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CARDIA Studies Open Window on Heart, Lung Diseases
Date:5/22/2008

Researchers analyze different proteins in progression of risk factors as subjects aged

THURSDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- New insights into lung disease and lung function in young adults are provided in two new studies.

The researchers analyzed data from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) observational cohort, which recently completed 20 years of health assessments in more than 5,000 young adults.

The participants were healthy 18- to 30-year-olds when CARDIA was launched in 1985 and 1986. CARDIA was designed to look for cardiovascular trouble and lung disease risk factors as the participants aged.

One of the studies identified an association between low levels of a protein called adiponectin in fat cells to increased asthma risk in young women. Even though adiponectin is produced by fat cells, obesity may trigger an inflammatory response to the protein. Its production is diminished in obese people, and its levels increase with weight loss.

For this study, researchers divided 2,890 men and women into three groups, according to the amount of adiponectin produced by their fat cells.

Women with the lowest levels of adiponectin, who also tended to be more obese, had almost double the risk of developing asthma compared to women who had the highest levels of adiponectin. This was true regardless of weight, and the association was most evident in premenopausal women.

No similar association between adiponectin levels and asthma was noted in men.

"Our finding that adiponectin may have a protective effect on asthma in women may open up doors to new ways of treating asthma. The findings have particular relevance for obese women, since they are more likely to have low blood adiponectin concentrations," lead researcher Dr. Akshay Sood, an associate professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medici
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