We’ve all heard the old adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Some of us believe this, and some of us don’t. Some of us tell ourselves this for encouragement during trying times, and others consider it a platitude when they hear it. But is it true? Do we really grow from dealing with adversities? Certainly, it would be reassuring to believe we grow mentally stronger each time we deal with challengesbe those challenges related to our COPD or other obstacles we encounter in life. For one of the first times, researchers have put this common belief to the test. They were determined to find out if the statement, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is true or not.
From the University of Buffalo, comes a study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) on their website APA PsycNET. The study reports the results of a national survey of close to 2,400 people. The researchers find that, “people with a history of some lifetime adversity reported better mental health and well-being outcomes than not only people with a high history of adversity but also (better) than people with no history of adversity.” This finding is interpreted by most as confirming the truth of the saying. However, the study also finds there is a point at which too much adversity can result in a decline in mental health. How much adversity is too much adversity? They don’t say. Perhaps it is too difficult to measure. Then again, maybe it depends on the individual and their personal strength. When it comes to personal strength, some people, as you will soon see, constantly raise the bar, and in doing so are able to inspire others.
A good article based on the research can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2cghwax
Although there is a charge for a copy of the study, the APA PsycNET abstract of the study is free and can be found at http://tinyurl.com/29puyca
This recent post on the COPD-Support board speaks for itself. It comes from Roger in Florida, a longtime contributor and chat host. It is used with his permission:
As my cancer is in my throat and remaining lung, liver and bone marrow, there is no hope of stopping it. So I’ll just keep fighting back until the end comes.
Considering how I’ve beat the odds in the past, when I was first diagnosed with end stage COPD, I was given 6 months to live. It’s now 14 years later. When they found the cancer in my right lung and removed it, I was given approximately 1 year to live. Thatwas 6 or almost 7 years ago. I can’t give up now. I’ve been beating the odds for so long maybe I can do it again.
Please tell my story to anyone you like, but most of all, tell it to any new people in the group. It is my hope that my story will allay some of their fears and let them know that COPD is not the immediate end they think it is. I’m 69 years old, still drive daily, cook for myself, as necessary, when my wife is working, and still fighting back!!
Perhaps Roger inadvertently gave away one of his secretseven in the midst of dealing with his own tremendous adversities, he remains concerned about the well-being of others. Thank you, Roger.
- TASTE BUD RECEPTORS IN THE LUNGS
Yes, you read the headline correctly. There are receptors in the lungs that react to bitter substances. Because bitter tastes are often toxic, the taste buds in our mouths react by causing us to expel potentially dangerous substances. Researchers from the University of Maryland in Baltimore, in their online journal Natural Medicine, report also finding these taste receptors in the smooth muscles and airways of our lungs. Although they expected to find that bitter substances in the lungs would cause airway constriction and coughing as a way to expel the potential toxins, they instead discovered that quite the opposite is truebitter substances opened up airways! What is exciting about their discovery is that the bitter compounds, “all opened the airways more profoundly than any known drug that we have for treatment of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” according to researcher Dr. Stephen B. Liggett. This important discovery opens the doors to potentially new, more effective treatments for both asthma and COPD. This Washington Post article gets into more detail http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/24/AR2010102401383.html
The abstract of this study (you must register and pay for the full report) is available at http://tinyurl.com/2g8dnrw
GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis have been competing over who will be first to get the next-generation drug for the treatment of COPD on the market. GlaxoSmithKline now says that it will get its new drug Relovair to the market first. Glaxo intends to replace their widely popular Advair with the newer Relovair, and anticipates this will be accomplished before Novartis releases their next-generation drug. This comes about because Novartis now says that its once-daily QMF149 application will not be filed until 2014. The delay, they explain, is due to the need to switch their delivery system. To read more about this race, and these drugs, see Reuters’ report at http://tinyurl.com/286p7y8
The New York Times reports GlaxoSmithKline agrees to a $750 million fine to settle both criminal and civil complaints against the company for the sale of bad products. It is alleged that the company knowingly sold contaminated baby oil and ineffective antidepressants. Altogether, 20 drugs with “questionable safety” were involved. They were all made in a plant located in Puerto Rico that was reportedly rife with contamination. Some of the drugs affected were Avandia, Bactroban, Coreg, Paxil and Tagamet, although there is no documentation of any user becoming sick. To read the article visit http://tinyurl.com/25yk3nf
A new Tasmanian study published online by the BMJ (British Medical Journal) claims that changing the way paramedics administer O2 (oxygen) to people with COPD can reduce deaths by an astounding 78 percent! They found that controlling the amount of O2 given to patients, rather than using a standard high dose, decreases the chance of CO2 (carbon dioxide) buildup. Decreasing CO2 buildup results in increased survival rates for people with COPD. This Science Alert article explains it all http://tinyurl.com/28bdd55
Tampa Bay Online reminds us to be sure we get the following vaccines: influenza, pneumonia, whooping cough, and shingles. For an elaboration, see http://tinyurl.com/28gr3q7
Based on the scientific analysis of factors including pollen scores, number of allergy medications used per patient and number of board certified allergists per patient, Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, has released their list of the worst places to live if you have fall allergies. Dayton Ohio, Wichita Kansas, and Louisville Kentucky are the top three. For their ranking, discussion of allergies, and links to other web sites (including commercial websites), see http://tinyurl.com/2fdem4j
This pilot study, discussed on the 7th Space website, looks at using pulse oximeter readings to differentiate COPD exacerbations from the regular day-to-day fluctuations. Researchers are able to identify patterns of pulse oximeter readings that might help identify early signs of an exacerbation (flare-up), and hence facilitate treatment more promptly. Don’t reach for your pulse oximeter just yet; their findings are not something we can use immediately to self-assess our condition. Please see http://tinyurl.com/22nm57s
We’ve all heard that air pollution can cause COPD or make our condition worse (to which many of us can testify), but much of what we know is based on studies of high levels of air pollution. This new study from Denmark is different. It shows that even low levels of traffic-related air pollution can lead to the development of COPD. This article explains the findings http://tinyurl.com/2bxwmmx
If you insist on reading the abstract of this study (membership is needed to access the full report) see the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine at http://tinyurl.com/2bxwmmx
A recent study finds that Prolastin-C, a more purified and concentrated form of Prolastin, is as effective as Prolastin in raising levels of alpha-1 protein in people with AATD (alph 1-antitrypsin deficiency). Prolastin-C, because it is more concentrated, cuts the infusion volume and infusion time in half. AATD is a genetic condition that affects the production of alpha1-antitrypsin which can result in emphysema and liver disease. A full description of this research, first published in Bio Medical Central, Clinical Pharmacology, can be found at the following PR Newswire site http://tinyurl.com/2cuvnov
If you would prefer to view the original study, you can do so at http://tinyurl.com/2cck9×2
An international team of researchers led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has led the first large-scale effort to match genetics with smoking, lung cancer and COPD combined. This Health Canal report explains that researchers are able to identify how genes affect addictive behavior and smoking amounts. According to the senior investigator Laura Jean Bierut, MD, “DNA differences on chromosome 15… made significant contributions to nicotine addiction, lung cancer and COPD.” However, she explains, “Demonstrating that all three diseases are related to smoking behavior does not prove that there is a direct, biological effect linking nicotine addiction to cancer and COPD, but you certainly can’t rule it out.” She concludes, “It’s really striking that this one gene is strongly driving addictive behavior and that it’s also related to lung cancer and COPD.” For a more thorough explanation of this rather complex research and the various studies that make up this report, please see the Health Canal article at http://www.healthcanal.com/cancers/11841-Genes-influence-how-much-people-smoke-and-who-gets-lung-cancer.html
This International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease article provides an overview of the effects of using inhaled corticosteroids, specifically fluticasone and budesonide. The authors of this study compare the use of a corticosteroid taken with a long-acting beta-agonist (a combination not unlike Advair) against just taking a long-acting beta-agonist alone. They find that those who take a corticosteroid along with the beta-agonist have a modest benefit in decreasing exacerbations (flare-ups). They also find that it increases their FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in one second, or less formally, the amount of air you can force out in one second), and improves quality of life measurements. Although they find no cardiovascular effects from inhaled corticosteroids, they do find an increased risk of pneumonia. The full study can be downloaded at the bottom of the condensed report you will find at http://tinyurl.com/2bd9enh
Japanese researchers find that a nebulized form of tiotropium (brand name Spiriva) benefits patients with advanced COPD who are unable to use tiotropium in a handihaler. A nebulized form of tiotropium is unavailable commercially. You can read the abstract of their paper on The U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health’s online site PubMed, at http://tinyurl.com/23lzq8n
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ITS PUMPKIN TIME!
COMPUTER VIRUS WARNING: HERE YOU HAVE / JUST FOR YOU / HERE IT IS
HOW TO ERASE AN OLD HARD DRIVE
If you prefer written instructions, these instructions from Webopedia should help you http://tinyurl.com/2qywml
A BABY BOOMER QUIZ
INCREASING THE FONT SIZE IN YOUR EMAIL
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Until next Friday,
Richard D. Martin, Editor
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