September 26, 2011 |
To understand the latest brouhaha about safe levels of ozone, it helps to understand the difference between science and policy. First the back story. In 2008, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Stephen Johnson, reduced the allowable level of ozone in the air from 84 parts per billion to 75 ppb. Johnson said the change would lead to cleaner air and improve public health. However, the EPA's independent advisory panel had recommended that the limit be set even lower, in the range of 60 ppb to 70 ppb. Critics, including scientists, environmental advocates and medical associations, such as the American Thoracic Society, accused Johnson and the George W. Bush administration of prioritizing the economic concerns of polluters over the interests of the general public.
May 4, 2011 |
The rise in asthma rates has researchers a bit baffled. But while they focus on figuring out the reason, people with asthma have more practical concerns: preventing and controlling asthma attacks. Data released Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show an increase in the number of Americans with asthma despite better air quality and a marked decline in smoking rates, as reported in the Los Angeles Times . Doctors don't know how to prevent asthma because it's not clear what causes the disease - it may be caused partly by genetics and partly by exposure to irritants such as pollution and tobacco smoke.
May 3, 2011 |
About one in 12 people in the United States now has asthma, a total of 24.6 million people and an increase of 4.3 million since 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. The costs of medical care for these patients increased by about 6% between 2002 and 2007, totaling $56 billion in the latter year, according to information in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report . The increases come, surprisingly, despite improved air quality throughout most of the country and widespread decreases in smoking.
November 18, 2010 |
Warning: Facebook could be hazardous to your health. So says a team of Italian physicians writing in the Nov. 20 edition of the British medical journal Lancet . They describe the case of an 18-year-old man whose asthma had been in check until he logged on to the social networking site and discovered that his ex-girlfriend had gotten over him and become Facebook friends with several other potential suitors. Apparently, the patient took the break-up rather hard, leaving him in a “depressive state,” according to the report.
May 5, 2008
We read your article [“Dust Mite Hype,” April 21] with zeal because my daughter and I both have rather strong allergies to dust mites. The publication measured patient outcomes using a hard endpoint: asthma attacks. This may be a good metric from a scientific standpoint. There are other endpoints, however, that are important to patients' quality of life, such as sleeping through the night without coughing. I can tell you from experience that thorough vacuuming and use of high-quality dust mite pillow covers makes a tremendous quality-of-life difference in our family's lives.
September 5, 2005 |
Simply mentioning words such as "wheeze" can activate the brains of asthma patients, researchers have discovered, shedding light on the emotional underpinnings of the disease. The study of six patients found that asthma patients have extra brain activity in an area called the anterior cingulate cortex, which is associated with emotional responses.