Study: Asthma Inhaler use in Children Stunts Growth

Child with inhaler

The Guardian recently covered two asthma studies regarding inhaler usage and growth in children. The studies were conducted by Francine Ducharme, a pediatrician at the University of Montreal. The first study analyzed published inhaler usage trials of over 8,400 children. Results showed that the growth rate for children under 18 without steroid usage exceeded the growth rate for children using steroids by approximately half a centimeter per year.

The second study followed children who were taking medication doses between 50 to 200 micrograms of inhalable steroids. The children who took higher doses were at an increased risk of stunted growth.

Children who use inhalable steroids for asthma grow slower than their peers in the first year of taking the medication, researchers say.

But doctors said the effect was so small it was easily outweighed by the clear benefits of taking the drugs, which prevent serious asthma attacks and even deaths from the breathing disorder.

Children who used the common corticosteroids to alleviate their asthma symptoms grew on average half a centimetre less over the course of a year, compared with children who did not take the medicine.

The steroids seemed to affect children’s growth only in the first year and had even less of an impact on their growth rate when used in low doses of no more than 100 micrograms.

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New Inhaled Drug Could Potentially Relieve Asthma and Allergy Symptoms

WebMDreports a new drug called quilizumab has the potential to treat mild asthma and allergy symptoms. The drug, targets blood cells that produce immunoglobulin type E (IgE), a protein that causes allergic reactions. In an initial study, the drug reduced total levels of IgE in patients suffering from mild asthma or allergic reactions. The levels of IgE were kept low for a month on the drug. Results also show that production of IgE was not only reduced but stopped in some cases. In early stages of testing, the drug only seems to be working with mild asthma and not with moderate to severe cases. Quilizumab is aiming to replace its rival, omalizumab, which requires one to three injections every two to four weeks. Quilizumab, on the other hand, only requires one inhalation approximately every three months.

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A new inhaled medication has the potential to treat mildasthma andallergies by interrupting the production of an immune system protein that triggers allergic reactions, a new study reports.

The drug, quilizumab, targets the blood cells that produce a protein called immunoglobulin type E (IgE), that serves a key role in allergies.

Quilizumab lowered total levels of IgE in theblood of people with allergies and mild asthma, and kept them low for a month, researchers report in the July 2 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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Study: Consuming Broccoli Benefits Asthmatics

broccoli

The University of Melbourne recently carried out a study testing the benefits of broccoli as it relates to asthma. Results showed that consuming one to two cups of steamed broccoli prevents asthma symptoms and potentially reverses lung damage. However, the benefits are not only limited to broccoli but are also found in other cruciferous vegetables.

These vegetables alter the airway formation making it easier to breath. This study is among others that aim to discover the benefits of dietary changes for various illnesses and will be presented at the 2014 Undergraduate Research Conference in Shanghai.

Broccoli could help asthma patients to breathe easy, a new study suggests.

According to researchers at the University of Melbourne, eating one to two cups of lightly steamed broccoli could prevent asthma from worsening.

Other vegetables belonging to the cruciferous family such as kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and bok choy also help reverse lung damage, the study found.                  

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Study Aims to Curb Asthma Over-Medication

NBC published an article covering new research currently being carried out by Dr. John Mastronarde and his team at the Ohio State Medical Center. The study aims to find the optimal amount of medication for each asthma patient. This research is essential in the asthma medication space due to over-medication creating unnecessary costs and health hazards. The study will examine combinations of inhalers and medicines to find the most effective dose levels at various situations.

“With 26 million Americans taking asthma medicines at a cost of $150 million a day, a new study seeks to determine how to change the fact that many of those patients are taking too much medicine.

Dr. John Mastronarde and his colleagues at Ohio State University Medical Center are researching how to get patients on the lowest dose of asthma medicine possible.

He said the drugs can cost patients between $3 and $500 per month.

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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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