breathing rate is controlled not by the amount of oxygen in the blood but by the amount of carbon dioxide, the gas that regulates the acid-base level of the blood. Dr. Buteyko concluded that hyperventilation — breathing too fast and too deeply — could be the underlying cause of asthma, making it worse by lowering the level of carbon dioxide in the blood so much that the airways constrict to conserve it. This technique may seem counterintuitive: when short of breath or overly stressed, instead of taking a deep breath, the Buteyko method instructs people to breathe shallowly and slowly through the nose, breaking the vicious cycle of rapid, gasping breaths, airway constriction and increased wheezing…. (NYTimes, by Jane E. Brody, Nov. 3, 2009)

Cleaner Air Found to Add 5 Months to Life …. The cleaner the air you breathe, the longer you will live. But how much longer? Researchers at Brigham Young University examined changes in life expectancy in 51 metropolitan areas, comparing those figures with improvements in air quality in each region from the early 1980s to the late 1990s. After controlling for smoking, socioeconomic factors and other variables, the scientists found that each decrease of 10 micrograms of pollutant particles per cubic meter of air was associated with an increase of more than seven months in average life expectancy. Over all, life expectancy increased by an average of two years and eight months in the areas studied. Drawing on data from this and other studies, the researchers estimated that five months of the increase was attributable strictly to improvements in air quality. “This is a large, nationwide natural experiment,” said C. Arden Pope III, a professor of economics at B.Y.U. and the lead author of the study, which is to be published on Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine. “We did an intervention — improved air quality — and the question is, ‘Did we get a return?’ ” he continued. “The bottom line is yes, it looks like we did. Our efforts to clean up the air are helping.” (NYTimes, by Nicholas Bakalar, Jan. 21, 2009)

Fine-Particulate Air Pollution and Life Expectancy in the United States … Exposure to fine-particulate air pollution has been associated with increased morbidityand mortality, suggesting that sustained reductions in pollution exposure should result in improved life expectancy. This study directly evaluated the changesin life expectancy associated with differential changes in fine particulate air pollution that occurred in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s…. Conclusions: A reduction in exposure to ambient fine-particulate air pollution contributed to significant and measurable improvements in life expectancy in the United States.(The New England Journal of Medicine, January 2009)

Nurses who breathe in cleaning chemicals are more likely to get asthma — Nurses who are exposed to cleaning products, antiseptics and disinfectants in hospitals are 70 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with asthma, research has found. … Researchers in America found chemicals in wards run by nurses which could irritate the lungs including cleansers and antiseptics used on patients’ skin, chemicals used in the sterilisation of equipment and all purpose cleaners such as bleach. Using powdered latex gloves, before they were phased out, and administering medicines in aerosol form also increased the risk of asthma, the study found. There are 5.4m people in the UK currently receiving treatment for asthma and cleaning products and irritants in the workplace are known to be one of the causes of the disease.The findings are based on a sample of 3650 healthcare workers including 941 nurses in Texas, America. Cleaning instruments was associated with a 67 per cent increased chance of being diagnosed with asthma and nurses who were exposed to general cleaning products were 72 per cent more likely to have asthma. The findings are published online by the British Medical Journal before appearing in print in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Lead researcher Associate Professor Ahmed Arif, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in America, said: “Substituting cleaning agents with environmentally friendly ‘green chemicals’ and using appropriate personal care protection could help minimise occupational exposures in this professional group. Nurses who were exposed to adhesives and solvents in the care of patients, which can involve using glue instead of stitches in wounds, were 50 per cent more likely to report symptoms of asthma but not a formal diagnosis. Prof Arif said: “Nurses, especially those working in surgical or intensive care units, are regularly exposed to adhesives and adhesive removers during routine patient care activities. During our original walk-through surveys of hospitals, several adhesives and adhesive removers were identified. “Some of the products containing these chemicals were available as sprays, which increase the potential for aerosolisation. To our knowledge, exposure to these types of compounds has not been previously linked to asthma among nursing professionals and, hence, warrants further evaluation.” … (Telegraph, by Rebecaa Smith, Jan. 19, 2009)

Cleaning Up School Buses … (Enivronmental Defense Fund, by Mel Peffers & Isabelle Silverman,October 2008)

Some scented household products contain chemicals classified as toxic, UW study finds …. The fumes that waft from top-selling air fresheners and laundry products contain dozens of chemicals, including several classified as toxic or hazardous, according to a University of Washington study published today. The fumes that waft from top-selling air fresheners and laundry products contain dozens of chemicals, including several classified as toxic or hazardous, says a University of Washington study published today. None of the chemicals was listed on product labels, nor does the federal government require companies to disclose ingredients in fragrances, said study author Anne Steinemann. … (Seattle Times, July 23, 2008)

The Claim: Thunderstorms Can Set Off Asthma Attacks …. Most people with asthma know that smoke, mold and chemicals in the air can set off asthma attacks. But thunderstorms? It is a relationship scientists looked at for years, and a counterintuitive one since thunderstorms are generally thought to clear the air. Yet almost every study to examine the link has found a strong one. The most recent study , published in the journal Thorax, is perhaps the most exhaustive. It was conducted by a team of climatologists and epidemiologists who looked at more than 10 million emergency room visits in 41 hospitals during an 11-year period in Atlanta. Of 215,832 asthma emergency room visits, the team found that 28,350 occurred on days that followed thunderstorms, an incidence at least 3 percent higher than on days that did not. That figure may not sound like much, but in a city of millions of people, it could translate into thousands of cases — and possibly many deaths. Several other studies over the years have also found spikes in the number of cases after stormy weather. The reason is something of a mystery, but scientists believe thunderstorms can spread pollutants, release asthma-inducing starch particles and rupture pollen grains, making them small enough to enter the airways. THE BOTTOM LINE Asthma attacks can be initiated by thunder. (NYTimse, by Anahad O’Connor, July 29, 2008)

First-Born Babies’ Higher Asthma and Allergy Rates Due to Pregnancy Conditions … First-born children are at higher risk of developing asthma and allergy because of different conditions they experience in the uterus, according to new research from the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom, which will be presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 2008 International Conference in Toronto on Wednesday, May 21. In order to determine whether the higher risk of asthma and allergy in first-born children is the result of a prenatal process of post-natal factors, researchers investigated whether birth order affected several immune markers that are set at birth, including a variation in the DNA of the IL-13 gene, which is linked to allergic development. …. “We were not surprised that birth order had an effect on the development of the immune system, but were surprised that this interaction persisted at least through age ten,” said Dr. Karmaus.This gene-birth order effect is indicative that genes act differently in first-born children. “Our findings add to the evidence that allergic reactions are programmed during pregnancy and then effect the disease in later life,” he added. “This finding may partially account for the increasing prevalence of asthma and allergies in children in the last 30 years, primarily seen in the western world, as developed nations’ birthrates continue to decline.” …. (Newswire, May 13, 2008)

The Trucker’s Lament … Lorenzo Fernandez has been a truck driver at the Port of Oakland, California, for just two years, but he already has a chronic cough and an unrelenting sore throat. Drivers who have been on the job longer suffer from even more serious conditions. He worries that he won’t be able to support his family if his health worsens.Every day he and other port workers inhale a toxic mix of air pollutants that come from diesel-burning trucks–including the one he drives–as well as ships, cranes, and other dockside machinery. Inside the cabs of trucks like Fernandez’s, the concentration of diesel particulates is often up to 2,000 times greater than levels considered acceptable by state and federal environmental protection agencies. That dismal finding is among the many detailed in a report, Driving on Fumes: Truck Drivers Face Elevated Health Risks from Diesel Pollution, recently released by NRDC and the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports. Drivers don’t even receive health care benefits from the companies they work for–technically, they’re independent contractors–and they’re also responsible for buying and maintaining their own trucks. It’s nearly impossible for truckers to buy both health insurance and a lower emissions vehicle. Several days after the NRDC report was released, the California Air Resources Board, which sets regulations for trucks at the state’s ports, adopted a new rule slashing diesel pollution from trucks. Now NRDC is working to shift the burden of upgrading the truck fleet from the drivers and taxpayers to the trucking companies and ports themselves. (onearth, by Alyssa Robb, Sping 2008)

2007

Asthma en Español: You Wheeze and Snore Together … How do you “wheeze” in Spanish? Apparently you don’t, if a new Columbia research study is to be believed. The study identifies this as a stumbling block in a city where the asthma rates are among the highest in the nation, where the population is about one-quarter Spanish-speaking, and where asthma rates among Latinos (both children and adults) are higher than the city as a whole. (More grim statistics are available in the New York State Department of Health’s 90-page asthma survey [pdf].) According to a survey conducted by asthma specialists at Columbia University Medical Center, which is situated in the heavily Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights, there is no precise translation for the word “wheeze.” … (NYTimes Blog, by Jennifer 8. Lee, October 8, 2007)

Prevalence of Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm in a Cohort of Varsity College Athletes. … Exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) occurs more commonly in elite athletes than in the general population. There have been relatively few prevalence studies examining EIB in college athletes despite studies which have shown significant morbidity from asthma attacks related to exercise occurring in athletes in this age group. None of the previous studies utilized eucapnic voluntary hyperpnea (EVH) testing, which is the currently recommended test to document EIB in Olympians…. Results: One hundred seven athletes from 22 sports participated. Forty-two of 107 athletes (39%) were EIB positive according to EVH results. Thirty-six of 42 EIB-positive athletes (86%) had no prior history of EIB or asthma. There were no significant differences in the prevalence of EIB according to sex of the athlete (P = 0.65) or ventilation demands of the sport (P = 0.64). Symptoms were not predictive of EIB (P = 0.44). The prevalence of EIB was 36% in athletes with negative symptoms and 35% for those with positive symptoms. Athletes in high-ventilation sports were significantly more symptomatic (48%) than athletes in low-ventilation sports (25%) (P = 0.02); however, there was no difference in the prevalence of EIB between the two groups (P = 0.64). Conclusions: Varsity athletes show a high incidence of EIB when objectively diagnosed by a variety of pulmonary function criteria. Sex of the athlete or ventilation demands of the sport does not affect the prevalence of EIB. The use of symptoms to diagnose EIB is not predictive of whether athletes have objectively documented EIB. Empiric diagnosis and treatment of EIB on the basis of subjective symptoms alone may lead to an increased number of inaccurate diagnoses and increased morbidity (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, September 2007)

First Potential Biomarker For Human Exposure To Diesel Exhaust … Scientists in Japan and the United States are reporting development of the first test to detect a potential biomarker for human exposure to diesel exhaust, a major source of environmental pollution that is classified as a probable human carcinogen. In an article scheduled for the July 16 issue of ACS’s Chemical Research in Toxicology, Akira Toriba and colleagues say the new method should be useful for monitoring human exposure to diesel exhaust and in studies of potential cancer risks associated with that exposure. Past research, the report notes, had predicted that certain “metabolites” — compounds formed in the bodies of people exposed to diesel exhaust — should appear in the urine. One of those compounds is known by the acronym 1-NP and its metabolites are OHNAAPs and OHNPs. … (Science Daily, July 31, 2007)

Air pollutant chemicals and oxidized lipids exhibit genome wide synergistic effects on endothelial cells … Ambient air pollution is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. We have found that exposure to ambient ultrafine particulate matter (PM), highly enriched in redox cycling organic chemicals, promotes atherosclerosis in mice. We hypothesize that these pro-oxidative chemicals could synergize with oxidized lipid components generated in low density lipoprotein (LDL) particles to enhance vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis…. Diesel exhaust particles and oxidized phospholipids synergistically affect the expression profile of several gene modules that correspond to pathways relevant to vascular inflammatory processes such as atherosclerosis….. (Journal Genome Biology, 26 July 2007)

Manhattan: City to Open Asthma Center …. The city will open a center in East Harlem to improve the treatment of asthma, officials said yesterday. Observing that East Harlem had the highest asthma rate in the city, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence would train health care workers in the most effective treatments, provide walk-in screening and help reduce exposure to environmental factors that worsen the condition. “With the resources of this great city, no child’s place of birth should determine whether they suffer from asthma,” Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, said in a statement. (NYTimes, May 31, 2007)

Enose’ Device Sniffs Out Asthma … A device dubbed the electronic nose — or Enose — may be able to spot differences in the breath of people with asthma and those without, potentially aiding in diagnosis, Dutch experts say. However, this “scent detective” is still in the early stages of development and can’t yet effectively distinguish between mild and severe asthma, they added. … (Washington Post, May 22, 2007)

Money Falls Short of Plans to Clear Bus Air … State officials around the country are struggling to find the money to carry out initiatives to reduce emissions on school buses. And Congress has yet to deliver on the $1 billion over five years it promised in 2005 to help states clean up diesel fleets, including school buses. Breathing high concentrations of diesel emissions — known as particulates — can cause minor ailments like headaches, wheezing and dizziness. But studies have also found that the contaminants can do more serious damage. Recent studies by the Environmental Protection Agency and other groups link the emissions to asthma and lung cancer. Two types of filters are available to reduce the most dangerous emissions on older buses. Diesel particulate filters, which are installed in place of mufflers at about $700 each, can reduce tailpipe emissions by 85 percent. Closed crankcase filtration systems, which go under the hood and cost $7,500, can reduce engine soot by 90 percent. A bus can be fitted with one or both filters. An estimated 390,000 diesel school buses are on the road, according to the E.P.A. Most newer buses meet stricter emissions guidelines and do not need filters. But more than 100,000 diesel buses were manufactured before 1990 and are big polluters, according to the agency. Researchers say emissions enter through doors and windows on older buses. The longer the ride, the more harmful it is to children, they say. … (NYTimes/AP, May 6, 2007)

SALES OF OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS DOUBLE AS SPRING ASTHMA AND ALLERGY SEASON ARRIVES IN NEW YORK CITY … Sales of over-the-counter allergy medications have doubled in the past week – one indication that spring allergy season is here. The Health Department routinely monitors these sales as well as asthma emergency department visits, which tend to pick up in the spring because pollen is a trigger for asthma attacks. The Health Department reminds New Yorkers with asthma and the parents of children with asthma to make sure they are following an asthma action plan that can help manage asthma and avoid attacks. Most common allergy medications do not prevent asthma attacks and are no substitute for the right prescribed asthma medication. … Air pollution is also a common asthma trigger. … (NCDOHMH News Release, May 3, 2007)
… Sales of over-the-counter allergy medications have doubled in the past week – one indication that spring allergy season is here. The Health Department routinely monitors these sales as well as asthma emergency department visits, which tend to pick up in the spring because pollen is a trigger for asthma attacks. The Health Department reminds New Yorkers with asthma and the parents of children with asthma to make sure they are following an asthma action plan that can help manage asthma and avoid attacks. Most common allergy medications do not prevent asthma attacks and are no substitute for the right prescribed asthma medication. … Air pollution is also a common asthma trigger. … (NCDOHMH News Release, May 3, 2007)

Study Tracks Exposure to Diesel Fumes … Commuters on average spend 6 percent of their day getting back and forth to work, but their time spent in buses, trains and cars accounts for more than half their daily exposure to harmful diesel fumes that can shorten lives and cause disease, according to a new study by the environmental group Clean Air Task Force. The study, released yesterday in Washington, found that pollution levels in four cities, including New York, were four to eight times higher inside cars, buses and trains than in the outdoor air. Very fine particles, like those in diesel exhaust, are believed to shorten the lives of 70,000 Americans a year. The group said using ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel and installing easily available filters can reduce pollution from diesel engines by 90 percent. … (NYTimes, by Anthony DePalma, March 1, 2007)

In Testing for Allergies, a Single Shot May Suffice … Some people describe the traditional rounds of test pricks as archaic or inhumane; others are unfazed by them. But few patients are aware that an alternative technique is available: testing the blood for immunoglobulin E, or IgE. Allergists have typically turned to blood testing as a last resort when skin testing cannot be used. Few in the United States use blood testing routinely, experts say, though it is being used more often to help diagnose food allergies. Yet studies have found that newer blood tests are as sensitive as skin tests and less subjective. The blood test is also part of a larger debate about who should be treating allergy sufferers. Blood testing would allow pediatricians and other primary care doctors to diagnose allergies and treat many patients. But allergists contend that these generalists are not qualified to assess the laboratory results. … (NYTimes, by Laurie Tarkan, March 20, 2007)

Inhaled Steroids Best Treatment for Children With Asthma … Several medications are available to help control children’s asthma, but there haven’t been clinical trials directly comparing them. A new study tested the effectiveness and safety of three different asthma medicines. It found that inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective initial daily therapy for children with mild to moderate persistent asthma. … In the January, 2007, issue of Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the researchers reported that the inhaled corticosteroid and combination treatments had similar efficacy in controlling symptoms, and both were more effective than montelukast. The combination treatment wasn’t as effective as the inhaled corticosteroid, however, in other important measures of asthma control such as lung function. None of the medicines caused significant growth effects, a concern for many parents and doctors. … (NIH, Feb. 5, 2007)

Study Finds Gritty Air Raises Heart Disease Risk in Older Women … The fine grit in polluted air increases the risk of heart disease in older women much more sharply than scientists realized, a federally financed study has found, raising questions of whether environmental standards are strict enough. The Environmental Protection Agency tightened its daily limit for the tiny specks, or fine particulates, in September. But the new standard left the average annual limit untouched, allowing a concentration of 15 millionths of a gram for every cubic meter of air. In this study of 65,893 women, the average exposure was 13 millionths, with two-thirds of the subjects falling under the national standard. But every increase of 10 millionths, starting at zero, increased the risk of fatal cardiovascular disease by about 75 percent. That is several times higher than in a study by the American Cancer Society. “There was a lot of evidence previously suggesting that the long-term standard should be lower, and this is adding one more study to that evidence,” said Douglas Dockery, a pollution specialist at the Harvard School of Public Health. … (NYTimes/AP, Jan. 31, 2007)

Highway Exhaust Stunts Lung Growth, Study Finds … A new study suggests that children who grow up within a third of a mile of a freeway may be sustaining permanent respiratory problems. Researchers studied developing lung function in 1,445 children living in 12 Southern California communities for eight years, from age 10 to 18. They found that the closer the children lived to a freeway, the more likely they were to experience reduced growth in lung function as measured by the standard tests. … The findings were published online Friday by the British journal Lancet. “Our finding of a larger impact on small lung airways is consistent with what is known about the types of pollutants that are emitted from the tailpipe,” said W. James Gauderman, the lead author and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California. These pollutants, he continued, “can be inhaled deeply into the lung and may have the largest impact on the smallest lung airways.”… (NYTimes, byNicholas Bakalar, Jan. 30, 2007)

2006

An Epidemic No One Understands … Genetic changes in the population cannot explain the increasing rates, though, because such changes occur too slowly to account for the rapid increases in asthma, the authors said, suggesting that environmental factors are more likely candidates. But what has changed enough in the environment to explain spiking asthma rates? … (NYTimes, by Denise Grady, Nov. 28, 2006)

When It Comes to Lung Cancer, She Doesn’t Believe in Waiting … Since 1999, Dr. Claudia I. Henschke, a soft-spoken professor of radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, has been waging a relentless campaign. She has been trying to convince the medical establishment that smokers and former smokers should be offered routine CT scans to detect lung cancer when tumors are still small enough to be cured. By her estimate, the scans could prevent 80 percent of the 160,000 deaths a year from lung cancer in the United States. She and her colleagues have had their findings published in prestigious medical journals like The Lancet and, last week, The New England Journal of Medicine. … (NYTimes, by Denise Grady, Oct. 31, 2006)

Reports: Health ….Online Health Search 2006: Most internet users start at a search engine when looking for health information online. Very few check the source and date of the information they find….(PEW/Internet, 10/29/06)

A Study Links Trucks’ Exhaust to Bronx Schoolchildren’s Asthma … In New York City, air pollution levels have typically been monitored by inanimate objects, at more than a dozen locations around town. But in the South Bronx, from 2002 to 2005, air pollution monitors went mobile. They went to the playground, to the gritty sidewalks, even to the movies. A group of schoolchildren carried the monitors everywhere they went. The instruments, attached to the backpacks of children with asthma, allowed researchers at New York University to measure the pollution the children were exposed to, morning to night. The South Bronx is home to miles of expressways, more than a dozen waste-transfer stations, a sewage-treatment plant and truck traffic from some of the busiest wholesale produce, meat and fish markets in the world. It is also home to some of the highest asthma hospitalization rates for children in the city. The N.Y.U. study found that the students were exposed to high levels of air pollutants in their neighborhoods and that children in the South Bronx were twice as likely to attend a school near a highway as were children in other parts of the city. …. The children, who were volunteers ages 10 to 12, each took part in the study for a month. They reported to researchers stationed at the schools twice a day and kept diaries on their asthma symptoms and daily activities. Their lung function was tested, and the filters from their backpacks were regularly changed and analyzed. A van parked near the schools served as an air-monitoring lab. …Airborne particles like dust, soot and smoke that are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter are small enough to lodge themselves deep in the lungs. Studies have linked pollution of this sort to respiratory problems, decreased lung function, nonfatal heart attacks and aggravated asthma, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. E.P.A. officials said these fine particles, a significant portion of which are produced by diesel engine emissions, lead to 15,000 premature deaths a year nationwide. In the South Bronx study, of the 69 days for which measurements were taken over the three-year period, average daily exposure to fine-particle pollution for a group of 10 children exceeded the E.P.A.’s new standard on 18 days. The standard will be 35 micrograms per cubic meter in December….Dr. Thurston said the findings of the study, which will be published in a scientific journal next year, showed that only 5 to 10 percent of the fine particle pollution was soot from diesel exhaust, but it was that portion that seemed to be having the worst effect on the children’s asthma. He said their symptoms, like wheezing, doubled on days when pollution from truck traffic was highest. … (NYTimes, by Manny Fernandex, October, 29, 2006)

Heavy Traffic Can Be A Pain in the … Ear? Vehicle Emissions Linked to Ottis Media … Traffic is a major source of air pollutants, and more studies are looking at the role of traffic-related air pollution in children’s health. Researchers report in this issue that young children exposed to higher levels of traffic pollution have a greater incidence of otitis media (middle ear infections) than those exposed to lower levels … in 2002, the same team found that such pollution increased the risk for asthma and upper respiratory tract infections in young children. Now they focus on otitis media because upper respiratory tract infections often progress to ear infections, which are one of the leading reasons for visits to doctors and the use of antibiotics in childhood. … (Environmental Health Perspectives, September 2006)

Low vitamin E linked to asthma… Expectant mums should ensure they get enough vitamin E as low levels during pregnancy increase the risk of asthma in the unborn child, UK experts say. Children of mothers who had the lowest intake were over five times more likely to have asthma than peers whose mothers had the highest vitamin E intakes. … (BBC, 09/02/06)

Asthma attacks spike when kids had back to school … For millions of American children with asthma, the start of the school year can bring a rise in severe attacks and frantic trips to the emergency room. More than six times as many asthmatic children of elementary school age are admitted to the hospital in early fall than during the hot, smoggy days of summer, according to studies done by scientists in the United States and Canada. “Researchers speculate that it has to do with kids getting together in small indoor spaces again and passing around viruses,” said Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. “Getting a respiratory virus such as the flu or a cold can trigger an asthma attack.” Indoor air pollution ranging from mold growing on ceiling tiles to fur shedding off the class hamster also can cause attacks. Even the fumes from strong cleansers used by janitors can pose a threat. “Then there’s the problem of the diesel-powered school bus sitting out front with its motor running,” Edelman said. … (USA Today, 8/16/06)

Special ed students may have high astha rates… One in three special education students in New York City public schools has asthma, compared to just one in five in the general school population, a new study shows. “That’s a huge number” — it may be that many children in special education are there because they have asthma, co-author Dr. Luz Claudio of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City told Reuters Health. “Managing that disease successfully may remove them from special education.” The percentage of kids with asthma in special education was as high as 60 percent in some schools, she added. Low-income urban children are known to be at greater risk of having their asthma under poor control, Claudio noted. “It’s a manageable chronic disease,” she added, but “our findings show that a lot of kids from this group are not well managed.” To investigate whether there might be a relationship between having asthma and being in special education classes, Claudio and her colleague Jeanette A. Stingone surveyed 24 randomly chosen New York City public elementary schools via parent questionnaires. … (Reuters, by Anne Harding, Jul 28, 2006)

Hazards: Indoor Pools May Pose Danger for Young Lungs … Could indoor pools be contributing to the increase in asthma among children? The idea has been around for a while, but new research that compared the number of pools in different parts of Europe with the incidence of the disease has found that this may well be the case. Writing in the current journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the researchers said that the more indoor pools per capita there were, the greater the prevalence of childhood asthma and wheezing. … Chlorine products are regularly used in pools to fight disease. But they give off strong gases — giving pools their distinctive smell — when the water is disturbed or when the chlorine destroys organic matter from swimmers. “The discovery that this chlorine-laden atmosphere can be deleterious to the lungs of young children exercising in it is not surprising,” the researchers wrote. The study suggested that pools might need to be better ventilated…. (NYTimes, July 25, 2006)

Vital Signs: Connections: A Few Extra Pounds May Raise Acid Reflux Risk … Women who gain weight, even within the limits of normal, may increase their risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease, a new study suggests. Gastroesophageal reflux is a disorder characterized by heartburn and acid regurgitation, and, rarely, it can be a precursor of esophageal cancer. The study was published in the June 1 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. … Compared with women who had body mass indexes of 20 to 22.4, the researchers found, those with B.M.I. readings of 22.5 to 24.9 were about 40 percent more likely to have the disease, while those with B.M.I.’s of 25 to 27.4 were 2.2 times as likely to suffer. The women in the 27.5 to 29.9 range had a risk about two and a half times as great as that of the base line group, and in those women with readings above 30, the risk almost tripled. The body mass index is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal. “One key aspect of our findings,” said Dr. Brian C. Jacobson, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University and the study’s lead author, “is to shed some light on the fact that you don’t have to be labeled ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’ before you may experience health-related effects from excess body fat.” Although the study demonstrated the association only in women, Dr. Jacobson said, “I’ve seen many instances where weight gain was associated with new reflux symptoms and weight loss was associated with improvement among both men and women.” (NYTimes, by Nicholas Bakalar, June 6, 2006)

A Cohort Study of Indoor Nitrogen Dioxide and House Dust Mite Exposure in Asthmatic Children … Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate dose-response relationships between asthma symptoms and indoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and house dust mite allergen (HDM) in children. … Conclusion: This study has established reliable risk estimates for exacerbations of asthma symptoms in children based on dose-response investigations of indoor NO2 and HDM. (Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 48(5):462-469, May 2006)

Childhood asthma and extreme values of body mass index: the harlem Chilren’s Zone Asthma Initiative … (J Urban Health, 2006 May)

Study Links Asthma to Antibiotics …. Babies treated with antibiotics before their first birthdays are more likely to develop asthma, according to a study published today in the journal Chest. Researchers at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, analyzed eight studies from around the world that looked at a total of 12,082 children. They found that children diagnosed with asthma, which is the most common chronic illness in children, were twice as likely as nonasthmatics to have had antibiotics as infants. … (Wall Street Journal, by Elena Cherney, March 14, 2006)

Standards: Even Approved Amount of Ozone Is Found Harmful … A study sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that air even at the E.P.A.’s current acceptable level of ozone — 80 parts per billion — can bring on a significantly increased risk of premature death. Ozone, the major component of smog, is a molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms bound together. It can cause lung damage when inhaled. By applying statistical models to air pollution, weather and mortality for 98 American cities over a 14-year period, the researchers determined that an increase of 10 parts per billion in ozone concentrations measured day to day causes a 0.3 percent increase in early mortality. The study will be published in April in the print edition of Environmental Health Perspectives and is now online at the journal’s Web site…. Even very low levels of ozone concentration are dangerous, noted Dr. Bell, an assistant professor in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale. … (NYTimes, February 28, 2006)

Some Masks Used In Children’s Asthma Treatment Not Effective, Research Shows … Some face masks commonly used to help young children inhale asthma medicine are not effective, according to a new study by researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The results are reported in the current issue of Respiratory Care. …(Yahoo, 12 Feb 2006 )

State Health Commitssioner Novello Announces Nearly Million in the Fight Against Childhood Asthma … nearly $2 million has been awarded to 11 Regional Coalitions across New York State in the fight against childhood asthma. Under this initiative, each Regional Childhood Asthma Coalition received $180,000 to assist the families of children with asthma in the management and control of this disease. “Although there is no cure for this health condition, asthma attacks can be prevented or controlled with proper care,” … Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs and occurs at any age, but is more common in youth. Nationally, nearly 1 in 13 school-age children have asthma. … In New York State, asthma affects over 1.6 million adults and 387,000 children. During 2000-2002 an average of 338 deaths occurred per year due to asthma, including 17 deaths in children ages 0-14. New York State residents averaged over 39,000 hospitalizations during 2000-2002, including 14,000 asthma hospitalizations among children ages 0-14. The Department’s comprehensive programs to raise asthma awareness and help families manage the disease have helped to reduce asthma-related hospitalizations for children and teens under the age of 18 from 53.8 cases per 10,000 in 1993 to 31.4 cases per 10,000 in 2002, representing a 42 percent decrease. … (News Release, February 8, 2006)

New Center Established to Study Health Effects of Air Pollution: $8 Million EPA STAR Grant Establishes Particulate Matter Research Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health ... Previously, researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health demonstrated an association between particulate matter levels and mortality nationwide. Other research studies at the School have shown associations between particulate matter and premature death from cardiopulmonary causes, hospitalization for respiratory or cardiovascular diseases and exacerbation of respiratory diseases. “Our air is full of particulate matter, whether it comes from large power plants or from motor vehicle traffic in our own neighborhoods. Particulate matter pollution is a well established problem, but we want to find out which particles are the most injurious to health so that their sources can be controlled,” … (News Release, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, January 25, 2006)

2005

Infant Sleeping Environment and Asthma at 7 Years: A Prospective Cohort Study … Results. Composite infant bedding used was associated with recent wheezing. Effects increased at increasing levels of HDM–rich bedding items used. Effects were further enhanced by home environmental factors of bedroom heating, recent bedroom painting, and absence of bedroom carpeting. When any 2 or more of these environmental factors were present, a strong dose–response relationship was evident. Conclusions. Our results show that bedding exposures in infancy are prospectively associated with childhood wheezing and that home environmental conditions may modify this association. (December 2005, Vol 95, No. 12 | American Journal of Public Health 2238-2245)

Brain Scans Find Spot That Links Stress to Asthma … Using brain scanning techniques, researchers have located a specific part of the brain that causes people with asthma to wheeze and gasp for breath when under emotional stress. Their report, released on Aug. 29, will appear in the Sept. 13 issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Asthma sufferers often note that anxiety and emotional turmoil make the symptoms of an attack much worse, and in some cases, emotion alone can precipitate an attack. Previous research has shown, for example, that college students with asthma have greater airway inflammation when they are exposed to an allergen during exam week than when the exposure occurs at a less stressful time. Though these psychological exacerbations of asthma were well known, the physical connection between the brain and the immune system had not been described. … (NYTimes, by Nicholas Bakalar, September 6, 2005)

Mouse and cockroach allergens in the dust and air in northeastern United States inner-city public high schools …. Mouse allergen (MUP) in the dust varied greatly between schools with geometric means ranging from 0.21 to 133 mug/g. Mouse allergen was detectable in 81% of the samples collected. Cockroach allergen (Bla g 2) ranged from below limit of detection (<0.003 mug/g) to 1.1 mug/g. Cockroach allergen was detected (>0.003 mug/g) in 71% of the dust samples. Bla g 2 was detected in 22% of airborne samples from the schools. By comparison, mouse allergen was only detected in 5%. These results indicate that the school may be an important location for exposure to allergens from mice and cockroaches and is an indoor environment that should be considered in an overall allergen intervention strategy…. Our results suggest that although cockroach and mouse allergens are commonly recovered in classroom dust samples of inner city schools, cockroach allergens are recovered in the personal air samples with a greater frequency relative to mouse allergens…..(Indoor Air, Volume 15 Issue 4 Page 228 – August 2005; G. L. Chew, J. C. Correa, M. S. Perzanowski)

Clearing the Air : How epidemiology, engineering, and experiment finger fine particles as airborne killers … Another hypothesis suggests that, because particles cause inflammation of the lungs, inflammatory agents produced there may affect the heart in a negative way. Vasoconstrictors such as endothelin, for example, are secreted by the lungs when inflamed. The fact that mortality peaks 18 to 20 hours after the peak in a particle-pollution event (such as a smoggy day in summer) lends some support to this possibility; think of the way a sunburn can develop over time, after you leave the beach. …. In children, a group made susceptible by their high metabolisms and developing organs, exposure to fine-particle pollution appears to cause small, permanent reductions in lung function. That is less a concern when the victims are young and have plenty of reserve lung capacity. But as people age, they lose about 1 percent of their lung function per year (1.5 percent for smokers). After 50 years, in one’s early seventies, this represents a 50 percent reduction in lung capacity (75 percent in smokers). The consequence, Dockery says, is that “at the end of their lives, when they need the reserve capacity, these kids will be a couple of years further along in terms of the decline of their lung function.” … If you live within 50 feet of a busy highway, for example, you will be exposed to combustion-related pollutants again and again as the particles are emitted and resuspended by every passing vehicle, intensifying the exposure. … a major pathway of metals to the brain is along the olfactory nerve after they have been dissolved in nasal mucus. Center scientists are measuring markers of several metals in the blood of newborns at Tar Creek and looking for developmental, neurobehavioral outcomes such as autism, low IQ, and attention deficit disorder. … (Harvard Magazine, by Jonathan Shaw, May 2005)

ATSDR Releases Investigation of Airborne Exposures to Moisture Cure Urethane Report … ATLANTA – The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released its exposure investigation report about airborne exposure to moisture cure urethane (MCU), a finish applied to wood floors, in homes in the Williamsburg Hasidic community in Brooklyn, N.Y. During the application and curing process, MCU releases several chemical vapors into the air. The main chemical vapors of concern are toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) ethyl benzene and xylenes. Once MCU is fully cured, vapors are no longer released. (May 31, 2005)
Sharper Image pays $525,000 to end lawsuit against CU … Sharper Image Corp. has ended a product-disparagement lawsuit that it brought against Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, paying CU court-ordered attorneys’ fees and costs totaling $525,000. Sharper Image sued after Consumer Reports judged the company’s Ionic Breeze Quadra air cleaner “ineffective” in an October 2003 report. … (Consumer Reports, May 2005)

New York to Pass Strict Rules on Emissions for City’s Fleet … In an effort to reduce harmful emissions while raising the fuel economy of its huge fleet of vehicles, New York City is set to impose strict environmental standards on cars and vans it buys, and to require that diesel trucks and buses be modified. The City Council is expected to vote today to approve a wide-ranging package of environmental bills intended to reduce the tailpipe emissions that contribute to cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems, including asthma. The additional costs of using clean fuel and modifying existing engines with filters is expected to be offset by the savings in fuel consumption and, over the long term, lower health care costs. The bills would force the city to buy only cars or vans that are the least polluting models available whenever it replaces vehicles currently in use, including the gas-guzzling Chevrolet Suburban provided for Council Speaker Gifford Miller, a sponsor of the bills. No more than 5 percent of the new cars could be exempted. The bills would also require the city’s fleet to be efficient enough to reduce its overall fuel costs by 20 percent in a decade. In another sweeping change, the 4,000 yellow school buses that transport public school children will have to switch to ultraclean fuels and be retrofitted with catalysts and filters. The antipollution devices cost several thousand dollars per vehicle, and much more for older engines. Environmentalists hope this will encourage owners to replace aging buses with new, clean, more efficient models.The 8,800 heavy-duty diesel buses and trucks owned by the city, including trash haulers and street sweepers used by the Department of Sanitation, must also switch to cleaner diesel fuel and be equipped with high-efficiency filters. And private tour buses, including the older double-decker buses frequently seen in Manhattan, would have to clean up their emissions substantially or be taken off the streets. … The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s buses and some school buses already use the ultraclean fuel, but one company, Sprague Energy, is the city’s sole supplier. Some city officials are worried that there might not be enough ultraclean diesel fuel available to meet demand between this summer, when the new city laws go into effect, and September 2006, when the federal standards kick in.(NYTimes, by Anthony DePalma, April 20, 2005)
NHLBI Study Suggests Symptom-Driven Therapy May Be Sufficient For Some Adults With Mild Persistent Asthma … Some adults with mild persistent asthma may be able to adequately control their asthma by taking corticosteroids only when needed, instead of taking anti-inflammatory medication daily, according to new results from the Improving Asthma Control Trial (IMPACT). Conducted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Asthma Clinical Research Network, the one-year, multi-center study found that participants who were treated with corticosteroids intermittently based on symptoms had about the same rate of severe exacerbations and of asthma-related lung function decline as those treated with the standard recommendation of daily long-term control medication. Asthma is considered mild and persistent when individuals have acute symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, or chest tightness more than twice a week, but not daily, or they have night-time awakenings due to asthma more than two nights a month. …(NIH News, April 13, 2005)

Child’s Asthma Linked To Grandmother’s Habit … A child whose grandmother smoked during pregnancy may have almost twice the risk of developing asthma as one whose grandmother did not smoke — even if the child’s mother was a nonsmoker, a new study has … The study, published in the April issue of the journal Chest, is the…(NYTimes, by Nicholas Bakalar, April 12, 2005)

Killing ‘Em Softly: It’s time to throw out those roach traps. … Allergens from their feces, saliva, and body parts are a common trigger for asthma attacks, particularly among inner-city children. ….Then they attract the creepy crawlers with a sucrose-based bait. The bait isn’t fatal; instead, it shuts down the roach’s reproductive abilities, ridding your home of offspring for months at a time. And it’s not harmful to humans. According to Jeff Eisenberg of Pest Away Exterminators, in New York City, …. (NRDC, Spring 1005)

Clean Air Task Force: Diesel and Health in America: The Lingering Threat (February 2005)

Frequent use of chemical household products is associated wtih persistent wheezing in pre-school age children … In the UK and other developed countries the prevalence of asthma symptoms has increased in recent years. This is likely to be the result of increased exposure to environmental factors. A study was undertaken to investigate the association between maternal use of chemical based products in the prenatal period and patterns of wheeze in early childhood…. These findings suggest that frequent use of chemical based products in the prenatal period is associated with persistent wheezing in young children. Follow up of this cohort is underway to determine whether TCB is associated with wheezing, asthma, and atopy at later stages in childhood. … (Thorax, Jan 2005)

Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Cognitive Abilities among U.S. Children and Adolescents … The findings of this study confirm previous research indicating an inverse relationship with ETS exposure and cognitive outcomes. We also provide new information indicating that ETS is neurotoxic at extremely low levels. Exposure to ETS in U.S. children therefore has substantial public health impact beyond asthma, otitis media, and other widely recognized adverse consequences. According to population estimates employing the appropriate sampling weights, we estimated that > 21.9 million children are at risk for ETS-related reading deficits. … (Environmental Health Perspectives, Kimberly Yolton, Kim Dietrich, Peggy Auinger, Bruce P. Lanphear, and Richard Hornung, January 2005)

NHLBI Study Shows Smoking Cessation Programs Improve Survival (NIH News Release, February 14, 2005)

2004

EPA Announces Final Designations for First Fine Particle Standard … PM2.5 — approximately 1/30th the size of an average human hair — can aggravate heart and lung diseases and has been associated with a variety of serious health problems including heart attacks, chronic bronchitis and asthma attacks. Today’s action officially notifies states that they need to do more to reduce fine particle pollution in order to protect human health. Meeting these standards will prevent at least: 15,000 premature deaths; 75,000 cases of chronic bronchitis; 10,000 hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular disease; hundreds of thousands of occurrences of aggravated asthma; and 3.1 million days when people miss work because they are suffering from symptoms related to particle pollution exposure … (USEPA News Release, 12/17/2004)

VITAL SIGNS: Patterns: Lungs May Have a Body Clock … Many people breathe easier as they get ready to leave the office at the end of the workday. But there may be more to it than just getting out of the pressure cooker. Breathing really does seem to become easier in the late afternoon, report researchers who were looking at circadian rhythms’ effects on the lungs. …The patients were given equipment to test lung capacity and the resistance of airways to taking in a breath. The researchers found that the lungs were most resistant about noon, and most open about four or five hours later. .. It suggests that patients with asthma, for example, may be able to use less medicine if they concentrate their doses at those times of day when they are most needed. It also means that doctors preparing to remove breathing tubes from patients might think about doing it in the late afternoon, when the lungs are strongest. People involved in athletic activities may also find that increased lung capacity late in the day helps them perform. (NYTimes, by Eric Nagourney, October 26, 2004)

Heart Attack Risk Linked to Time Spent in Traffic … Multiple studies in the past have pointed to a link between exposure to traffic and cardiovascular disease. In 2002, a report published in The Lancet found that people living near major roads in the Netherlands had double the risk of dying of a cardiopulmonary disease. Several studies have also found an increased risk of cardiovascular problems among traffic police, taxi drivers and others whose jobs require them to be on the road. … Dr. Stone, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study, also pointed to recent research showing a 10 percent reduction in cardiovascular deaths in Dublin after the city banned the burning of coal. If inhaled, particulate air pollution from traffic can disrupt plaque buildups that form along the walls of arteries, creating clots that block the flow of blood and set off a heart attack, experts say. It can also cause the arteries to constrict, disturb heart rhythm and lead to inflammation. Dr. Stone said the findings reflected a need for tighter regulations on harmful emissions. “Avoiding traffic and altering our daily patterns of living isn’t really feasible,” he said. “It’s more a matter of fundamental public policy.”(NYTimes, by Anahad O’Connor, October 26, 2004)

Clearing the Air … The numbers are disturbing: New Yorkers suffer from the worst rates of asthma in the country, with over 10 percent of schoolchildren and more than 6 percent of the total population affected by the chronic respiratory disease. New York, along with Chicago, leads the nation in asthma deaths. Conditions are especially bad in the South Bronx, where 20 to 25 percent of schoolchildren suffer from asthma. Children in the area are hospitalized for asthma at a rate 250 percent higher than the rate for children in the rest of New York City, and 1000 percent higher than the rate for children in New York State as a whole.(Gotham Gazette, By José E. Serrano, September 20, 2004)

Program looks for breath of fresh air .… Created by East Village resident Rebecca Kalin, the Asthma Free School Zone has helped promote safer, healthier environments surrounding three schools on E. 12th St. — the Children’s Workshop School, the East Village School and a special-education school in one of the buildings. Program components, such as enforcement of the no idling law and education on environmental health, will hopefully lead to less absenteeism and asthma-related illnesses in the city’s public schools, Kalin said. ….(Downtown Express, by Deborah Lynn Blumberg, September 3-10, 2004)
Breathing Lessons: Through Miseducation or Bad Habit, Parents of Children With Asthma Often Overlook The Obvious When Trying to Eliminate Allergy Triggers From Their Homes (Washington Post, By January W. Payne, August 31, 2004)
Paint fumes may boost asthma risk … Chemicals given off by household products may increase the risk of childhood asthma, a new Australian study has found, prompting questions about the adequacy … “Children exposed to total VOCs of more than 60 micrograms per cubic metre were four times more likely to have asthma than those exposed to lower levels of VOCs,” said Rumchev. (ABC Science Online, Australia – Aug 26, 2004)

Cleaning products, solvents may cause asthma … Exposure to fumes emitted by cleaning products in the home could cause asthma in children, according to a study in the British Medical Association’s journal Thorax. The study found that children exposed to higher levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were four times more likely to suffer from asthma than children who were not. VOCs are found in solvents, paints, floor adhesives, cleaning products, polishes, room fresheners and fitted carpets, the study said…. (ABC Science Online, Australia – 26 August 2004)

Beyond Public Health, Asthma, Like Poor Housing, Becomes an Issue in the Schools … (NYTimes, June 30, 2004)

Panel Finds Mold in Buildings Is No Threat to Most People … Though the experts said mold and indoor dampness were associated with respiratory problems and symptoms of asthma in certain susceptible people, they found no evidence of a link between mold and conditions like brain or neurological damage, reproductive problems and cancer. They based their conclusions on a review of hundreds of scientific papers and reports but warned that the research was limited and that more studies were needed. The panel, which consisted of epidemiologists, toxicologists and pediatricians, was convened by the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences that advises the federal government on health issues. Its findings come as public concern about mold-related health problems grows, stoked in part by lawsuits and accounts of people driven from their homes and schools by mold. In 2002, insurers in the United States paid out $2.5 billion in mold-related claims. … (NYTimes, by Anahad O’Connor, May 26, 2004)

Pollution Alters DNA in Mice, Study Finds … Breathing soot from factories or highways may cause genetic damage that can be passed to offspring, scientists have found in an experiment on mice. It is unclear whether the pollution-damaged DNA harms health. But the discovery comes as scientists already are calling for more research into the dangers of particulates, microscopic soot particles linked to asthma, heart disease and other health problems. … The Environmental Protection Agency already has ordered tougher limits on ultrafine particulate pollution because of concern about how it affects the elderly, children and people with respiratory illnesses. In December, the agency plans to announce which parts of the country are not in compliance with these rules. Dr. Quinn said he did not know whether the particulates themselves or toxic chemicals that attach to them damaged the sperm. But one suspect is a group of particulate-clinging chemicals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or P.A.H.’s, some of which are known to be cancer-causing. Air samples showed daily P.A.H. exposure near the steel mills was 33 times as high as in the countryside. But HEPA filtering of the urban air blocked most of those chemicals, the study concluded. (NYTimes, May 18, 2004)

Low-Level Ozone, Particulate Matter, and Children with Asthma. … The finding that asthmatic children are particularly vulnerable to ozone at levels below current EPA standards has major public health implications. On days when the ozone level is considered safe for the general population, this at-risk group may need to take additional precautions(Phelps, Jerry; 112N2 NIEHS: A95)

Region’s Air Doesn’t Meet New Standards … ost of the people who live in New York State and all the residents of New Jersey and Connecticut are breathing air that does not meet new federal health standards for smog, according to a report released yesterday by federal environmental officials. The pollution is a combination of dirty emissions produced in the states themselves and contaminants that float in on air coming from the Midwest and central Canada. As a result, state and county officials across the three states must now prepare plans for reducing the most serious air pollutant, ground-level ozone, which is produced by cars, power plants and factories, and which causes respiratory problems and makes asthma worse. (NYTimes, by Anthony DePalma, April 16, 2004)

Major study planned on kids and environment: Researchers hope to determine what’s harmful and what’s not … Does a pregnant woman’s exposure to certain chemicals put her child at risk of learning disabilities? Do genetics and pollution interact to cause asthma? What’s the real impact of TV on toddlers? (The Associated Press, April 06, 2004)

Low Activity of Children with Asthma Due to Parental Health Beliefs, Disease Severity … Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center report that 20 percent of children with asthma do not get enough exercise, even though physical activities such as running and swimming have been shown to decrease the severity of asthma symptoms. The report, published in the April issue of Pediatrics, shows that this physical inactivity is partly due to parents’ misconceptions that exercise poses a risk to asthmatic children. … (Newswise, April 2, 2004)

‘No asthma link’ to cough jab … Immunisation against whooping cough is not linked to a rise in allergies and asthma in children, researchers at the University of Bristol say. (BBC, March 31, 2004)

Asthma inhaler drug may not work … An ingredient in some asthma inhalers could actually counteract its own beneficial effect, a study shows. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found salbutamol, an anti-inflammatory drug, may not work. The drug is made up of two components, one which reduces inflammation, and an inactive one, which the study says may actually reverse the effect. Salbutamol is used along with steroids in reliever asthma inhalers. It is one drug in a class of medications called beta-agonists, used to help relax and open the muscles surrounding air passages in the lungs. They are not used in long-term preventative inhalers … (BBC, March 27, 2004)

New device for asthma sufferers … Asthmatics living in polluted cities could finally get a breath of fresh air through a gadget developed by a UK sports scientist. (BBC, March 21, 2004)

Homeless Children and Asthma (Gotham Gazette, by Ron Feemster (March, 2004)
High Asthma Rate Found Among City’s Homeless Children …A new study finds high asthma rates among the city’s homeless children. The survey found about half of the children at city homeless shelters suffer from asthma – nearly nine times the national rate. The study also found that 90 percent of homeless children diagnosed with severe asthma weren’t taking medication…. Asthma is on the rise nationally, but studies have long shown that children in poor, inner-city areas are more likely to suffer from it. This study’s authors attribute the particularly high rate among the city’s homeless children to stress. (NY1, March 2, 2004)

House doctors plan asthma study … Asthma sufferers are being asked to volunteer for a study which aims to measure how better ventilation could improve their condition. The work will tackle dust mites, which thrive in homes with central heating and fitted carpets – and are often responsible for triggering asthma. Doctors from Glasgow University want to improve ventilation in 150 homes in Lanarkshire to measure the effect. Volunteers aged between 16 and 60 are being encouraged to take part. (BBC, February 23, 2004)
Asthma Rates Climbing Fast … There are 300 million asthma sufferers in the world and that figure is expected to jump to 400 million in 20 years, medical experts said Tuesday. (CBS, Feb. 17, 2004)

Children and Pollution: School Buses, Second-Hand Smoke … Community groups have been fighting diesel fuel emissions for years. Finally, in late January, four bus companies representing 60 percent of the yellow school buses that are contracted by the Department of Education agreed to stop idling when they are parked near schools following an investigation by State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Three companies have also agreed to retrofit some buses with new exhaust filters. (Gotham Gazatte, by Sasha Nyary, February, 2004)

Allergy surge to be investigated … Scientists are to look at whether diet affects people’s risk of developing an allergy. Gut bacteria influence how the immune system works, and therefore the risk of developing asthma and allergies, say University of Southampton scientists…Around 30% of children and young adults are affected by allergy, and the number is set to rise. .. In the last 20 years, the rate of eczema and asthma has at least doubled, and there has been at least a threefold increase in nut allergies.(BBC, 10 February, 2004)

Aspirin warning to asthmatics …. More asthma patients are at risk of having an attack after taking aspirin than previously thought, doctors warn. They say one in five people with the condition are at risk of having a severe reaction to the drug – twice as many as had been estimated. But the researchers, writing in the British Medical Journal, say many patients are unaware of the risk. They warn other NSAIDs – non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs- including ibuprofen, can also cause an attack. (BBC, February 20, 2004)

Mold Exposure in First Year of Life May Lead to Asthma … Asthma clinicians and researchers have reported a substantial rise in the prevalence and severity of asthma in children over the past decade. Genetic predisposition and exposure to various environmental agents, such as environmental tobacco smoke, endotoxins, and indoor allergens, especially during early childhood, have been reported as risk factors for the development of sensitivities to inhaled allergens and the development and exacerbation of asthma. (Environmental Health Perspectives, January 2004; bottome of page)
Bus Companies Agree to Cut Engine Idling Near Schools … our large school bus companies that repeatedly let the diesel engines on thousands of their buses idle far longer than allowed by law agreed yesterday to reduce idling time near schools to no more than a minute, according to the state attorney general’s office. Three of the companies also agreed to participate in a long-delayed state program to retrofit some buses with new exhaust filters. Combined with ultra-low sulfur fuel, the filters substantially reduce harmful exhaust emissions and soot that contribute to high rates of asthma and other illnesses. (NY TImes, by Anthony Depalma, January 24, 2004)

Placebo-controlled Clinical Trials Put Children With Asthma At … Enrolling children with asthma in the placebo arm of a clinical trial is common, harmful and ethically unjustified argue researchers from the University of … Science Daily, Jan 5, 2004)

2003

Early Life Environmental Risk Factors for Asthma: Findings from the Children’s Health Study (Environmental Health Perspectives, December 2004)

New weapon against asthma found … Scientists have identified a new class of drug which could dramatically boost the weaponry against asthma. Early trials of an experimental … (BBC News, UK, 27 December, 2003)

Avoiding Asthma’s Dangers … The number of Americans diagnosed with asthma has doubled over the past two decades, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. … (CBS News – Dec 4, 2003)

Asthma risk from baking … Thoracic Society and safety experts urged caution while home cooking after researchers confirmed that commercial bakers were at an increased risk of asthma and … (Guardian, UK – Dec 4, 2003)

Study links asthma and mental illness … Asthma patients should be closely monitored for anxiety and mental illnesses, Australian experts say, following new evidence that the breathing condition is linked strongly to a range of psychological disorders. ( The Sydney Morning Herald., By Julie Robotham, December 2, 2003)

Data Show Over 170 Million Americans Live In Dangerous Smog Areas … Swift Action Needed To Protect Public From Hazardous Smog, Asthmatics At High Risk (Environmental Defense News Release, 12/02/03)

Study links asthma and mental illness … Asthma patients should be closely monitored for anxiety and mental illnesses, Australian experts say, following new evidence that the breathing condition is … (Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Dec 1, 2003)

Air Pollutants Alone May Cause Asthma Attacks … UCLA researchers have shown for the first time that diesel exhaust particles alone may be enough to induce acute asthma attacks. … (Science Daily, Nov 11, 2003)

Tests on asthma children’s bedrooms … The bedrooms of asthmatic children are to be modified by a North Wales council in a unique study of how home environments can affect health. The improvements will consist of a ventilation unit installed in each child’s bedroom and changes to the central heating where necessary. If the study provides conclusive evidence of health improvements, it could eventually lead to parents being offered grants for home modifications to tackle their children’s asthma. (icwhales, by Rhodri Clark, Nov 1 2003)

Doctors ‘can predict asthma risk’ … Doctors have devised a way to predict which children who wheeze will go on to develop asthma. Around one in three small children … (BBC News, UK – Oct 28, 2003)

PERSONAL HEALTH : Families Grab an Asthma Lifeline That Keeps Children Well and Active (NYTimes, By Jane E. Brody, October 28, 2003)

Cleaners’ increased asthma risk … Cleaners are at an increased risk of developing asthma and other breathing problems, a study has found. Researchers in Spain say … (BBC News, UK – Oct 27, 2003)

West Seattle public housing to put ‘asthma-safe’ construction to test … Although specific features have yet to be determined, they could include special ventilation systems, cabinetry free of asthma-triggering glues, wood floors instead of carpeted ones, and a central vacuum to divert sucked-up dust outside, (By Stuart Eskenazi, October 27, 2003)

Fad remedy for asthma wins favour … A controversial alternative technique to control the symptoms of asthma by restricting air intake may be about to be reconsidered by the medical establishment that had condemned it. Doctors in Sydney and at Melbourne’s Alfred hospital are investigating whether the debilitating lung constrictions of asthma can be controlled by breathing differently – the cornerstone of the Buteyko method, which had been written off as a dangerous fad. (The Age, By Julie Robotham, October 23, 2003)
Smoke interferes with asthma drug …. British scientists have found more evidence to show that people with asthma should not smoke. Researchers at the University of Glasgow … (BBC News, UK – Sep 29, 2003)

Asthma may be ‘double disease’ … Mild asthma and severe asthma may be two different diseases, a study suggests. Their theory may explain why people with severe asthma do not respond well to existing treatments…People with mild asthma generally respond quite well to treatment. However, the same cannot be said of people with severe asthma. They are more likely to suffer attacks and to need emergency medical care… The researchers also carried out blood tests on all of the patients. They found that both groups had very different levels of key chemicals in their blood. (BBC, 26/08/2003)

Drugs ‘make asthma worse’... Asthmatics can become oversensitive to triggers. Using too much medication may actually make asthma worse, researchers say. Scientists believe they have discovered why common asthma treatments such as albuterol, ventolin and salbutamol can stop being effective. All three are beta-agonist drugs, taken via an inhaler or nebuliser or as tablets, liquid or by injection, which relax the airways. In the short-term, the drugs have an immediate effect. (BBC, 08/17/2003)

Asthma research for mothers-to-be … Scientists in North Staffordshire say their research could help mothers protect their unborn children from developing asthma… Scientists already know that asthma can be a genetic condition but increases in the rates of asthma in the past 20 years suggest the environment can also be an important factor. The team at the hospital found a mother’s reaction to environmental toxins can influence her unborn child’s development of asthma. If her genetic make up means she reacts badly to toxins in the environment her foetus becomes stressed, which can lead to asthma. (BBC, 08/04/2003)

New Asthma Drug Gets To Root Of Disease: Xolair Now Available To Asthma Patients … PITTSBURGH — Fifteen-million Americans suffer from asthma and it is one of the fastest growing chronic diseases in the U.S. A new drug just approved by the FDA may dramatically change the treatment of asthma. The drug is called Xolair and it’s just now becoming available to patients. It’s a bioengineered drug that claims to get to the root of the disease rather than just the symptoms. Asthma and allergic reactions begin when a type of antibody called IGE attaches to special immune cells. This triggers the cells to release chemicals, like histamine, which cause asthma and allergies. Xolair is a bioengineered antibody that attaches to IGE before IGE can attach to immune cells, preventing the attack from happening in the first place. (wpxi.com, July 24, 2003)
Enzyme May Play Unexpected Role In Asthma … In a finding that could have important implications for the millions of Americans who suffer from asthma, researchers funded by the National Institute of … (Science Daily – Jun 17, 2003)

Cinemas may trigger asthma … Cinema seats could trigger wheezing in asthma sufferers because they are packed with allergens spread from cat fur, a study suggests. … (BBC News, UK – Jun 17, 2003)

State Leaders Discuss High Asthma Rate In Harlem … Senator Hillary Clinton and other state leaders and health officials met Saturday to combat the high asthma rate among children in Harlem.(NY1, June 1, 2003)

Senator Clinton Continues Her Commitment to Addressing New York City’s Childhood Asthma Epidemic (Clinton News Release, May 31, 2003)

Passive smoking ‘makes pupils ill’ … Children from homes where family members smoke take more time off school with coughs and colds, according to research. … (BBC, UK , 24 May, 2003)

One-third Of Young Adults Who Outgrow Asthma May Relapse By Age … SEATTLE — One-third of teenagers with a childhood history of asthma who no longer have symptoms at age 18 will have a recurrence of asthma symptoms by the they’re 26 … (Science Daily – May 21, 2003)

Pollution’s tiniest toxins get trapped in body ... Studies presented this weekend at the American Thoracic Society annual meeting in Seattle suggest that the particles, called PM 2.5, are linked to a variety of … (CTV, Canada – May 19, 2003)

Drug May Treat Asthma Triggered By Allergies: Researchers Says Drug Has Few Side Effects … BOSTON — There may soon be a new way to treat asthma. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee recommended approval Thursday for a drug called Xolair. About 60 percent of people with asthma have it triggered by allergies, and it’s this allergic asthma that Xolair is intended to treat. The drug is given by injection every couple of weeks. The drug can do something no other asthma drug can — it blocks the production of an enzyme called IgE, the enzyme that causes allergies. “All the drugs we had in the past treats what happens afterwards, in terms of the asthma. This gets at what appears to be one of the root causes of asthma,” said Dr. Elliot Israel, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. (WCVB-TV, May 16, 2003)

$5.27 million awarded to former model agency exec … A State Supreme Court jury has ruled that Elite Model Management pay $5.27 million to a former executive who said she was fired after complaining about secondhand cigarette smoke at the company’s offices. (CNN, May 15, 2003)

World Asthma Day …Tuesday is World Asthma Day, and it comes as the city Health Department announces that one in eight New Yorkers has the illness. (NY1, May 6, 2003)
HHS and NHLBI Commemorate World Asthma Day 2003 “Communities Working for Life and Breath:” U.S. Theme (May 5, 2003)

Senator Clinton Announces Plan to Address New York City’s Childhood Asthma Epidemic (May 5, 2003)

Smog like ‘sunburn inside your lungs’ … Sunny days and warmer temperatures herald the coming summer, but they also can mean ozone alerts, hazy skies and breathing troubles. (CNN, by Amy Cox, May 1, 2003)

Researchers examine tea benefits, cancer-fighting gene, asthma … against cancer. And new findings suggest the first sign of asthma in a child might be simple throat-clearing. Researchers looked … (News 8 Austin, TX, 4/27/2003)

Senator Schumer Proposes Federal Asthma Task Force .. In the wake of an alarming study revealing that one in five Harlem children has been diagnosed with asthma, New York Senator Charles Schumer is chiming in. (NY1, 04/23/03)

‘Asthma took away my childhood’ … For 42 years Kate Jude was a chronic asthmatic… Buteyko teaches breathing (BBC, 21 April, 2003)

Study: 1 in 4 Harlem children has asthma … NEW YORK, One in four children in the city’s Harlem section has asthma — double the rate researchers expected and one of the highest neighborhood rates in the nation, a study found. (AP, 4/20/2003)

Study Finds Asthma in 25% of Children in Central Harlem … study has found that one of every four children in central Harlem has asthma, which is double the rate researchers expected to find and, experts say, is one of the highest rates ever documented for an American neighborhood. (NYTimes, by Richard Perez-Pena, April 19, 2003)

PUBLIC LIVES: Hero in a White Lab Coat at Ground Zero for Asthma … For the last 30 years, Mr. DeFranco, armed with a pair of bifocal … (The New York Times, by Corey Kilgannon, April 18, 2003)

Asthma vaccine shows promise … A vaccine could reduce the need for medication. A vaccine that could ease asthmatic reactions has been described as “promising” by scientists. (BBC, UK – Apr 14, 2003)

Asthma myth ‘widely held’ … Asthma is not just a childhood worry …. Two thirds of people have serious misconceptions about asthma, warn experts (BBC, 04/13/03)

Attacking Asthma, For A Price … A new genetically engineered asthma drug could transform the treatment of severe asthma by shutting down a key molecular trigger of asthma attacks. … (Forbes – Apr 3, 2003)

Asthma drug raises heart risk … Pills Glucocorticoids are used to treat asthma. Patients taking anti-inflammatory steroid drugs for conditions such as asthma are at a greater risk of heart disease, research suggests. (BBC, 24 March, 2003)

Asthma patients help each other … Asthma patients are going to be guided by others with the disease on how best to manage their illness. A study will monitor how well the scheme works. (BBC, 15 March, 2003)

Gene Discovery Links Asthma and Obesity … A gene discovery reported by researchers at this year’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology … (Ivanhoe Newswire, 11 Mar 2003)

Do Vaccines Cause Asthma, Allergies Or Other Chronic Diseases? … Philadelphia, Pa — Large scientific studies do not support claims that vaccines may cause chronic diseases such as asthma, multiple sclerosis, chronic … (Science Daily, 2003-03-04)

Report: Child asthma rates double … Children are getting asthma at more than double the rate two decades ago, … the Environmental Protection Agency said … Researchers don’t know precisely why childhood asthma is increasing, but a number of factors in air quality, both outdoors and indoors, have been studied. Those varied factors include exposure to dust mites, cockroaches, pesticides, tobacco smoke, ozone and soot. (CNN/AP, February 24, 2003)

Asthma drug death fears: Asthma test … The government is to investigate an asthma drug which has been linked with fatalities. However, experts stress that there is no evidence to suggest the drug is unsafe and have urged asthmatics to continue with their medication. Salmeterol, also known as Serevent, is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline who launched a US trial into the drug after reports of deaths. Early results showed a trend towards increased asthma deaths and serious problems among patients, particularly African-Americans and those not taking inhaled steroids. (BBC, 24 February, 2003)

Cleaning House May Be Bad For Your Health … Cleaning products, bad dust — all those kind of things absolutely set me off,” asthma sufferer Pam Winnefeld said. Winnefeld battles asthma nearly every day. … Asthma experts said women over 30 are prime targets for the disease, in part because they still do most of the cleaning, using products that can set off asthma… “Strong fumes and odors certainly are very common,” said Dr. Ken Knauer, of University Hospitals. “At least 50 percent of people with asthma are triggered by fumes and odors.” While health officials have long suspected hormones play a role in female asthma, household cleaners are just beginning to get attention. Finding the causes is more important the ever, given the skyrocketing numbers. “The rates have gone up 105 percent for females over the past 15 or so (years), compared to a 41 percent increase for males,” said Dr. Stephen Redd, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.(WEWS, OH, February 23, 2003)

Colds and asthma link … the team’s biggest breakthrough had been to prove the link between common colds and the onset of acute asthma attacks. It was previously thought a cold infected only the lungs’ surface layer. The scientists now believe the virus can penetrate deeper, causing inflammation to the inner cell layer and tightening the air passages. Professor Bardin cited a recent study that showed common cold- type infections accounted for 40per cent of all sick leave. He said it might soon be possible to produce medicines that would greatly alleviate symptoms associated with the common cold and so help to reduce absenteeism. (Sydney Morning Herald, By Christian Catalano, February 19, 2003)

Understanding a Childhood Asthma Epidemic … Asthma affects nearly 5 million US kids. The numbers are rising most rapidly among pre-schoolers. ” Each year, asthma accounts … (NPR – 13 Feb 2003)

New guidelines on asthma … Every asthma patient in the UK will be given a written action plan, under new national guidelines to tackle the disease. The measure … (BBC, UK – 28 Jan 2003)

With Every Breath You Take … Every day, thousands of asthmatics are taken to the emergency room. As asthma becomes a national epidemic, people want to know: Is air pollution making us sick? (NRDC/OnEarth. Winter 2003, by Kimi Eisele)

Yoga may help with heart, epilepsy, asthma, stress … Further preliminary studies indicate that yoga might be particularly helpful for patients with conditions like epilepsy, asthma and anxiety/stress-related … (Orangeburg Times Democrat, January 27, 2003)

Asthma inhalers must be declared … Drug testing agencies are comfortable with athletes using asthma inhalers, providing they’ve been declared. All Black prop Joe McDonnell … (NZ City, New Zealand – 24 Jan 2003)

Man With Few Trade Center Ties Traces His Asthma to 9/11 … He is 41 and generally fit, his physicians say, and while he had asthma as a younger man, he had not been bothered by it for 17 years … (New York Times – 22 Jan 2003, free registration required)

Breathing methods to improve asthma to be tested … Hospital to verify and find out whether breathing techniques, such as the controversial Buteyko method, can actually improve a patient’s underlying asthma. … (Times of India, India, 11 Jan 2003)

Health Alert: asthma laser …To diagnose asthma a patient must blow a very long, hard breath into a machine that measures how air flows from his lungs, easier said … (WIS, Jan.7, 2003)

2002

Drug size ‘key’ to asthma treatment: Reliever inhalers are only 20% effective … Asthma inhalers could be made more effective if they used bigger drug particles, researchers have found. They believe the finding could lead to less wasteful and more effective treatments for the 3.4 million people who have asthma in the UK. (BBC, 12 December, 2002)

Oily fish twice a week could keep the asthma doctors away, says …UK – Eating oily fish such as salmon and mackerel twice a week could reduce the risk of developing asthma, according to new research unveiled yesterday. … (icWales, 06 Dec 2002)

Machines triggered asthma, diva claims … CA, San Francisco — An opera singer is suing the San Francisco Opera Association, claiming that her asthma and other ailments were caused by the ephemeral mist … (San Francisco Chronicle, 05 Dec 2002)

Toys labelled ‘asthma friendly’ arrive … Toronto … Toys that carry labels declaring they are “Asthma Friendly” are starting to arrive in Canadian stores. The certification … (The Globe and Mail, Canada, 04 Dec 2002)

New CDC Report Proposes Strategies to Help Schools Manage Asthma …. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines six strategies to help the nation’s schools manage the problems of students with asthma. The guide, Strategies for Addressing Asthma Within a Coordinated School Health Program, gives concrete suggestions for schools coping with the increasing numbers of children with asthma. The prevalence of asthma, a serious respiratory condition, increased 74 percent among children 5 to 14 years old between 1980 and 1994. Asthma accounts for 14 million lost days of school each year and affects nearly five million children and adolescents. “Schools have an important role in helping students with asthma by adopting ‘asthma-friendly’ policies and procedures,” (CDC Press Release, October 28, 2002)

Edible plant may help asthma sufferers.. Scientists in Canberra are working on an edible treatment for people suffering from allergy-related breathing problems such as asthma. …(ABC Online, Australia – 23 Oct 2002)

Faulty asthma inhalers recalled … Manufacturers are recalling some asthma inhalers after faulty valves caused them to give higher than needed doses. (BBC, October 11, 2002)
Couples share same diseases: Married couples may share the same disease … Married couples are at high risk of both suffering the same disease, researchers have found. Researchers were not looking at infections, but at conditions such as asthma and depression. (BBC, September 19, 2002)

Childhood asthma starting to fall … The number of children who suffer from asthma and other allergies may be starting to fall, research suggests. (BBC, September 17, 2002)
Pollen link to asthma risk … Women exposed to high levels of pollen in the last third of pregnancy are much more likely to have asthmatic children, suggests research. (BBC, September 17, 2002)

Feline effect on asthma … Having a cat protects at-risk children against asthma – unless their mother is asthmatic, researchers have found. (BBC, September 5, 2002)
Migraine increases asthma risk … Migraine patients may face a significantly increased risk of asthma as well as blinding headaches, a study suggests. (BBC, September 2, 2002)
Mould ‘linked to severe asthma’ … Severe asthma is on the increase Household mould may cause people with asthma to develop severe forms of the disease, a study suggests. Researchers in France have found a strong link between people who are sensitive to the type of mould that can sometimes be found on plants and paintwork in the home, and those who have life-threatening asthma attacks. (BBC, Thursday, 22 August, 2002)
‘No asthma risk through breast milk’ … Breastfeeding protects against asthma. Mothers who have asthma can not give it to their babies through breast milk, say scientists. (BBC, August 3, 2002)

Asthma attack ‘epidemic’ warning … An estimated 5m Britons have asthma. Asthma patients have been urged to be on their guard against a possible attack. (BBC, 1 August, 2002)

Environmental Pollutants and Disease in American Children: Estimates of Morbidity, Mortality, and Costs for Lead Poisoning, Asthma, Cancer, and Developmental Disabilities (Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 110, Number 7, July 2002)
Inhaler warning for asthmatics … Reliever inhalers can be used too much. Using a blue “reliever” inhaler too much is a sure sign that asthma is out of control – increasing the risk of dying from the condition. While deaths from asthma attacks are still relatively rare, they do occur – actress Charlotte Coleman was one high-profile casualty of the illness. (BBC, 31 July, 2002)

Gene causes many asthma cases … Scientists have pinpointed a gene which has been found to be a major cause of asthma in a significant proportion of cases. (BBC, July 10, 2002)

Many Asthmatics May Have Bacterial Infections In Lungs (UniSci Daily, June 11, 2002)

Update on National Asthma Guidelines Released … guidelines now recommend inhaled corticosteroids as safe, effective and preferred first-line therapy for children as well as adults with persistent asthma. The update continues to recommend a “step-wise” approach to asthma management — in which treatment is adjusted depending on disease severity — but it modifies specific treatment recommendations at each step to reflect research over the last five years. (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health Press Release, June 10, 2002)

Asthma children ‘get raw deal’ … Campaigners are calling on the government to tackle asthma, which they say is the most common long-term childhood illness (BBC, May 7, 2002)

Experimental Approach To Treating Allergic Reactions (Daily University Science News, May 1, 2002)

Pool staff in asthma link … People working in indoor swimming pools could be at risk of developing asthma, researchers suggest. (BBC, April 30, 2002)

Senator Clinton Joins in Releasing National Report on the Impact of Power Plant Pollution on Children’s Health … Clinton Welcomes President Bush to New York But Says His PolicyWon’t Help Clear Up the Skies (Press Release, April 22, 2002)

Urban air ‘worsens asthma‘ (BBC, April 1, 2002)

Air pollution cancer fears grow (BBC, March 6, 2002)

Asthma patients ‘miss out’ (BBC, March 4, 2002)

Busy roads increase wheeze risk … Living near busy roads increases children’s risk of developing wheezing, a symptom of asthma, a study has found. (BBC, February 25, 2002)

Inhalers ‘do not cause hyperactivity (BBC, February 21, 2002)

Student dies after asthma attack … Police confirm a 15-year-old schoolgirl found dead in a Swindon street died after an asthma attack. (BBC, February 19, 2002)

Asthma cases on the rise … The number of people suffering from asthma in Scotland has increased, according to a report. (BBC, January 24, 2002)

Asthma ‘Costing UK Businesss Millions’ … Preventing asthma in the workplace could save millions. (BBC News, January 19, 2002)

Asthmatics ‘at higher risk of lung cancer’ (BBC, January 3, 2002)

2001

Bronx Community Rallies To Save Garden … Residents of the Melrose section of the Bronx are rallying to save a community garden from being cleared by the city Monday for the construction of low and moderate income housing. (NY1, December 10, 2001)

Cold air and exercise trigger asthma … Key triggers of asthma attacks include cold air, exercise, menstrual cycle, and aspirin. (BBC, December 7, 2001)

Vitamin Link To Asthma … Vitamin E intake during pregnancy may help protect unborn from future asthma. (BBC, December 7, 2001)

Nasal Sprays Top Antihistamines For Seasonal Allergy (Daily University Science News, November 26, 2001)

Focus: Environmental Aftermath … World Trade Center (Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 109, Number 11, November 2001)

‘A sharp intake of breath’ … The BBC’s Karen Allen explains the pressures which led to claims that lung disease is now Britain’s biggest killer. (BBC, November 22, 2001)

Your tributes: Charlotte Coleman … Your tributes to Four Weddings and a Funeral star Charlotte Coleman, who died suddenly last week aged 33. (BBC, November 22, 2001)

Q&A: The rising tide of lung disease … BBC News Online examines the claims that lung disease is now the biggest killer in the UK. (BBC, November 21, 2001)

Health Consequences of the 11 September 2001 Attacks (Editorial, Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 109, Number 11, November 2001)

NIEHS Responds to World Trade Center Attacks (Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 109, Number 11, November 2001)

Increased Incidence of Cancer and Asthma in Houses Built on a Former Dump Area (Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 109, Number 11, November 2001)

Four Weddings’ star found dead … One of the stars of the hit British comedy film Four Weddings and a Funeral has died aged 33 after apparently suffering a massive asthma attack. (CNN, November 17, 2001)

Firstborn ‘more prone to allergies‘ … Firstborn children are more likely to develop allergies than their younger siblings, a scientist suggests. (BBC, November 15, 2001)

Funding for spiritual healing study … A Scottish university looks for 50 asthmatics to conduct a study into the effects of spiritual healing on the condition. (BBC, November 12, 2001)

Officials downplay risks of pollution near Ground Zero … Asbestos, fiberglass, benzene, dioxin, freon. All these pollutants and toxins were released into the atmosphere when the World Trade Center towers imploded and their remains burned. (CNN, November 4, 2001)

Worm infestation ‘beats asthma’… Hookworms may defeat lungs’ immune defenses. (BBC News/Health, November 2, 2001)

Firefighters to be checked for ‘WTC cough’ … Firefighters who raced to the World Trade Center collapse last month will be checked for respiratory problems. (CNN, October 29, 2001)

Environmental Aftermath (Gotham Gazette, by Michael Burger, October 2001)
Asthma is ‘highly heritable’ (BBC, October 22, 2001)
Genetic clue to asthma (BBC, October 21, 2001)
Asthma and obesity ‘link’ (BBC, October 18, 2001)

Is Ground Zero Safe? … New study suggests more asbestos at disaster site than previously revealed (Newsweek/MSNBC, October 5, 2001, by David France)

Early Psychological Environment Is Asthma Risk Factor (UniSci/Daily University Science News, October 2, 2001)

Parenting link to asthma … Poor parenting could make some children more likely to develop asthma, say scientists. (BBC, October 1, 2001)

Passive smoking ’causes asthma’ (BBC, September 25, 2001)

What’s Lurking in That Smoke? … Some public-health experts fear the World Trade Center’s fireball and collapse released a toxic stew of potentially harmful particles … (Business Week, September 20, 2001)

Asthma rates defy efforts at explanation – Asthma rates defy efforts at explanation … Nearly 15 million American adults have asthma, according to the government’s first state-by-state survey of the respiratory disorder. About 6 million other adults say they have had asthma… (USAToday, August 18, 2001)

Studies: Asthma drug should not be used by itself – Studies: Asthma drug should not be used by itself … Two new studies have found that using a long-acting, airway-dilating asthma drug by itself can worsen the condition. Salmeterol xinafoate, which was approved by the Food and Drug…(USAToday, August 13, 2001)

Study: Avoid pets, avoid asthma – Study: Avoid pets, avoid asthma … Asthma cases could drop nearly 40% among U.S. youngsters under age 6 if susceptible children didn’t have pets or other allergy triggers in their homes, researchers say. Their studysuggests that… (USAToday, August 13, 2001)

Computer warns of asthma attacks … Computer could be used as advance warning system for asthmatics. (BBC, July 29, 2001)

Margarine ‘may increase asthma risk‘ (BBC, July 19, 2001)

Asthma patients ‘could be saved‘ … Quick access to oxygen outside the hospital setting may be key (BBC News, Health, July 13, 2001)

Study tracks regional variation in medication use … Prescription drug use patterns varied widely in 2000 depending on which region of the country a person lived in, according to a study released Tuesday. (CNN, June 19, 2001)

African dust storms send germs to America … Besides painting American sunsets red when they cross over the Atlantic, colossal Saharan dust storms bring loads of potentially dangerous microorganisms to the New World, according to scientists (CNN, June 18, 2001)
Study finds foul air can trigger heart attacks … Studies already suggest that bad air can contribute to a number of health threats, including asthma attacks and lung and heart disease. (CNN, June 11, 2001)

Bacteria ’cause asthma’ (BBC, June 7, 2001)
‘High asthma rates’ away from cities (BBC, May 31, 2001)
Parents ‘ignorant’ of smoking risks (BBC, May 31, 2001)
Health: Latest News Think alternative says asthma charity (BBC, May 27, 2001)
Keeping pets ‘prevents allergies’ (BBC, May 27, 2001)
Study: Inhaled steroid crucial in treating asthma (CNN, May 22, 2001)
Apples and tomatoes ‘good for lungs’ (BBC, May 22, 2001)
‘Asthma mites’ infest one in four homes (BBC, May 22, 2001)
Study: Health info on the Web often incomplete … Health information on Internet sites can be hard to find and it’s often incomplete, according to a panel of doctors who surveyed information on 25 Web sites. (CNN, May 22, 2001)
Thunderstorm threat to asthmatics (BBC, May 17, 2001)
Damp homes ‘increase asthma risk’ (BBC, May 17, 2001)
City That Never Breathes: This Week’s Issue (Gotham Gazette, May 14, 2001)
Simple treatment for asthma …Some asthma patients could improve their condition and reduce their dependence on drugs simply by doing breathing exercises (BBC, May 3, 2001)
Report: Polluted air reaching more Americans (CNN, May 1, 2001)

Trouble breathing? Find out if you’ve got asthma …While some 17 million Americans have asthma — including 5 million children — experts say many don’t even know it. (CNN, April 20, 2001)

Improving The Health Of Inner-City Kids With Asthma (Daily University Science News, February 6, 2001)

Gene-Gene Interaction In Asthma Seen For First Time (Daily University Science News, February 6, 2001)

2000

School carpets in asthma row (BBC, August 31, 2000)
Asthma doubles in two decades (BBC, July 7, 2000)
Allergy risk of middle-class children (BBC, July 4, 2000)
Pollen linked to heart and lung deaths (BBC, April 28, 2000)
Childhood measles may protect from asthma (BBC, April 18, 2000)

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