American Thoracic Society news tips for December

December 20, 2000

Better contact investigation would help eliminate tuberculosis

In the first study of a representative national sample of 1,080 adults diagnosed with pulmonary sputum positive tuberculosis (TB) and 6,225 of their close contacts, investigators for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called for specific improvements to help state and local TB programs enhance their effectiveness in dealing with household (live-in) contacts, relatives, leisure time contacts, and others with close exposure to the infectious TB patient. After their comprehensive look at data from 11 TB program sites around the country, the scientists called for programs to devote more time to identifying additional close contacts of active TB patients. Secondly, they urge contact investigators to visit the patient's home which, in this study, resulted in identifying two additional (especially child) close contacts. Third, they recommended recording the date of the contact's last exposure to the TB patient for possible follow-up tuberculin tests for those who are negative initially, but who could convert to positive response. They noted also sites that use public health nurses were more likely to start patients with a positive skin test, as well as converters, on treatment for latent TB infection. Finally, they urge use of directly observed therapy to increase the likelihood of contacts completing their treatment. The study appears in the December American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

High rate of occupational asthma uncovered

Investigators who performed a population-based cross-sectional study in six Canadian communities found that approximately one in three cases of adult-onset asthma could have been caused by occupational asthma. They believe over 18 percent of cases of adult-onset asthma in a Canadian urban population could have been prevented by eliminating exposure at work in combined high-risk occupations and industries. Of 2,974 persons who attended a lab session, answered questions on symptoms and risk factors, and had lung function tests and skin prick test for allergy sensitivity, 383 had physician-diagnosed asthma. Of this group, 166 had adult-onset disease. Of these patients, 27 worked in a defined high risk occupation or industry, and 33 had occupational exposure to a known asthma-causing agent. Although the majority of participants have changed jobs since their asthma began, most still had respiratory symptoms at their current workplace. The research is published in the December American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

School-aged children show lung function deficits from maternal smoking during gestation

Southern California researchers have found that school-aged children with asthma have large deficits in lung function associated with exposure to maternal smoking while they were still in the womb. They examined the medical history and tobacco exposure data for 5,263 participants in the Children's Health Study. They found that both boys and girls with a history of exposure in the womb to maternal smoking showed deficits in lung function which were larger for children with asthma. They believe that exposure in the womb to maternal smoking is independently associated with persistent deficits in lung function and that asthmatic children comprise an especially sensitive group for this problem. They urge women to cut back on smoking drastically during their childbearing years. The study appears in the December issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
For either the complete text of these articles or to contact the investigators by e-mail, please see the ATS Journal Online Website at Medical and scientific journalists who would like to interview these researchers, receive a complimentary subscription to ATS journals, and/or receive the ATS news briefs by e-mail each month, should contact Lori Quigley at 212-315-6442, by fax at 212-315-6455, 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