American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for September 2005 (first issue)

September 01, 2005


Children with asthma whose fathers have a history of the disease are at significantly greater risk for serious airway constriction than children whose father have no such history.

In reporting the results of a 5-year study, the investigators said that paternal asthma was strongly associated with childhood airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), an exaggerated constricting response to various stimuli that characterize asthma.

Called a defining feature of asthma, AHR is directly correlated with pulmonary symptoms and disease severity, according to the authors.

The 1,041 children in the study were all participants in the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP). Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, CAMP is the largest outcome study of mild to moderate asthma in children to be undertaken. The multicenter investigation, which enrolled children ages 5 to 12, was designed to determine the long-term effects of three inhaled treatments.

While other studies have demonstrated that parental history of asthma affects children, the authors of the latest study note that they are the "first to suggest that a parental history of asthma influences the natural history of airway responsiveness among children with established asthma, and that the father's history may be the predominant familial determinant of this relationship."

AHR was measured through a median logarithmic data analysis of PC20, the concentration of the bronchoconstrictor methacholine required to cause a 20 percent fall in the children's lung function test scores. (All participants took the methacholine test at the beginning of the study and yearly thereafter.)

Lower data analysis scores showed worse AHR: the results ranged from 0.84 in the 208 children who had a father with asthma to 1.13 in the 763 youngsters who did not. The correlation was even greater when both parents had asthma: 0.52 in children with two asthmatic parents and 1.17 in children without parental asthma. The researchers did not find a statistically significant correlation between maternal asthma and childhood AHR.

The study appears in the first issue for September 2005 of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.


Medical scientists detected early atherosclerosis by uncovering vascular abnormalities in 42- to 44-year-old predominately male patients who had severe obstructive sleep apnea but no overt cardiovascular disease.

In the study, the researchers investigated the functional and structural properties of the large arteries in 15 persons with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), 15 individuals with severe OSA, and 12 healthy control volunteers. All groups were matched for age, sex, and body mass index.

The participants underwent a full standard overnight sleep test (polysomnography); a pulse wave velocity test, which is a noninvasive, accurate method of determining the elastic properties of the aorta and other large arteries; and an assessment with a high definition echo-tracing device to measure carotid artery thickness, diameter, and potential enlargement.

The authors said that the mechanical properties of the large arteries are important determinants of circulatory physiology in health and disease. They noted that increased arterial stiffness preceded the onset of systemic hypertension in humans and was an independent risk marker of premature artery disease, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease.

In OSA, the sleeping person repeatedly stops breathing as a result of partial or complete blockage of the upper airways. This stoppage occurs long enough to decrease the amount of oxygen in the blood and brain, and to build up carbon dioxide. After a breathing pause of 10 seconds or longer, the person usually awakens enough to resume breathing. These episodes can occur numerous times during the night.

In this study, the investigators said that an important finding was the increased carotid diameter in patients with OSA. It seems that previous studies have shown that carotid artery dilation is a compensatory mechanism in the early stages of atherosclerosis.

The authors pointed out that all vascular abnormalities detected correlated significantly with the severity of the subject's OSA, which further supported the hypothesis that OSA plays an independent role in the progression of atherosclerosis.

The study appears in the first issue for September 2005 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 either 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 e-mail list, contact Brian Kell 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