The June 2007 issue of Chest reports 57% of "advanced" COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients tested positive for GERD. Only 1/4 of this group of 42 patients had symptoms of heartburn or indigestion. "Few" were on GERD therapy when surveyed for this study. I would hope this could help lead the way for more scientific study into this under-appreciated relationship. This highlights just how dangerous our brain percieves GERD to be. It suggests to me that our body harms itself due to the protective response generated by the reflux of digestive contents. The protective response is intended to shield the esophagus from the acid exposure but the stimulus is so intense it spills over into the lungs. While the esophagus is sucessfully protected by the command "glands make mucus, muscles squeeze down, blood vessels leak and tissues swell" the lungs are overwhelmed by the same response. What is necessary to protective the esophagus destroys the lung tissue. This is a form of "friendly fire". The protective response in the esophagus is so sucessful that the person is oblivious to the true nature of the problem. This is how treating GERD often improves asthma, sinus problems, cough and shortness of breath.