Allercy and Asthma Health
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Winter 2008

Drumming for Asthma Awareness

Green Means “Go!” at This Asthma Camp

9 Important Things You Should Know About the New Asthma Guidelines

Understanding Mild Asthma

Donated Nebulizers Make School Day Easier for Kids with Asthma

News Bits


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The Official Publication of AAN - MA

News Bits

Asthma Camps Really Do Improve Asthma Management
Respiratory therapists have been volunteering at asthma camps for years, and most have never had any doubt about their value in helping kids cope with the condition.

Now University of California, San Diego researchers make it official with a new study involving 1,783 children taking part in 24 American Lung Association camps across the country. In order to gauge the effects camp has on kids with asthma, they compared health care utilization and asthma control among those who had attended camp before with first time attendees.

Results showed children who had previously attended asthma camp had made fewer emergency department and physician office visits over the past year, had fewer hospitalizations, and had better asthma management skills. Veteran attendees were also more likely to use medications to control their asthma.

 The study was published in the December 2007 issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

 

Google It – To Check Up on Air Pollution
A lot of people have used “Google Earth” to zoom into a specific location on the map. Now Google has teamed up with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to produce real-time views of air pollution as well.

Using the AIRNow database, the tool can help people with asthma and other respiratory conditions make better decisions on whether and when to exercise outdoors by tracking air quality on a daily or even hourly basis. AIRNow is part of the EPA’s new “Air Emission Sources” web site, which is designed to make emissions data for six common pollutants easy to find and understand. You can learn more about the tool at www.epa.gov/region09/air/airnow/.

Mothers’ Stress May Increase Child’s Asthma
Children whose mothers are chronically stressed during their early years have a higher asthma rate than their peers, regardless of their income, gender, or other known asthma risk factors, according to the January issue of the American Journal or Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

“It is increasingly clear that traditional environmental risk factors do not fully explain the origins of asthma,” said lead investigator, Anita Kozyrskyj, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba, Canada. “Evidence is emerging that exposure to maternal distress in early life plays a causal role in the development of childhood asthma. In a cohort of children born in 1995, we found that maternal distress which persists beyond the postpartum period is associated with an increased risk of asthma at school-age.” 

 

Asthma Makes the Top 10 List for Most Expensive Medical Conditions
Asthma and COPD came out number 5 on the latest list of the top 10 most expensive medical conditions compiled by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Overall, these 10 conditions cost about $500 billion to treat in 2005.

  • Heart conditions: $76 billion
  • Trauma disorders: $72 billion
  • Cancer: $70 billion
  • Mental disorders, including depression: $56 billion
  • Asthma and COPD: $54 billion
  • High blood pressure: $42 billion
  • Type 2 diabetes: $34 billion
  • Osteoarthritis and other joint diseases: $34 billion
  • Back problems: $32 billion
  • Normal childbirth: $32 billion

Didgeridoo Helps Asthmatics Breathe Easier
The Australian wind instrument often used by Aborigines called the didgeridoo may be good for more than just making music. In a study involving 10 teenaged boys with asthma, researchers found it helped improve respiratory functioning as well. The study was published in a recent issue of Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal.

Respiratory physician Helen Reddel, of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, calls the study innovative and encouraging but notes more research is needed. “There are some unusual features about didgeridoo playing that mean we can’t assume that the results will be the same as those for other sorts of breathing techniques,” she said. More research is indeed planned that will compare didgeridoo-playing asthmatics with those learning to play non-wind instruments.

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