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Journal: Multidisciplinary respiratory medicine


BACKGROUND: Sarcoidosis is a systemic disease characterized by the formation of noncaseating granulomas in various tissues. Cutaneous involvement occurs in 20 to 35 percent of the patients and may be the initial manifestation of the disease. Our study was performed to discriminate the clinical, laboratory, and prognostic differences between patients with specific and nonspecific cutaneous involvement. The second aim was to asses the diagnostic usefulness of punch biopsy in sarcoidosis. METHODS: The clinical, laboratory, pathological features, and skin biopsy results of 120 patients with cutaneous sarcoidosis were evaluated. The patients fulfilled clinical, radiologic or both features of sarcoidosis supported by the histopathologic evidence of noncaseating granulomas.Skin involvement was the initial finding in 30% of the patients. Erythema nodosum and lupus pernio were the most common skin lesions. Almost all of the patients with LP were either stage 0 or 1. Respiratory symptoms occurred in 72.2% of the patients with specific skin involvement. BronchoalveolarLavage (BAL) lymphocytosis, high ratio of CD4/CD8 and elevated serum Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) were more frequent in patients with specific cutaneous lesions. The frequency of progressive disease was significantly higher in this group. Punch skin biopsy was diagnostic in 81.6% of the patients with a complication rate of 4%. CONCLUSIONS: Specific cutaneous lesions along with BAL lymphocytosis, high CD4/CD8 ratio and elevated serum ACE levels may be predictors of progressive disease in sarcoidosis. Punch biopsy is a simple technique with a high diagnostic yield and a low complication rate for cutaneous sarcoidosis.

Concepts: Medical terms, Biopsy, Pathology, Sarcoidosis, Granuloma, Skin biopsy, Erythema nodosum, Lupus pernio


The present study was initiated to investigate the effectiveness, safety and tolerability of complex homeopathic CalSuli-4-02 tablets on prevention of recurrent acute upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) in children, in comparison to another complex homeopathic product.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Respiratory system, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Upper respiratory tract, Upper respiratory tract infection, Lower respiratory tract


Asthma is a disease with high cost for the National Health Service. Two of the most recent LABA/ICS combinations for persistent bronchial asthma are Beclomethasone dipropionate/Formoterol (B/F) delivered via the Nexthaler device and Fluticasone furoate/Vilanterol (F/V) delivered via the Ellipta device. No comparison has been carried out yet in terms of cost analysis in asthma, to our knowledge. Aim of the present monocentric, observational, retrospective study was to calculate and compare the costs of mild-to-moderate asthma patients assuming B/F 100/6 μg b.i.d. to those of patients assuming F/V 92/22 μg once-a-day over a 12-week treatment period from the Italian National Health Service perspective.

Concepts: Asthma, Salbutamol


The effectiveness of a homeopathic syrup on cough has been demonstrated in an adult population in a previous double-blind randomized study. The present prospective observational study investigated children affected by wet acute cough caused by non-complicated URTIs, comparing those who received the homeopathic syrup versus those treated with the homeopathic syrup plus antibiotic.

Concepts: Present, Medicine, Effect, Randomized controlled trial, Observational study, Effectiveness, Affect, Symptomatic treatment


The major changes to our world are those involving the atmosphere and the climate, including global warming induced by anthropogenic factors, with impact on the biosphere and human environment. Studies on the effects of climate changes on respiratory allergy are still lacking and current knowledge is provided by epidemiological and experimental studies on the relationship between allergic respiratory diseases, asthma and environmental factors, like meteorological variables, airborne allergens and air pollution. Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that urbanization, high levels of vehicle emissions and westernized lifestyle are correlated with an increased frequency of respiratory allergy, mainly in people who live in urban areas in comparison with people living in rural areas. However, it is not easy to evaluate the impact of climate changes and air pollution on the prevalence of asthma in general and on the timing of asthma exacerbations, although the global rise in asthma prevalence and severity could be also considered an effect of air pollution and climate changes. Since airborne allergens and air pollutants are frequently increased contemporaneously in the atmosphere, enhanced IgE-mediated response to aeroallergens and enhanced airway inflammation could account for the increasing frequency of respiratory allergy and asthma in atopic subjects in the last five decades. Pollen allergy is frequently used to study the interrelationship between air pollution and respiratory allergic diseases such as rhinitis and bronchial asthma. Climatic factors (temperature, wind speed, humidity, thunderstorms, etc) can affect both components (biological and chemical) of this interaction. Scientific societies should be involved in advocacy activities, such as those realized by the Global Alliance against chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD).

Concepts: Immune system, Epidemiology, Asthma, Climate, Allergy, Atopy, Climate change, Global warming


Homeopathic medicine is a branch of integrative medicine that has been gaining increasing popularity. However, its clinical application remains controversial. To improve the understanding of homeopathy, observational studies-which monitor the effects of homeopathy in real-life clinical settings-are a helpful adjunct to randomized controlled trials. The goal of this controlled observational study was to investigate the role of the homeopathic medicine in preventing respiratory tract infections (RTIs).

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Clinical research, Placebo, Alternative medicine, Homeopathy, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Edzard Ernst


The prevalence of asthma and allergic diseases has increased dramatically during the past few decades not only in industrialized countries. Urban air pollution from motor vehicles has been indicated as one of the major risk factors responsible for this increase.Although genetic factors are important in the development of asthma and allergic diseases, the rising trend can be explained only in changes occurred in the environment. Despite some differences in the air pollution profile and decreasing trends of some key air pollutants, air quality is an important concern for public health in the cities throughout the world.Due to climate change, air pollution patterns are changing in several urbanized areas of the world, with a significant effect on respiratory health.The observational evidence indicates that recent regional changes in climate, particularly temperature increases, have already affected a diverse set of physical and biological systems in many parts of the world. Associations between thunderstorms and asthma morbidity in pollinosis subjects have been also identified in multiple locations around the world.Allergens patterns are also changing in response to climate change and air pollution can modify the allergenic potential of pollens especially in presence of specific weather conditions.The underlying mechanisms of all these interactions are not well known yet. The consequences on health vary from decreases in lung function to allergic diseases, new onset of diseases, and exacerbation of chronic respiratory diseases.Factor clouding the issue is that laboratory evaluations do not reflect what happens during natural exposition, when atmospheric pollution mixtures in polluted cities are inhaled. In addition, it is important to recall that an individual’s response to pollution exposure depends on the source and components of air pollution, as well as meteorological conditions. Indeed, some air pollution-related incidents with asthma aggravation do not depend only on the increased production of air pollution, but rather on atmospheric factors that favour the accumulation of air pollutants at ground level.Considering these aspects governments worldwide and international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the European Union are facing a growing problem of the respiratory effects induced by gaseous and particulate pollutants arising from motor vehicle emissions.

Concepts: Asthma, Particulate, Smog, Environmentalism, Air pollution, Acid rain, Cruise ship pollution, Air Quality Index


Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are a leading cause of morbidity and also represent a cause of death in some parts of the world. The treatment of RTIs implies a continuous search for stronger therapies and represents an economical burden for health services and society. In this context the prevention of infections is absolutely required.The use of bacterial lysates as immuno-modulators to boost immunological response is widely debated. Aim of this review is to summarize the main clinical studies on the effect of the bacterial lysate OM-85 in treating RTIs in susceptible subjects - namely children and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-affected adults. Results from clinical trials and recent systematic reviews are reported.The results show that mean number of RTIs decreases upon treatment with OM-85, as measured by frequency of exacerbations or number of antibiotic courses. Data from systematic reviews indicated that OM-85 is particularly beneficial in children at high risk of RTIs. In COPD-affected adults, clinical studies showed that treatment with OM-85 reduced exacerbations, although systematic reviews did not legitimate the protective effect of OM-85 toward COPD as significant.The use of OM-85 could be efficacious in reducing exacerbation frequency of RTIs in children and adults at risk. However further high-quality studies are needed to better explain the mechanism of action and confirm the beneficial results of OM85.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Clinical trial, Bacteria, Asthma, Effectiveness, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Pharmaceutical industry


Corona viruses cause common cold, and infections caused by corona viruses are generally self-resolving. During the last 4 years, corona viruses have become the most important viruses worldwide because of the occurrence of several recent deaths caused by corona viruses in Saudi Arabia. Spread of the infection occurred worldwide; however, most cases of mortality have occurred in the Middle East. Owing to the predominance of outbreaks in the Middle Eastern countries, the virus was renamed a Middle East respiratory syndrome corona virus (MERS-CoV) by the Corona virus Study Group. The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention and World Health Organization maintain a website that is updated frequently with new cases of MERS-CoV infection. In this review, we describe the history and epidemiology of this novel virus. Studies of the genetics and molecular mechanisms of this virus are expected to facilitate the development of vaccines in the future.

Concepts: Virus, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, United Arab Emirates, Middle East, Jordan, Arabic language


Guaifenesin, a mucoactive drug, acts by loosening mucus in the airways and making coughs more productive. It is used for relief of wet cough and chest congestion due to the common cold, and remains the only legally marketed expectorant in the US (per OTC Monograph). An ingredient in numerous over-the-counter (OTC) cough/cold medications, guaifenesin has a secondary indication for use in stable chronic bronchitis (professional indication). Clinical pharmacology and patient studies support the clinical utility of guaifenesin in respiratory conditions where mucus hypersecretion is prevalent: acute upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), stable chronic bronchitis, and possibly rhinosinusitis. Guaifenesin has a well-established and favorable safety and tolerability profile in adult and pediatric populations. Its dosing range (200-400 mg 4-hourly, up to 6× daily) allows flexible dose titration to allow an increase of plasma concentrations. Multiple daily doses are needed to maintain 24-h therapeutic effect with immediate-release formulations. Extended-release guaifenesin tablet formulations are available, providing convenience with 12-hourly dosing and portability compared to liquids. Guaifenesin is considered as a safe and effective expectorant for the treatment of mucus-related symptoms in acute URTIs and stable chronic bronchitis. Its clinical efficacy has been demonstrated most widely in chronic respiratory conditions, where excess mucus production and cough are more stable symptoms. Progress is being made to establish clinical models and measures that are more appropriate for studying symptomatic relief with guaifenesin in acute respiratory infections. This will help generate the up-to-date and high-quality data needed to optimize guaifenesin’s effectiveness in established uses, and in new respiratory indications associated with mucus hypersecretion.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Asthma, Cough, Effectiveness, Influenza, Respiratory system, Mucus, Upper respiratory tract infection