ELECTRONIC NOSE SNIFFS OUT ASTHMA New evidence shows that an “electronic nose” containing an array of gas sensors may have the ability to identify asthma in patients. Researchers from Italy compared the diagnostic performance of the electronic nose with lung function tests and fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) in seven patients with asthma and seven healthy subjects. For each person, the electronic nose analysis was performed on total exhaled air and alveolar air. Results showed that the diagnostic performance for the electronic nose, FENO, and lung function testing was 87.5 percent, 79.2 percent, and 70.8 percent, respectively. Overall, the electronic nose analysis obtained the best results when performed on alveolar air and in combination with FENO. Researchers conclude that the electronic nose discriminates between patients with asthma and healthy patients, with increased diagnostic performance when combined with FENO. This article is published in the April issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: CHEST 2010; 137(4):790.
ORAL VACCINE MAY REDUCE EXACERBATIONS IN PATIENTS WITH COPD
A novel vaccine may help reduce the number and severity of exacerbations in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Australian researchers developed a new oral immunotherapy (HI-164OV) using Haemophilus influenzae, the bacteria causing meningitis in children. In a randomized, multicenter, double blind, placebo-controlled trial, researchers tested the efficacy of the new vaccine and its effects on outcomes in 38 patients with severe COPD. Results showed significant reductions in the areas of moderate to severe exacerbations (63 percent reduction), mean duration of episode (37 percent reduction), prescribed antibiotics (56 percent reduction), and exacerbations requiring hospital admission (90 percent reduction). No specific adverse effect was detected. Researchers conclude that the vaccine shows potential in improving the health of patients with COPD. The article is published in the April issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: CHEST 2010; 137(4):805.
LINK BETWEEN ACID REFLUX AND SLEEP APNEA CHALLENGED
New research suggests that a causal link between gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may not exist. Researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin studied the sleep events of nine patients with GER without OSA, six patients with OSA without GER, 11 patients with OSA and GER, and 15 control subjects. Although GER is thought to be induced by decreasing intraesophageal pressure during OSA, study results showed that esophageal pressures progressively increased during OSA. The incidence of GER during sleep in patients with OSA and GER did not differ from the remaining three groups. Researchers speculate that OSA may not induce GER or other reflux events. This study is published in the April issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians: CHEST 2010; 137(4):769.