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Journal CHEST: December highlighted studies


New research shows that men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, may also be at risk for osteoporosis. Researchers from Japan performed chest CT scans and pulmonary function tests on 65 male patients with COPD. Using these tests, researchers were able to compare vertebral bone density with percentage of low attenuation area (LAA%), which reflects the severity of emphysema. Results showed that LAA% had a significant negative correlation with bone mineral density, or patients with the most severe COPD had lowest bone mineral density. Although osteoporosis has multiple risk factors, researchers conclude that a systemic effect of COPD may contribute directly to osteoporosis. This study is published in the December issue of the journal CHEST.


Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be at an increased risk for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a new study shows. Researchers from Spain calculated the incidence of GERD in 1,628 patients with a first diagnosis of COPD. Researchers also calculated the incidence of COPD in 4,391 patients with a first diagnosis of GERD. Both groups were compared with age- and gender-matched comparison cohorts without either diagnosis. During the 5-year follow-up, the relative risk of incidence of COPD in patients with GERD was 1.17, while the relative risk of incidence for GERD in patients with COPD was 1.46. The study emphasizes that the two diseases coexist, and that COPD may predispose patients to GERD. Furthermore, researchers speculate that although GERD does not appear to predispose patients to COPD, GERD may worsen preexisting COPD. This study is published in the December issue of the journal CHEST.


New researchers may have identified a link between asthma and a person's mental health. Utilizing data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System health monitoring survey, researchers from Brown University in Rhode Island compared the relationship between asthma status and poor mental health in 318,151 subjects. Results indicated that persons reporting fair or poor mental health had 1.31 times the risk of having asthma compared with persons reporting good, very good, or excellent mental health. Furthermore, researchers found a "dose response" relationship between asthma and mental healthfor every incremental increase in days of poor mental health, there was a corresponding increase in risk of currently having asthma. Researchers conclude that there is a relationship between asthma and mental health symptoms; however, future research is needed to determine the causal and/or physiologic relationship between the two conditions. This study is published in the December issue of the journal CHEST.


Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
American College of Chest Physicians

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