Newsbriefs from the journal CHEST, July 2006

Emphysema severity similar among races despite age differance
A new study reveals that emphysema may have a similar impact on African-Americans and Caucasians, despite African-Americans being younger and smoking less. Researchers from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, analyzed demographics, cardiopulmonary and pulmonary function, quality of life, and emphysema severity in 1,156 Caucasians and 42 African-Americans enrolled in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial. Although African-Americans were younger and smoked less than Caucasians, they presented with comparable impairment in lung function and exercise. Quality-of-life measures also were similar among the two groups, but African-Americans had lower socioeconomic status, lower education level, and fewer were married. The study appears in the July issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Scuba diving not associated with decreased lung function
New research suggests that scuba divers are not at greater risk of accelerated decline in lung function. Researchers at the German Naval Medical Institute performed pulmonary function tests on 590 healthy male members of the German Navy. Of them, 468 were military scuba divers and 122 were submariners (control group). Subjects were followed over an average of five years and underwent at least three lung function tests, including FEV1 and FVC testing. A minimum interval of one year between the first and last measurement was required. While baseline FEV1 of both groups exceeded predicted values, researchers found no significant difference in the decline of FEV1 between the two groups. However, smoking, age, and above-average baseline FEV1 contributed to lung function decline. The study appears in the July issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

CPAP may improve lung function in patients with heart failure
The use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for patients suffering from congestive heart failure (CHF) could significantly improve lung function and exercise tolerance, shows a new study. Brazilian researchers performed a blind clinical study on 24 patients with class II or III CHF and dilated cardiomyopathy. Patients were randomly assigned to two groups; 30-minute CPAP therapy and respiratory exercise (CPAP group) or respiratory exercise only (control group), once daily for 14 days. FEV1, FVC, and exercise tolerance were measure on days 4, 9, and 14. Patients in the CPAP group showed progressive increases in FVC, with a maximum of 16 percent on day 9, and FEV1, with a maximum of 14 percent on day 14. The CPAP group also showed a 28 percent increase in exercise tolerance as opposed to the control group, which showed no significant changes in any category. The study appears in the July issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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