News briefs from the Journal CHEST, December 2004

December 13, 2004

ASTHMATICS WITH FREQUENT MENTAL DISTRESS HAVE UNHEALTHY BEHAVIORS

Asthmatics with frequent mental distress (FMD) are significantly more likely to engage in behaviors that may cause asthma flare-ups and endanger their health than asthmatics without FMD, according to a new study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Atlanta, GA. Researchers surveyed 15,080 asthmatics and found that those with FMD, classified as 14 or more days a month of mental health that was not good, were more likely to be current smokers, to be physically inactive, and to be obese than other asthmatics. Survey results also showed that 18.8% of asthmatics were found to suffer from FMD, more than double the 9.3% of nonasthmatics with FMD. Those with asthma and FMD were significantly more likely to report fair or poor general health, frequent physical distress, frequent activity limitations, frequent anxiety, and frequent sleeplessness. The study appears in the December issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

MODEL ACCURATELY PREDICTS LUNG CANCER MORTALITY RATES IN SMOKERS

A new statistical model predicts lung cancer mortality rates in smokers and former smokers, without prior screening. Utilizing data from the Carotene and Reinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), researchers from New York, NY, Milan, Italy, and Lyon, France, developed a formula to predict lung cancer mortality in 8,825 subjects, based on each subject's risk factors for lung cancer mortality, such as age and smoking history. To verify the model's accuracy, researchers tested the model on three study cohorts, separately and combined. When combined, the model predicted 308 deaths due to lung cancer, and 319 deaths were actually observed. This model would essentially allow study subjects to serve as their own control group, because researchers would be able to compare the actual lung cancer mortality rates of subjects who received screening or preventative information to what their mortality rate would have been without the procedures. The study appears in the December issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

NATIONAL ANTISMOKING LEGISLATION DECREASES SMOKING RATES AND DEATHS

National tobacco control legislation helps to reduce the prevalence of smoking and, as a result, smoking-related diseases, a new study shows. The Finnish Tobacco Act of 1976 banned tobacco advertising, restricted smoking on public premises, prohibited tobacco sales to minors, placed health warnings on packages, and allocated .5% of taxes from tobacco sales to be used for smoking prevention. To determine the impact of the act, Finnish researchers analyzed and compared nationwide smoking prevalence rates from 1960 to 2000, lung cancer rates from 1980 to 2000, and respiratory disease rates from 1980 to 1998. The percentage of men who smoked daily was reduced from 58% to 28%, and their respiratory disease rate significantly declined as well. The smoking rate of women, which had increased from 12% to 20% from 1960 to 1973, leveled off at approximately 20% following the passage of this act, while their smoke-related deaths decreased since the 1980s. The study appears in the December issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.
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American College of Chest Physicians

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