American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for July (second issue)

July 26, 2002

Humming for your sinuses

Humming is an extremely effective way of increasing ventilation in the sinuses, according to Swedish scientists. As a result of their finding, the researchers hope to study whether daily episodes of humming can reduce the risk of sinusitis in patients susceptible to upper respiratory infection (URI). (Sinusitis, a common illness reported by 14 percent of the U.S. population, involves the inflammation of one of the paranasal sinuses, usually from URI.) The researchers, who tested 10 healthy males, ages 34 to 38, found that humming sped up the exchange of air between the sinuses and the nasal cavity and increased the nitric oxide (NO) rate by 15-fold. The researchers pointed out that proper ventilation is essential for the maintenance of sinus integrity, and that blockage of the opening between the two cavities is a central event in the development of sinusitis. From further larger-scale studies, they hope to show that their NO technique can offer an easy, non-invasive way of identifying persons who are at risk of developing sinusitis. The authors note that the current test to measure the degree the sinuses are open is invasive and somewhat cumbersome to perform. The study appears in the second issue for July of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Smoking by family members associated
with asthma diagnosis before age 6

Research showed that smoking by family members was associated with an increased likelihood a child in the home would be diagnosed with asthma before age 6. In addition, the number of young people who started smoking before age 15 increased significantly as the number of smokers in the house grew. To uncover the results, investigators measured lung function in approximately 4,000 black and white men and women who were initially ages 18 to 30 during 1985 to 1986. Follow-up exams were given to participants 2, 5, and 10 years later. In addition, participants were questioned about their respiratory health, cigarette smoking, physical activity, and medical history. Among 5,016 adult participants who reported the status of family smoking when they grew up, approximately 50 percent said that their mother smoked and about two-thirds noted that their father smoked. Of this group, almost 44 percent had ever smoked, with slightly over 20 percent being current smokers. (Current smokers demonstrated a lower lung function at age 18 and a faster rate of lung deterioration than did non-smokers.) The prevalence of asthma at age 6 or younger was 2.8 percent with no smokers in the family and doubled to 5.6 percent when one family member smoked. The percent prevalence of smoking at age 15 and younger grew from 4.6 percent with no smokers in the house, to 7.6 percent with one smoker, up to 12.4 percent with three smokers, and rose to 14.9 percent with four or more smokers. The research appears in second issue for July of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Obstructive sleep apnea caused 5-fold increase in heart disease

The first long-term, clinic-based epidemiologic study of the development of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged men either with or without obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) showed that the sleep problem caused almost a 5-fold increase in heart disease which was independent of age, weight, blood pressure, and current smoking status. Swedish researchers found that at least one cardiovascular problem occurred in 22 or 60 men, aged 30 to 69, with OSA, compared with 8 of 122 without OSA. All men were free of heart and pulmonary disease, diabetes, psychiatric disorder, alcohol dependency, or malignancy at the study's start in 1991. They were investigated over a seven-year period. (In sleep apnea, a person repeatedly stops breathing during sleep long enough to decrease the amount of oxygen in the blood and brain, and to increase the amount of carbon dioxide.) According to the investigators, the most significant predictor of the development of cardiovascular disease was the presence of OSA at baseline. Patients with excessive daytime sleepiness were offered treatment with either continuous positive airway pressure, surgery, or an oral appliance. In the OSA group, cardiovascular disease was observed in 21 of 37 incompletely treated cases, but it occurred in only 1 of the 15 effectively treated patients. The study appeared in the second issue for July of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
For the complete text of these articles, please see the American Thoracic Society Online Web Site at For contact information or to request a complimentary journalist subscription to ATS journals online, or if you would like to add your name to the Society's twice monthly journal news mailing list (please select either postal or electronic delivery), contact Cathy Carlomagno at (212) 315-6442, or by e-mail at

American Thoracic Society

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to