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New Lung Health Research Presented At CHEST 2009

November 4, 2009

Osteoporosis Linked to Bronchiectasis
(#8660, Monday, November 2, 1:30 PM ET)

Patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis may have a high incidence of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Researchers from Scott & White Hospital and Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Texas reviewed the records of 113 patients admitted to the hospital with acute exacerbation of bronchiectasis. The mean age of the patients was 63 years, 76 percent were Caucasian, and 70 percent were women. Of the patients, 34 patients (30 percent) had osteopenia and 16 patients (14 percent) had osteoporosis. In addition, 47 patients (42 percent) had a history of smoking, and 57 percent of these patients were men. Researchers conclude that a systematic approach to reviewing osteoporosis and osteopenia in patients with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis may be warranted.

New Formula Calculates More Accurate ‘Lung Age’ in Smokers
(#7896, Wednesday, November 4, 1:30 PM ET)

A new formula more accurately calculates a smoker’s “lung age,” which researchers hope will help persuade patients to quit the habit. A research team from Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, developed and evaluated a new lung age formula based on %FEV1/FEV6 rather than the current lung age formulas based on height and FEV1 or FVC. They found that the new formula closely approximated actual lung ages in 5,800 never-smokers, while values using the earlier formulas were erratic. They also found that in 3,500 current smokers, mean increases in lung age progressed to more than 25 years by age 50 and above, much higher but less erratic than using lung ages based on earlier formulas. Researchers conclude that sharing physiological lung age with smokers may be more effective in smoking cessation than sharing spirometry results.

Low Muscle Mass, High Body Fat Linked to Poor Lung Function in Elderly
(#7877, Wednesday, November 4, 3:45 PM ET)

Low muscle mass and high fat in the whole body or trunk may be associated with poor lung function in the elderly. South Korean researchers assessed lung function, body composition, and abdominal fat in 439 men and 561 women older than 65 years. Results indicated that lung function and muscle mass decreased with aging, but there was no significant change in fat mass with age. After adjustment for age, gender, smoking, and exercise status, participants with lower muscle mass in their whole body or trunk had poorer lung function than those with higher muscle mass in the same areas. Similarly, subjects with higher fat in their whole body or trunk showed an increased risk for having poor lung function. Researchers speculate that augmentation of muscle mass and reduction of fat would be helpful to increase or maintain lung function in the elderly population.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency May Be Linked to Chronic Cough
(#8641, Wednesday, November 4, 3:45 PM ET)

Patients with unexplained cough may be deficient in vitamin B12, shows a new study. Researchers in Italy investigated upper and lower airway responsiveness and cough threshold to histamine before and after vitamin B12 supplementation in 40 patients with chronic unexplained cough. Of the patients, 25 patients had a B12 deficiency and 15 control subjects had no nutritional deficits. Patients with vitamin B12 deficiency had significantly lower extrathoracic airway and cough thresholds but similar bronchial threshold as control subjects. Furthermore, after vitamin B12 supplementation, histamine thresholds improved significantly but only in patients with vitamin deficiency. Researchers conclude that vitamin B12 deficiency should be investigated in patients with unexplained cough.

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