Respiratory News

Existing research suggests that approxi- mately 45 percent of all people with COPD report chronic pain as moderate to severe and located primarily in the chest, shoul- ders, neck and upper arms. Pain in and of itself is not a symptom, but often musculo- skeletal in nature and commonly associated with the work of breathing. A recent study in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease determined those with COPD need comprehensive pain management and should discuss this with their physician.

The Journal of the COPD Foundation found that study participants with severe COPD have poor dental hygiene practices, and a diminished oral health-related quality of life. In the setting of poor dental health, the greater number of teeth that a partic- ipant had correlated with worsened daily respiratory symptoms such as cough and wheeze. These findings support the idea of potentially targeting oral health to improve COPD outcomes in future trials.

A new warning about vaping published in Environmental Health Perspectives says there may be toxic levels of metals, includ- ing lead, that could be leaking from the heating coils of e-cigarettes. Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found metal traces in the aerosols inhaled by users (known as “vapers”). The FDA has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes, but has not issued any rulings on the matter so far.

Johns Hopkins investigators say they now understand the underlying biology behind pulmonary hypertension. Working with cells that line the innermost layer of the blood vessels, they discovered that a protein called KLF15 protects these cells from damage during low blood oxygen levels. KLF15 is also likely a key regulator of genes important for maintaining proper function of lung blood vessels. Investigators say they were able to genetically alter cells grown in a dish in a way to increase KLF15 and reverse the damage – restoring the cells to normal function despite exposure to low oxygen levels. The research appeared in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Regular aspirin use was associated with a more than 50 percent reduction in COPD progression according to analysis of data from a large lung study published in the journal CHEST. The association was seen across aspirin doses and was greatest in older study participants with significant airflow obstruction.

  1. influenzae is the leading bacterial cause of exacerbations of COPD. Identi- fying genetic variations within its DNA is critical for developing new methods to treat and prevent this disease. Re- search published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences sheds new light on how the bacterium adapts quickly and may help identify new therapies for those with COPD. H. influenzae also causes ear infections and pneumonia.