Common Colds During Pregnancy Linked to Childhood Asthma

According to a recent study published in the February issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, women must be extra careful to stay “cold free” during their pregnancy. Researchers examined 513 pregnant women in Germany and their children. The women filled out questionnaires in increments until the children reached the age of five. By controlling variables such as the presence of pets in the house, results show that women who had a cold three or more times during pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child who develops asthma before the age of 5.

“Women that are pregnant may want to take extra precaution around those that are sniffling and sneezing this winter. According to a new study published today, the more common colds and viral infections a woman has during pregnancy, the higher the risk her baby will have asthma.

The study, published in the February issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, found a mother’s infections and bacterial exposure during pregnancy affect the in utero environment, thus increasing a baby’s risk of developing allergy and asthma in childhood.

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Videogames and Healthcare

Videogames are becoming an integral part of education, work and health. Companies are designing new ways to keep their employees motivated, and are providing similar options to students. Furthermore, non-adherence in healthcare is being targeted as an area that videogames, or gamification is particular, can improve upon.

A recent article from imedicalapps.com discusses LiteSprite, a company that developed an anti-anxiety application called SinaSprite. LiteSprite was the winner of the Games to Generate Data Challenge competition by Games for Health. The article covers an interview with Swatee Surve, the CEO and David Hazel, Technical Advisor.

Hopefully, the days of bland patient information and mind-numbingly dull educational videos will soon be behind us. Increasingly, people are recognizing games as a way to better engage patients for educational and therapeutic purposes. These include mainstream consumer titles like the Wii Fit to specialized applications like laparoscopic surgical simulations and physical rehabilitation. In the past decade, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — a philanthropy whose aim is to improve healthcare — has provided grants and guidance for Games for Health and related initiatives. Their most recent competition, the Games To Generate Data Challenge, targets population health.

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Study Shows Texting Increases Asthma Adherence in Adolescents

With adherence as such a major part of asthma management, the University of Rochester studied a potential mobile phone platform that can increase user adherence, specifically in adolescents. The platform is used to monitor symptoms and their parents can receive relevant updates throughout the day. The study found that the platform was accepted by most adolescents as a way to manage their asthma and could be implemented in the future.

“Purpose: Adolescents report high asthma-related morbidity that can be prevented by adequate self-management of the disease. Therefore, there is a need for a developmentally appropriate strategy to promote effective asthma self-management. Mobile phone-based technology is portable, commonly accessible, and well received by adolescents. The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a comprehensive mobile phone-based asthma self-management aid for adolescents (mASMAA) that was designed to facilitate symptom monitoring, treatment adherence, and adolescent–parent partnership. The system used state-of-the-art natural language-understanding technology that allowed teens to use unconstrained English in their texts, and to self-initiate interactions with the system.

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The Effect of a High-Fiber Diet on Asthma


Christingasner/iStockphoto/Thinkstock (Taken From Original Article)

A recent article published by Science Magazine covered a study completed in the University of Lausanne in Switzerland regarding the effect of a high fiber diet on asthma. High fiber diet has already been linked to managing irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Researches are now trying to see if it provides any benefit for those suffering from asthma.

The study involved taking two separate groups of mice, one group feeding on a high fiber diet and the other feeding on a low fiber diet. After two weeks, the mice were exposed to an allergenic and their reactions were observed. They found that the mice with a high fiber diet were much less susceptible to a strong reaction. This research could pave the way towards developing a diet catered specifically to asthma and allergy sufferers.

The fiber consumed in fruits and vegetables seems to help quiet the overzealous immune system activity that leads to such conditions as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and possibly even colon cancer. Now it appears that a diet rich in fiber may also fend off asthma, an inflammatory condition that constricts the airways of the lung, by changing the way some immune cells are produced in the bone marrow.

When we eat plentiful fruits and vegetables, the bacteria that occur naturally in our intestines help us digest the fiber. The microbes take “soluble” fiber such as pectin—found in apples, pears, berries, citrus fruits, and onions—and ferment it into specific types of fatty acids that interact with immune cells, helping keep inflammation in check. Whether this anti-inflammatory effect extends beyond the digestive tract is less clear. But the fatty acids in question are able to circulate through the bloodstream, perhaps hooking up with immune cells throughout the body.

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Children’s Medical Center and a New Asthma Initiative

A blog on the Dallas section of BizJournals recently covered a new collaboration between Children’s Medical Center and a non-profit research and development firm called PCCI.

The collaboration includes two major projects which aim to develop predictive modeling and networking technologies to alleviate health concerns in children. The first project deals specifically with chronic asthma. One of the most difficult factor to assess in healthcare is risk. Thus, striving to better understand risk factors in children with chronic asthma could significantly reduce future health problems.

Children’s Medical Center is partnering with nonprofit research and development firm PCCI on two new projects that use predictive modeling and networking technologies to keep children healthier.

The first project focuses on helping children with chronic asthma, which is the third-leading cause of pediatric hospital re-admissions nationally and a significant cause of admissions and re-admissions at Children’s Medical Center.

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“At Least a Quarter of Asthma Cases Misdiagnosed”

Asthma cases have been increasing at a steady rate over the last decade. This year around 25 million Americans are diagnosed with the disease yet a significant number of them are misdiagnosed. Indeed, CBS News covered recent asthma studies showing that 25 to 30 percent of patients with asthma in fact do not have the disease. Most of these misdiagnoses are due to similar symptoms coming from other underlying illnesses such as acid-reflux.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New research indicates a large number of asthma patients have been misdiagnosed.

As CBS 2′s Dr. Max Gomez reported, recent studies show that while 25 million Americans have been diagnosed with the disease, a starling number don’t actually have asthma.

Asthma is a potentially life-threatening disease that can cause wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. But about 25 to 30 percent of patients are misdiagnosed, according to recent studies.

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Breakfast at Glenfield – The Educational Music Video about ACUTE ASTHMA MANAGEMENT

Asthma Treatment Guidelines are essential to successfully treating asthma attacks, yet, at a British hospital, less than half of the doctors and staff utilized them. A third of them weren’t aware that they existed. One of the doctors on staff decided to create an informative music video for the staff.

A survey, taken two months after the video, showed a significant increase in guideline usage (<50% to around 80%) in doctors and staff.

Read the article about the video here.

Watch the video.

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