Bronchitis a new worry for snorers
this week, researchers report that exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke decreases lung function in people with cystic fibrosis, especially in those who have a certain form of the cystic fibrosis gene. The research team examined information from the US Cystic Fibrosis Twin and Sibling Study and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Data Registry. There were 812 patients who provided information on secondhand smoke exposure in the home, and 188 (23.2 per cent) of these were exposed. Secondhand smoke exposure was associated with decreased lung function for all measures of lung function studied. Patients with one type of mutation in the cystic fibrosis gene showed an even greater effect of secondhand smoke on their lung function. The findings support the eradication of smoking from the homes of all cystic fibrosis patients. JAMA 2008;299:417-424 (Cutting GR, et al)
THE PULSE EPILEPTIC adults could halve their number of seizures by eating a modified version of the popular high-protein Atkins diet, according to a study in the latest issue of Epilepsia . The Atkinslike diet could provide relief to patients when drugs or other treatments have failed, claim the authors. The study involved 30 adults with epilepsy, aged 18 to 53 years, who had tried at least two anti-seizure drugs without success and had an average of 10 seizures per week. They were placed on the Atkins-like diet, which restricted them to 15 grams of carbohydrates per day. Most of their calories were gained from meat and high-fat foods. Patients kept diaries of what they ate and how many seizures they had. After one month, 47 per cent of the patients had a 50 per cent or more reduction in the frequency of their seizures. While there was no control group and the study size was small, the authors claim that the Atkins-like diet could provide another alternative to drugs, surgery and electrical stimulation for the control of epileptic seizures. Epilepsia 2008;49:316-319 (Kossoff EH, et al)
Compiled by Dr Christine White SNORERS may have more to worry about than disturbing their partner. New research in the Archivesof InternalMedicine shows that people who snore are more likely to develop chronic bronchitis — inflammation of the lower airways leading to a persistent phlegmy cough. How snoring might lead to bronchitis is not clear, but the findings provide even more motivation to develop anti-snoring therapies. The study involved 4270 men and women aged 40 to 69, none of whom suffered from bronchitis. At the beginning of the study, participants provided information about snoring frequency and general health. Over the following four years, 314 people developed chronic bronchitis. Compared to those who never snored, people who snored five times per week or less were 25 per cent more likely to develop chronic bronchitis, while those who snored six to seven times per week were 68 per cent more likely to develop the disease. The repeated vibrations from snoring might stress the lungs, say the authors, leading to increased inflammation. ArchInternMed 2008;168:167-173 (Baik I, et al) SECONDHAND smoke is damaging enough to healthy people, but for those with cystic fibrosis — an inherited illness that causes excessive mucus production and lung disease — it could be life-threatening. In the Journalofthe AmericanMedicalAssociation NURSES are best at getting the message across when it comes to helping smokers quit, concludes a new study in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Researchers combined the results of 31 separate studies involving 12,000 smokers, and found that smokers offered advice by nurses were 28 per cent more likely to quit compared to those who were offered advice by other healthcare professionals, or no advice at all. Among those given no advice, less than 3 per cent were able to quit. But of those given strategies to quit by nurses, 15 to 20 per cent were successful. While providing advice to quit smoking increases the workload of nurses, say the authors, they would benefit in the long-term by decreasing the number of smoking-related illnesses. Cochrane Database System Rev 2008;1 (Rice VH, et al) WOMENwith irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who have been physically or sexually abused may be more sensitive to the abdominal symptoms of the disease, according to new research in Gastroenterology . The study found that these women have a heightened brain response to IBS pain, suggesting that doctors should take any history of abuse into account when treating the disease. An estimated 7 per cent of Australians suffer from IBS, a condition which causes abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. Previous studies have found that more than 50 per cent of patients with IBS have been physically or sexually abused at some time in their lives. Researchers used brain imaging to show that patients with IBS who also had a background of abuse were less able to switch off pain responses in the brain compared to IBS patients who had not suffered abuse. Studying these brain responses could provide clues to new methods of treatment, say the authors. Gastroenterology 2008;doi:10.1053/ j.gastro.2007.11.011 (Ringel Y, et al) STEM cells have been found in the adult mouse pancreas that are able to generate new insulin-producing ‘‘ beta’’ cells, according to a report in the current issue of Cell . If the same stem cells exist in humans, they could be used to produce new beta cells and increase insulin levels in patients with diabetes. Cells need insulin to take up sugar from the blood, but the pancreas of a diabetic doesn’t produce enough insulin to meet this demand, leading to high blood sugar levels. Stem cells would be an ideal treatment, but the existence of such cells in the adult pancreas has been controversial. In the new study, scientists discovered the cells after damaging the pancreas and observing how the beta cells regenerated. Cell 2008;132:197-207 (Xu X, et al) Want to know more? Items are referenced where possible. A reference such as ‘‘ 2007;35:18-25’’ means the source article was published on pages 18-25 in volume number 35 of the publication, in 2007. A doi number or website address is used for research published on a journal’s website.
Snoring: Bronchitis danger means a greater need for prevention