Thursday, June 19, 2008

Too much television 'is an asthma risk'

Good God! Yet another attack on whatever is popular. If you read the explanation, it is however more reasonable than at first appears. Breathing exercises DO seem to help asthma. It's all epidemiological however so other factors could be at work. Perhaps couch potatoes are more likely to be different physiologically to start with

Children who watch more than five hours of television a day are at an increased risk of developing asthma, scientists have found. Researchers concluded that the danger of them developing the respiratory condition was raised by more than half compared with children who watch just one hour.

This could be attributed to the fact that children who lead a "couch potato" lifestyle sigh much less than their healthier counterparts. Deep inspirations play a significant role in helping lungs to function but sitting for hours leads to shallow breathing. Dr Giuseppe Corbo, who led the research carried out by the Catholic University, Rome, said: "Prolonged sitting is associated with a decrease in spontaneous sighs, which regulate airways."

The study of 20,000 six and seven-year-olds, published in the medical journal Epidemiology, confirmed a strong link with asthma and obesity, but found that salt was the biggest risk. Those with the highest intake were two and a half times more likely to develop asthma. Children who played more computer games and watched more television were also found to be less active and had poorer diets.

The British Lung Foundation said: "Obesity, high TV viewing and a high salt diet get children off to a bad start in life." More than a million children in Britain have asthma.


Vaccine against diarrhoea?

A needle-free vaccine protected more than 70 per cent of visitors to Mexico and Guatemala from traveller's diarrhoea, popularly known as Montezuma's Revenge, researchers reported today. The affliction, more commonly known in Australian travelling circles as Bali or Delhi belly, can lay a traveller out for days on end with more extreme cases resulting in an unscheduled return home for treatment.

Even if travellers did get infected with the stomach bug, Iomai Corp's experimental vaccine patch prevented severe illness, the researchers reported in the Lancet medical journal. "I think it's one of the most exciting new developments in travel medicine,'' said Dr Herbert DuPont of the University of Texas in Houston, who helped test the vaccine. "People could buy this and put it on themselves whenever they take a trip. It is the most convenient form of immunisation I have ever seen,'' DuPont said in a telephone interview.

The vaccine protects against Escherichia coli bacteria - specifically a strain known as Enterotoxigenic E. coli or ETEC. It is the leading cause of diarrhea in travelers to certain areas, causing four to five days of misery including nausea and cramps.

Iomai's team, along with DuPont's independent team and a group at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, tested the patches in a Phase II safety and efficacy trial. They got data back from 170 adults travelling to areas known to be hot spots of tummy trouble in Guatemala and Mexico. During and after travel, 15 per cent of the patients who got the vaccine developed diarrhea of any type, and just 5 per cent had ETEC-associated diarrhea. This compared to 22 per cent of travelers who got placebo, 10 per cent of whom had ETEC diarrhea. Eleven per cent of the travelers who got placebo had severe diarrhea, compared to 2 per cent of those who got the patch.

"It looked like it prevented more than 70 per cent of the episodes of moderate or severe traveller's diarrhea,'' DuPont said. "This vaccine is among the best we have for these kinds of diseases.'' The vaccine also appeared to protect against non-ETEC causes of diarrhea. DuPont said it may stabilise the intestine and prevent the reaction to infection that causes diarrhea.

Austrian vaccine maker Intercell is in the process of buying Maryland-based Iomai, which also has a patch that boosts the effects of influenza vaccines. DuPont, who said he receives no payments from Iomai, said the market potential could be large because "we have no vaccine for traveller's diarrhea.'' The needle-free approach could work against other infectious diseases, he said. The company plans a Phase III trial of the vaccine -- the last stage of testing before seeking US Food and Drug Administration approval.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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