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Note to people with scarred and stiffened lungs: Monitor your sleep before severe fatigue sets in
Date:7/29/2008

showed that sleep problems could not be predicted by other demographic factors, such as age, gender, race or weight. Nor were they linked, researchers say, with other lung function and more noticeable disease symptoms, including shortness of breath and cough.

"Because there is so much about pulmonary fibrosis that we cannot yet fix, we need to focus on what we can fix while we wait for research to catch up with treatments that can prevent or reverse the disease," says Danoff.

Current treatments for pulmonary fibrosis are limited to steroids and other immune-system-lowering drugs that help slow down lung tissue deterioration as the thin walls of the air sacs stiffen and lose capacity to freely expand and contract.

More than 200,000 Americans suffer from pulmonary fibrosis, whose cause remains unknown. And the lung disease kills nearly 40,000 each year.

"If we had been able to treat Lisa Spaeth's fatigue from poor quality sleep, then she might have had more time to lead her life as fully as she had been prior to getting sick," says Danoff.

Despite Spaeth's death, her zest for life carries on. Her mother, Froma Sandler, maintains the business. And through the encouragement of family and friends, more than a thousand people have donated to medical research in Spaeth's honor. The largest-ever contributions arrived in May, just prior to the first anniversary of Spaeth's death, when the Maryland-based Robert M. Fisher Memorial Foundation pledged $2 million to Johns Hopkins to help fund Danoff's future studies into pulmonary disease.

"This research funding will lay the groundwork for a more consolidated and comprehensive look at the many factors that may improve and extend the lives of patients with pulmonary fibrosis: from rehabilitation of the lungs to the development and testing of new medications to offset losses in quality of life from fatigue," says Danoff.

Danoff plans to use some of the funding
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Contact: David March
dmarch1@jhmi.edu
410-955-1534
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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