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Concept: Asthma


Life skills play a key role in promoting educational and occupational success in early life, but their relevance at older ages is uncertain. Here we measured five life skills-conscientiousness, emotional stability, determination, control, and optimism-in 8,119 men and women aged 52 and older (mean 66.7 y). We show that the number of skills is associated with wealth, income, subjective wellbeing, less depression, low social isolation and loneliness, more close relationships, better self-rated health, fewer chronic diseases and impaired activities of daily living, faster walking speed, and favorable objective biomarkers (concentration of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, vitamin D and C-reactive protein, and less central obesity). Life skills also predicted sustained psychological wellbeing, less loneliness, and a lower incidence of new chronic disease and physical impairment over a 4-y period. These analyses took account of age, sex, parental socioeconomic background, education, and cognitive function. No single life skill was responsible for the associations we observed, nor were they driven by factors such as socioeconomic status or health. Despite the vicissitudes of later life, life skills impact a range of outcomes, and the maintenance of these attributes may benefit the older population.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Psychology, Osteoporosis, Medicine, Nutrition, Asthma, Chronic, Cognition


Objective To determine the frequency of prescriptions for short term use of oral corticosteroids, and adverse events (sepsis, venous thromboembolism, fractures) associated with their use.Design Retrospective cohort study and self controlled case series.Setting Nationwide dataset of private insurance claims.Participants Adults aged 18 to 64 years who were continuously enrolled from 2012 to 2014.Main outcome measures Rates of short term use of oral corticosteroids defined as less than 30 days duration. Incidence rates of adverse events in corticosteroid users and non-users. Incidence rate ratios for adverse events within 30 day and 31-90 day risk periods after drug initiation.Results Of 1 548 945 adults, 327 452 (21.1%) received at least one outpatient prescription for short term use of oral corticosteroids over the three year period. Use was more frequent among older patients, women, and white adults, with significant regional variation (all P<0.001). The most common indications for use were upper respiratory tract infections, spinal conditions, and allergies. Prescriptions were provided by a diverse range of specialties. Within 30 days of drug initiation, there was an increase in rates of sepsis (incidence rate ratio 5.30, 95% confidence interval 3.80 to 7.41), venous thromboembolism (3.33, 2.78 to 3.99), and fracture (1.87, 1.69 to 2.07), which diminished over the subsequent 31-90 days. The increased risk persisted at prednisone equivalent doses of less than 20 mg/day (incidence rate ratio 4.02 for sepsis, 3.61 for venous thromboembolism, and 1.83 for fracture; all P<0.001).Conclusion One in five American adults in a commercially insured plan were given prescriptions for short term use of oral corticosteroids during a three year period, with an associated increased risk of adverse events.

Concepts: Time, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Asthma, Corticosteroid, Respiratory system, Upper respiratory tract, Upper respiratory tract infection


The influence of early exposure to allergenic foods on the subsequent development of food allergy remains uncertain.

Concepts: Nutrition, Asthma, Eating, Allergy, Food, Food allergy, Eczema


Although some signs of inflammation have been reported previously in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), the data are limited and contradictory. High-throughput methods now allow us to interrogate the human immune system for multiple markers of inflammation at a scale that was not previously possible. To determine whether a signature of serum cytokines could be associated with ME/CFS and correlated with disease severity and fatigue duration, cytokines of 192 ME/CFS patients and 392 healthy controls were measured using a 51-multiplex array on a Luminex system. Each cytokine’s preprocessed data were regressed on ME/CFS severity plus covariates for age, sex, race, and an assay property of newly discovered importance: nonspecific binding. On average, TGF-β was elevated (P = 0.0052) and resistin was lower (P = 0.0052) in patients compared with controls. Seventeen cytokines had a statistically significant upward linear trend that correlated with ME/CFS severity: CCL11 (Eotaxin-1), CXCL1 (GROα), CXCL10 (IP-10), IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-5, IL-7, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-17F, leptin, G-CSF, GM-CSF, LIF, NGF, SCF, and TGF-α. Of the 17 cytokines that correlated with severity, 13 are proinflammatory, likely contributing to many of the symptoms experienced by patients and establishing a strong immune system component of the disease. Only CXCL9 (MIG) inversely correlated with fatigue duration.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Asthma, Infection, Cytokines, Interleukin, Chemokine, Chronic fatigue syndrome


Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood. According to guidelines, a diagnosis of asthma should be confirmed using lung function testing in children aged >6 years. Previous studies indicate that asthma in children is probably overdiagnosed. However, the extent has not previously been assessed.

Concepts: Medicine, Asthma, Lung, Medical terms, Retrospective, Chronic


Experimental ooplasmic transplantation from donor to recipient oocyte took place between 1996 and 2001 at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, USA. Indication for 33 patients was repeated implantation failure. Thirteen couples had 17 babies. One patient delivered twins from mixed ooplasmic and donor egg embryos. A limited survey-based follow-up study on the children is reported: 12 out of 13 parents completed a questionnaire on pregnancy, birth, health, academic performance and disclosure. Parents of a quadruplet did not participate. Prenatal development and delivery were uneventful. School grades ranged from good to excellent. Children were of good health. Body mass index (BMI) was normal in 12 out of 13 children. One child had chronic migraine headaches, two mild asthma, three minor vision and three minor skin problems. One boy from a boy/girl twin was diagnosed with borderline pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified at age 18 months, but with no later symptoms. One couple disclosed the use of egg donor to their child. One reported intention to disclose; six were undecided and four reported they would not disclose. This limited follow-up strategy presents a high risk of bias. Parents may not assent to standardized clinical analysis owing to lack of disclosure to their children.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Asthma, Embryo, Body mass index, Pervasive developmental disorder, Implantation, Zygote


BACKGROUND: Enhancing athletic performance is a great desire among the athletes, coaches and researchers. Mint is one of the most famous natural herbs used for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antioxidant, and vasoconstrictor effects. Even though inhaling mint aroma in athletes has been investigated, there were no significant effects on the exercise performance. METHODS: Twelve healthy male students every day consumed one 500 ml bottle of mineral water, containing 0.05 ml peppermint essential oil for ten days. Blood pressure, heart rate, and spirometry parameters including forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow rate (PEF), and peak inspiratory flow (PIF) were determined one day before, and after the supplementation period. Participants underwent a treadmill-based exercise test with metabolic gas analysis and ventilation measurement using the Bruce protocol. RESULTS: The FVC (4.57 +/- 0.90 vs. 4.79 +/- 0.84; p < 0.001), PEF (8.50 +/- 0.94 vs. 8.87 +/- 0.92; p < 0.01), and PIF (5.71 +/- 1.16 vs. 6.58 +/-1.08; p < 0.005) significantly changed after ten days of supplementation. Exercise performance evaluated by time to exhaustion (664.5 +/- 114.2 vs. 830.2 +/- 129.8 s), work (78.34 +/-32.84 vs. 118.7 +/- 47.38 KJ), and power (114.3 +/- 24.24 vs. 139.4 +/- 27.80 KW) significantly increased (p < 0.001). In addition, the results of respiratory gas analysis exhibited significant differences in VO2 (2.74 +/- 0.40 vs. 3.03 +/- 0.351 L/min; p < 0.001), and VCO2 (3.08 +/- 0.47 vs. 3.73 +/- 0.518 L/min; p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The results of the experiment support the effectiveness of peppermint essential oil on the exercise performance, gas analysis, spirometry parameters, blood pressure, and respiratory rate in the young male students. Relaxation of bronchial smooth muscles, increase in the ventilation and brain oxygen concentration, and decrease in the blood lactate level are the most plausible explanations.

Concepts: Asthma, Atherosclerosis, Respiratory physiology, Medical signs, Spirometry, Exercise physiology, Vital capacity, Peak flow meter


There is strong diurnal variation in the symptoms and severity of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, disruption of the circadian clock is an aggravating factor associated with a range of human inflammatory diseases. To investigate mechanistic links between the biological clock and pathways underlying inflammatory arthritis, mice were administered collagen (or saline as a control) to induce arthritis. The treatment provoked an inflammatory response within the limbs, which showed robust daily variation in paw swelling and inflammatory cytokine expression. Inflammatory markers were significantly repressed during the dark phase. Further work demonstrated an active molecular clock within the inflamed limbs and highlighted the resident inflammatory cells, fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs), as a potential source of the rhythmic inflammatory signal. Exposure of mice to constant light disrupted the clock in peripheral tissues, causing loss of the nighttime repression of local inflammation. Finally, the results show that the core clock proteins CRYPTOCHROMES 1 and 2 repressed inflammation within the FLSs, and provide novel evidence that a CRYPTOCHROME activator has anti-inflammatory properties in human cells. We conclude that under chronic inflammatory conditions, the clock actively represses inflammatory pathways during the dark phase. This interaction has exciting potential as a therapeutic avenue for treatment of inflammatory disease.-Hand, L. E., Hopwood, T. W., Dickson, S. H., Walker, A. L., Loudon, A. S. I., Ray D. W., Bechtold, D. A., Gibbs, J. E. The circadian clock regulates inflammatory arthritis.

Concepts: Inflammation, Interleukin 1, Asthma, Rheumatoid arthritis, Vasculitis, Anti-inflammatory, Circadian rhythm, C-reactive protein


Background Many patients with severe asthma rely on oral glucocorticoids to manage their disease. We investigated whether benralizumab, a monoclonal antibody directed against the alpha subunit of the interleukin-5 receptor that significantly reduces the incidence of asthma exacerbations, was also effective as an oral glucocorticoid-sparing therapy in patients relying on oral glucocorticoids to manage severe asthma associated with eosinophilia. Methods In a 28-week randomized, controlled trial, we assessed the effects of benralizumab (at a dose of 30 mg administered subcutaneously either every 4 weeks or every 8 weeks [with the first three doses administered every 4 weeks]) versus placebo on the reduction in the oral glucocorticoid dose while asthma control was maintained in adult patients with severe asthma. The primary end point was the percentage change in the oral glucocorticoid dose from baseline to week 28. Annual asthma exacerbation rates, lung function, symptoms, and safety were assessed. Results Of 369 patients enrolled, 220 underwent randomization and started receiving benralizumab or placebo. The two benralizumab dosing regimens significantly reduced the median final oral glucocorticoid doses from baseline by 75%, as compared with a reduction of 25% in the oral glucocorticoid doses in the placebo group (P<0.001 for both comparisons). The odds of a reduction in the oral glucocorticoid dose were more than 4 times as high with benralizumab as with placebo. Among the secondary outcomes, benralizumab administered every 4 weeks resulted in an annual exacerbation rate that was 55% lower than the rate with placebo (marginal rate, 0.83 vs. 1.83, P=0.003), and benralizumab administered every 8 weeks resulted in an annual exacerbation rate that was 70% lower than the rate with placebo (marginal rate, 0.54 vs. 1.83, P<0.001). At 28 weeks, there was no significant effect of either benralizumab regimen on the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), as compared with placebo. The effects on various measures of asthma symptoms were mixed, with some showing significant changes in favor of benralizumab and others not showing significant changes. Frequencies of adverse events were similar between each benralizumab group and the placebo group. Conclusions Benralizumab showed significant, clinically relevant benefits, as compared with placebo, on oral glucocorticoid use and exacerbation rates. These effects occurred without a sustained effect on the FEV1. (Funded by AstraZeneca; ZONDA number, NCT02075255 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Clinical trial, Asthma, Respiratory physiology, Effectiveness, Dose, Glucocorticoid, Spirometry


To the Editor: Changing patterns of allergic sensitization to pollens have been noted around the world among schoolchildren. We report one associated with unusual winter allergic symptoms in Switzerland. Our group has gathered information on allergic symptoms and serologic findings among 15-year-olds attending school in Grabs, a village in eastern Switzerland,(1) from 1983 through 2007.(2) We measured IgE antibodies to 103 molecular allergens (using ImmunoCAP ISAC) in serum samples obtained from 54 students in 1986 and from 46 students in 2006.(3) In 2010, we retested 12 of the former students (then 39 years old) who in 1986 had had positive . . .

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Asthma, Immunology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Ragweed, October 12