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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The Financial Times: The Growth of Health Tech Start-Ups and CES 2014

The healthcare industry, over the past couple years, has been a hotspot for technology start-ups, most of whom aim to lower healthcare costs for hospitals, insurers and patients. The Financial Times recently wrote an article on the subject, explaining that CES 2014 has grown its digital healthcare industry exhibits by approximately 40% this year. Companies are looking for ways to increase the availability of data and patient monitoring outside the doctors office.

The article also mentioned how doctors are going to have fairly different job descriptions in the near future. Dr. Samir Damani stated that “A doctor’s life is going to change dramatically… They won’t get paid for seeing someone, they’ll get paid for delivering an outcome.”

The Affordable Care Act and its involvement in the trend is another topic covered in the article. Since it is becoming more important for doctors to keep patients monitored and healthy when they are at home, companies are developing innovative ways to support that initiative.

The sick, the old and the stressed are the unlikely new target market for a growing corner of the technology industry, which is salivating over the opportunities offered by healthcare reform in the US.

From start-ups to large health insurance providers, the digital health industry exhibits at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show expanded by 40 per cent this year as companies showed off products promising to save money by keeping patients at home.

Dr Samir Damani, a cardiologist who now runs MD Revolution, said using internet-connected devices to monitor health from afar and develop predictive intelligence would change disease management forever.

“A doctor’s life is going to change dramatically, now they are going to be a maestro, orchestrating care,” he said. “They won’t just get paid for seeing someone, they’ll get paid for delivering an outcome.”

The US Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s flagship healthcare policy, puts pressure on providers to prove they are delivering the most cost-effective care. For the technology industry, this means encouraging more remote care and preventive monitoring to eliminate unnecessary doctors’ visits and hospital stays.

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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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