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News briefs from the March issue of Chest


Pregnant women with asthma who smoke have an increased risk for asthma symptoms and fetal growth abnormalities. Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina observed 2,210 pregnant women with asthma to determine the effect of active and passive household smoking on asthma severity and obstetric/neonatal outcomes. Of the women, 418 (18 percent) reported active smoking; among nonsmokers, 790 (36 percent) reported passive household smoke exposure. Results showed that active smoking was associated with an increase in total symptomatic days and nights of sleep disturbance. Among newborns of active smokers, there was a greater risk of small for gestational age and a lower mean birth weight. There were no differences in symptom exacerbation or outcome between nonsmokers with and without passive household smoke exposure. This study is published in the March issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: CHEST 2010; 137(3):601�.


New evidence shows that airway obstruction may be the cause of reduced lung function in World Trade Center (WTC) rescue workers from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). Researchers from FDNY, New York University, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, analyzed pulmonary function test results in 1,750 participants from the FDNY-WTC Monitoring Program. Of the participants, 59 percent (n=1,051) had obstructive airway disease based on at least one of the following: FEV1/FVC, bronchodilator responsiveness, hyperactivity or elevated residual volume. After adjusting for age, gender, race, height and weight, and tobacco use, lung function decline was still correlated with airway obstruction. Chest CT scans also revealed that few participants had interstitial lung disease. This article is published in the March issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: CHEST 2010; 137(3):566�.


Psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are twice as prevalent among adults with asthma than the general population. Researchers from the Air Pollution and Respiratory Branch of the Centers for Disease Control analyzed data from 186,738 adult respondents from the 2001-2007 National Health Interview Survey. Results showed that the average annual prevalence of current asthma was 7.0 percent. Among adults with asthma, the prevalence of serious psychological distress (SPD) was 7.5 percent, compared with 3.0 percent among the general population. Furthermore, adults who reported lower socioeconomic status, history of smoking or alcohol abuse, and more comorbid chronic conditions had significantly higher odds of SPD. The findings suggest the importance of mental health screenings for adults with asthma. The article is published in the March issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: CHEST 2010; 137(3):609�.


Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
American College of Chest Physicians

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