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  • Spring allergy relief: Here's what to try first
    Posted: 4/21/2014
    From USA Today:

    Sneezing, congestion, runny noses and itchy eyes. For people with seasonal nasal allergies - commonly known as hay fever - these symptoms are nothing new. They are as predictable as the explosion of tree pollen happening now in many parts of the country and the bursts of grass and ragweed pollens still to come.

    But when it comes to treating those symptoms, there is some news this year.
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  • Senate Dems want crackdown on e-cigs
    Posted: 4/10/2014
    From The Hill:

    Half a dozen Senate Democrats called Monday on a pair of federal agencies to go after electronic cigarette companies that claim their wares can help smokers quit.

    The Food and Drug Administration is readying regulations that would bring the burgeoning e-cigarette industry under its supervision, though a proposed rule has sat under review at the White House since October, and it's unclear how soon it would be issued.

    In the meantime, lawmakers say, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission can use existing authority to reprimand e-cigarette manufacturers who make unsubstantiated or false claims in their advertising.
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  • New test can distinguish asthma from allergies with just one drop of blood
    Posted: 4/10/2014
    From Healthline:

    Reaching for an inhaler to relieve the coughing and wheezing associated with chronic asthma is easy, but knowing whether it's being used to treat the right condition has not been as simple. Now, researchers from the University of Wisconsin have found a biomarker that determines whether someone is suffering from asthma or an allergy. Their study was published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

    To find the asthma-related biomarker, researchers looked to the immune system and white blood cells known as neutrophils, which moved more slowly across a chemotactic gradient in asthmatic patients than they did in nonasthmatic patients. Chemotaxis is the movement of cells caused by a chemical stimulant.
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  • Smoking bans cut asthma and premature births by 10%, study says
    Posted: 4/3/2014
    From BBC:
    Researchers found a 10% reduction in premature births and severe childhood asthma attacks within a year of smoke-free laws being introduced.

    A research team analyzed 11 previous studies from North America and Europe.

    The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said smoking bans benefited adults and children.
    Read More »
  • Can Botox Treat Asthma? Injections Into Vocal Cords Can Help Patients Breathe
    Posted: 3/27/2014
    From Medical Daily:

    Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections are popularly used as a cosmetic procedure to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but the drug has become multi-purposeful in treating a wide range of medical conditions. The wrinkle-smoother has been approved to treat the most severe migraines and has been found to assist asthmatics with their breathing. A study in the journal Respirology found Botox helped patients suffering from voice box problems by partly paralyzing the muscles through vocal cord injections, making it easier to breathe.
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  • E-cigarette accidents prompt poison centers' warning
    Posted: 3/26/2014
    From USA Today:

    As illness reports from electronic cigarettes mount, U.S. poison centers warn parents to store the liquid nicotine used in these battery-operated devices away from children.

    The warning, issued Tuesday by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, comes as the group reports a surge in calls about exposure to e-cigarettes and the liquid nicotine they contain - from 269 nationwide in 2011 to 459 in 2012, 1,414 in 2013 and 651 this year, through March 24.
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  • Kids say tobacco packaging has more influence than celebrities
    Posted: 3/21/2014
    From Cancer Research UK:

    The power of packaging is twice as likely as celebrities to influence children (40 percent vs 20 percent) when they think about buying a product, according to a new YouGov survey - boosting the argument for putting tobacco in plain standardized packs to discourage children from smoking cigarettes.

    Cancer Research UK commissioned the survey which found that children aged eight to 15 are more likely to think that bright, colorful or interesting packaging would tempt them to buy something in a shop (40 percent) than whether it was made by a well-known company (27 percent), whether the product sponsored an event - such as the Olympics - (15 percent), or even if it had a special point of sale display in store (22 percent).

    While only a fifth (20 percent) said seeing a celebrity using a product would make them more likely to buy it, double this number said bright, colorful or interesting packaging would.
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  • What's in e-cigarettes; are they safe? A few issues to consider before you vape
    Posted: 3/20/2014
    From The Washington Post:

    Maybe a friend or family member uses one. Maybe you've seen one being fired up in a place where you thought smoking was banned, such as a restaurant or sporting arena. Or maybe you're using one yourself to try to kick a tobacco habit.

    Whatever your experience is with electronic cigarettes, it appears that the battery-powered devices, which deliver a form of nicotine and mimic the feel of traditional cigarettes, are here to stay. Sales grew from about $500 million in 2012 to an estimated $1.5 billion in 2013. That's a fraction of the tobacco cigarette market - roughly $100 billion per year - but it reflects rapid growth, in contrast to the steady decline in tobacco cigarette sales.
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  • Compound from 'third-hand smoke' damages DNA and potentially causes cancer
    Posted: 3/18/2014

    Leftover cigarette smoke that clings to walls and furniture is a smelly nuisance, but now research suggests that it could pose a far more serious threat, especially to young children who put toys and other smoke-affected items into their mouths. Scientists reported today that one compound from this "third-hand smoke," which forms when second-hand smoke reacts with indoor air, damages DNA and sticks to it in a way that could potentially cause cancer.
    Read More »
  • New research links body clocks to chronic lung diseases
    Posted: 3/18/2014
    From The Times of India:

    Using the body clock effectively could keep lung diseases away, suggests a new research from Manchester University.

    This study is part of on-going research into how chronic disruption to body clocks by changes like ageing or shift work contribute to a number of conditions such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and mood disorder.
    Read More »
  • Are statewide smoking bans associated with reduced smoking by mentally ill?
    Posted: 3/12/2014
    From Oxford Journals:

    Background: Smoke-free air laws have effectively reduced cigarette consumption at the population level; however, the influence of these policies on smoking among those with mental illness is unclear. We examined whether associations between statewide restaurant/bar smoking bans and cigarette smoking varied by psychiatric diagnoses and gender.
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  • Smoking tied to changes in the structure of teen brains
    Posted: 3/4/2014
    From Reuters Health:

    Young smokers who have smoked more cigarettes have clear differences in their brains compared to lighter smokers, according to a new study.

    "Earlier studies of older participants showed that the smokers had structural differences in various brain regions," said senior author Edythe D. London.

    And in studies of adolescent animals, nicotine damaged and killed brain cells, added London, from the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and the David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles.
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  • A short walk a day helps COPD patients stay out of the hospital
    Posted: 2/28/2014
    From BioNews Texas:

    New research shows that walking about two miles a day can lower the risk of being hospitalized with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) attacks, Healthline News reports.

    The study, published in Respirology, examined 543 COPD patients from five Spanish respiratory clinics. The scientists looked at the distance the patients walked during the week. They walked at least three times a week and were divided into groups based on low, moderate, and high activity. That information was then compared to data from Hospital Galdakao-Usansolo in Bilbao, Spain.
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  • What's killing the region? Gasping for air
    Posted: 2/24/2014

    At its worst, it's like plugging your nose and sucking air through a narrow cocktail straw.

    "It's a suffocating thing," said Linda Gatto, a Munster-based nurse practitioner who works with lung patients, many who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. "Sit in one of our waiting rooms, and you'll see all these people on oxygen tanks.

    "To die this way is terrible."

    Noncancerous lung ailments are the third leading cause of death in the region, having claimed 7,014 lives throughout Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties between 1999 and 2010, a Times analysis of government data shows.
    Read More »
  • Flu season waning; younger adults hit hardest
    Posted: 2/24/2014
    From AP:

    Flu season seems to be winding down, and it's been an odd one.

    It hasn't been as bad as last year and the vaccine worked a little better. And it has been a fairly mild one for the elderly - traditionally the most vulnerable group.

    But it's been a different story for young and middle-age adults, who have been hit harder than expected because of a surge in swine flu.
    Read More »