Respiratory News

DNA tests on some store-brand herbal supplements showed that nearly four out of five didn’t have the ingredients listed on the labels, and a large number didn’t have a botanical substance of any kind, according to findings from the New York State Attor- ney General’s office. GNC, Target, WalMart and Walgreens were asked to stop  the  sale of certain popular products, including Echinacea, Ginseng, St. John’s Wort and others. Overall, 390 tests involving 78 samples were performed. GNC and other groups criticized the testing methods but will comply with the order.image415

To prepare the nation against a possi- ble anthrax attack, the United States De- partment of Health and Human Services’ purchased Anthrasil in 2011 to treat patients who have been exposed to anthrax. When inhaled, the anthrax bacteria repro- duce in the body and produce toxins that can cause massive and irreversible tissue injury and death. Anthrasil is now approved by the FDA so treatment can begin as soon as possible.

A therapy in development in the Neth- erlands called “targeted lung denervation” may be a future long-lasting treatment option for people with COPD if results from a first-in-human study are duplicated and validated. It involves the nerves in your lung that release acetylcholine which causes your airways to constrict. This therapy has a catheter desensitizing these nerves during a bronchoscopy. The research information was presented in a recent issue of Thorax.

A new study in Thorax finds COPD patients whose oxygen levels are slight-  ly below normal, may still benefit from oxygen therapy. Overall, continuous oxygen therapy reduced shortness of breath, but short-burst oxygen therapy had no effect. The researchers call for larger clinical trials to confirm these findings.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, and four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Be careful out there! A new article published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology notes marijuana, like other pollen-bearing plants, is an allergen which can cause allergic responses. Canna- bis pollen or cannabis smoke exposure has resulted in symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever), conjunctivitis and asthma.

The medication Roflumilast (Daliresp) is used to decrease the frequency of flare-ups or worsening of symptoms in severe COPD. Researchers published data in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that showed the drug may become less effective over time as you may develop a tolerance for the medication. The scientists found the drug roflumilast increases the production of a protein that causes inflammation. They compared the reaction to a fire extinguisher that puts out a fire but at the same time adds gasoline to the flames.