Bacteria Going Away, Asthma on the Rise...

Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that naturally exists in our stomachs, is on the decline in people, but now asthma is on the rise—are they related? Dr. Martin Blaser M.D., chairman of medicine and microbiology professor at New York University, thinks so. Via NPR:
Several years ago, researchers proposed the provocative idea that bacteria living in the human stomach could be responsible for the development of some stomach ulcers — and the doctors found that treating those bacteria, H. pylori, with antibiotics could reduce ulcer risk. New research suggests, however, that those bacteria may not be all bad — they could help prevent the development of childhood asthma.

Writing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, the scientists report that children between the ages of 3 and 13 are nearly 59 percent less likely to have asthma if they have the bacterium in their gut. The children were also 40 percent less likely to have hay fever and associated allergies such as eczema and rash.

The cause for the link isn't exactly clear, though the researchers believe that people with the bacteria have more immune cells called regulatory T cells. They say the surplus cells prevent the immune system from overreacting to allergens, which can trigger asthma and allergies like hay fever.
Here’s some of the abstract to Dr. Blaser’s study from The Journal of Infectious Disease. Take a look:
Methods: We conducted cross-sectional analyses, using data from 7412 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2000, to assess the association between H. pylori and childhood asthma.

Conclusions: This study is the first to report an inverse association between H. pylori seropositivity and asthma in children. The findings indicate new directions for research and asthma prevention.
Perhaps all these antibiotics we’re shoveling down our throats are REALLY working against us. Again, Dr. Blaser thinks this might be the case. For more, check out the audio to the NPR report: Stomach Bacteria Could Prevent Asthma.

Kids: Nebulization Ups Cardiac Injury Risk

Albuterol nebulization often used to treat acute asthma attacks has been shown to increase cardiac risks in children. Via Family Practice News:
The team speculated that myocardial injury may be due to excessive stimulation of β receptors, perhaps in combination with genetic predisposition to myocardial injury associated with that mechanism.

“We recommend that children receiving continuous albuterol nebulization (10–15 mg/hr or more) for more than 2 hours be closely monitored for evidence of myocardial injury and diastolic hypotension,” Dr. Fagbuyi Dr. Daniel Fagbuyi, a fellow in pediatric emergency medicine said during his oral presentation.

In response to questions from the audience, he acknowledged that much thought went into using the term “myocardial injury” to describe the effect of elevated ST segments or troponin elevations.

“We expected scientists would question whether our measurements reflected true myocardial injury, but our data clearly show that caution is appropriate when using continuous nebulized albuterol,” he said.

A careful review of the literature contains sufficient evidence that those markers correlated with actual myocardial injury, even in children, he added.

The clinical relevance of the findings and their potential contributions to long-term sequelae remain under study in the pediatric population, Dr. Fagbuyi said.
For more asthma news, don’t forget about Followhealthlife’s asthma category.