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Friday’s COPD Newsletter from COPD Support, Inc.

Posted Feb 05 2011 6:07pm

newspaper12
Volume 11, Issue 5
February 4 2011
Richard D. Martin, Editor

According to researchers in Australia, “[V]itamin D deficiency has now been shown to alter lung structure and function in young mice.” Although the deficiency of vitamin D has been linked in the past to the severity of COPD, this is the first time the deficiency has been shown to affect the structure of the lungs.

The results of a study appearing in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine demonstrates that lung growth and development can alter because of vitamin D deficiency. The study’s purpose was to determine how vitamin D affects lung development and functions. What the researchers find is that with a vitamin D deficiency, airway resistance is greater, and lung volume is lower. The study was done with mice. The investigators also suggest that a mother’s vitamin D deficiency might result in offspring having smaller lungs, however, they are not ruling out the possibility the offspring’s own vitamin D deficiency might instead be the cause.
http://tinyurl.com/4ktxrf9

Earlier Studies on Vitamin D and COPD

There has been much written about vitamin D deficiency. According to Thorax, the International Journal of Respiratory Medicine, a large number of people with COPD suffer from vitamin D deficiency, and vitamin D deficiency seems to be involved in a large number of chronic illnesses. The degree of deficiency even correlates with the severity of COPD.
http://tinyurl.com/4vgyofd

Some studies indicate that vitamin D could decrease the enzyme that leads to lung damage. For a good discussion of the relationship between lung function and vitamin D, see this Science News report at http://tinyurl.com/bbmf9w

Studies have shown that people with vitamin D deficiency are at greater risk of respiratory infections. The deficiency has also been linked to the overall health of our immune system. This Scientific American article provides an easy-to-read explanation http://tinyurl.com/49×2mv4

Proper Dosages

Because vitamin D is involved in many processes, including bone health, the optimal dosage for you is best determined by consulting with your physician. At the end of 2010, the Institute of Medicine increased the recommended daily amount of vitamin D to 600 IU (international units) for adults (800 IU if over age 70). It now has an upper limit of 4,000 IU. This Mayo Clinic article provides a good explanation of the new recommended dosages http://tinyurl.com/2739pgl
If you want to see the Institute of Medicine’s chart, see http://tinyurl.com/2ct96l4

- POTENTIAL NEW THERAPIES FOR COPD AND ASTHMA
- BREAKTHROUGH IN UNDERSTANDING HEREDITARY EMPHYSEMA
- FDA GRANTS OKAY FOR OTC ALLERGY DRUG ALLEGRA
- CAN YOUR FINGERNAILS SHOW LUNG DISEASE?
- YOGA MAY BOOST HEALTH
- BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM CONTEST SEEKS COPD SONGS
- COPD SPELLS TROUBLE IN MI PATIENTS
- HEPA FILTERS FOR WOOD BURNING STOVES
- BLOOD SUGAR METERS MAY GIVE INACCURATE READINGS

ANCIENT BODY CLOCK KEEPS ALL LIFE ON TIME
RED SQUARE TEST
VOCABULARY GAMES
TIPS FOR ONLINE SHOPPING

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SOURCES: News items summarized in The COPD-NEWS are taken from secondary sources believed to be reliable. However, the COPD Family of Services does not verify their accuracy.
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Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston announce they have found an enzyme (called aldose reductase) that functions as a “master switch” that governs production of excess mucus that clogs the airways of people with asthma and COPD. This enzyme is implicated in a wide range of inflammatory disorders. The next step is to find safe medications that inhibit this enzyme. The usually long process of developing a new medication will probably be shortened, because this specific enzyme inhibitor is already in phase III clinical trials for treatment of diabetic neuropathy. The UTMB study can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/4gf75j6

Ireland’s Royal College of Surgeons makes a breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms behind “inherited emphysema.” This inherited form of emphysema is called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD). Because of the inherited condition, the liver fails to produce sufficient amounts of a protein that travels to the lungs to protect them from damage. In individuals with this condition, excessive amounts of white blood cells cause inflammation and lung disease. This research has uncovered the mechanisms behind the invasion of the white blood cells. Eventually, this better understanding of the mechanisms involved may lead to more successful treatment not only for those with AATD, but also for individuals whose COPD is not caused by this hereditary condition. For this study, see this Science Daily report at http://tinyurl.com/4b2mu38

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the prescription medication Allegra (fexofenadine) for sale as an over-the-counter drug. This antihistamine should be available in March, 2011. Before using this drug, be sure to get your doctor’s okay, as adverse effects include upper respiratory infections. For more information, see the MedPageToday report at http://tinyurl.com/4tbxf3a

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COMMERCIAL FREE: We do not accept any paid advertising. Any corporations, products, medicines (prescription or over the counter) mentioned in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and not to be construed as an endorsement or condemnation of same.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, your fingernails can reveal much about your health. Fingernail “clubbing,” the third of seven types of nail disorders described in this Mayo Clinic article, may indicate insufficient oxygen. For more information, see http://tinyurl.com/46svgzy

If you are old enough, you’ll remember when yoga was as exotic as eating yogurt or wearing “earth shoes.” Now the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has weighed in. According to a new NIH article, research supports the belief that yoga is beneficial to people who are dealing with a wide range of health problemseverything from anxiety and depression to obesity. The NIH article can be found at http://tinyurl.com/4jvlozj

Can’t get down on all fours onto your yoga mat for fear you won’t be able to get back up? There are yoga exercises you can do from a seated position. Below are a couple of sites that might get you started. No endorsement is intended, and check with your doctor first http://tinyurl.com/4v3yvld
Here is just one commercial site that offers instructional materials http://tinyurl.com/4a98qrk

Yes, you read the above correctly. The drug company Boehringer Ingelheim is partnering with the Country Music Association to solicit motivational songs about COPD. The winner will perform at the Country Music Association’s music festival in June. For more information, see http://tinyurl.com/4aqro2b

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MEDICAL DECISIONS. Your physician should be consulted on all medical decisions. New procedures or drugs should not be started or stopped without such consultation. While we believe that our accumulated experience has value, and a unique perspective, you must accept it for what it is… the work of COPD patients. We vigorously encourage individuals with COPD to take an active part in the management of their disease. They do this through education and by sharing information and thoughts with their primary physician and pulmonologist. However, medical decisions are based on complex medical principles and should be left to the medical practitioner who has been trained to diagnose and advise.
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People with COPD do not fare well if they have MI (myocardial infarction), an interruption of blood supply to part of the heart. According to Internal Medicine News, COPD is a “powerful risk factor” for in-hospital mortality for patients with MI, because COPD often leads to pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular dysfunction. Scary? Yes. But once again, this study reminds us of the importance to pay attention to our heart health. The study can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/4mtrchp

Canadian researchers placed HEPA filters (high efficiency particulate air filters) in the homes of people with wood burning stoves. They found that the filters, “reduced levels of airborne particulate matter, resulting in improved blood vessel health and reductions in blood markers associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”
http://tinyurl.com/46ocr5q
For an article on the negative health and environmental effects of burning wood, see this Washington State Department of Ecology report http://tinyurl.com/22pembf

Okay, the only connection this has to COPD is that a number of us with COPD also have diabetes, or we know someone who does. The National Institutes of Health reports that blood glucose monitors may be off by 16 percent, according to a study conducted on women with diabetes (mostly gestational). For the report, see http://tinyurl.com/48fl3lx

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JOIN US? Subscription to this Newsletter is free and we hope that it serves your needs. For more Newsletter information, go to: http://copd-support.com/signup-news.html

The Newsletter, like all the other endeavors of the Family of COPD Support Programs , is provided to you by COPD-Support, Inc. a non-profit member organization with IRS designation 501(c)(3). If you would like to be involved and help us provide these programs to the individuals who benefit from them, please consider joining us as a member. Further information is available at: http://copd-support.com/membership.html
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ANCIENT BODY CLOCK KEEPS ALL LIFE ON TIME

This may sound like science fiction, but it is not! Scientists have identified the mechanism for the 24-hour clock in all forms of life, from humans to algae. The clock, called the circadian rhythm (or clock) seems to be build into all cells, even those without DNA, such as red blood cells. For more mind-boggling information, see http://tinyurl.com/5wqgwr6

RED SQUARE TEST

No, there is nothing Russian about this test. It is a simple, fun, but sometimes frustrating game. You’ll find at http://tinyurl.com/56t9u

VOCABULARY GAMES

Keep your mind quick and agile, and your tongue sharp with these word games. Here are some fun ones http://tinyurl.com/49vf9lf

TIPS FOR ONLINE SHOPPING

Pickpockets have moved from the streets to the Internet, and as on-line shopping increases, so do the number of people and websites that are ready to steal your money or identity. Here are some good safety shopping tips from CNET News http://tinyurl.com/34cpk6t

For comments and questions, or to contact Richard D. Martin, please send your email to: newsletter@COPD-Support.com

Until next Friday,

Richard D. Martin, Editor


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