New Treatment for Preschoolers with Acute Wheezing

Most acute wheezing episodes in preschool children lead to airway dehydration. Together with other factors, airway dehydration causes the body to have trouble clearing mucus. These children do not respond well to available treatments. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics evaluated the effect of administering inhaled hypertonic saline to wheezing preschool children, which promotes airway hydration and thus mucus clearance [1].

Breathing treatment
Creative Commons License photo credit: MinivanNinja

Washington State Pertussis Epidemic Highlights Importance of Vaccination

In early April, the Washington State Department of Health declared a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic. The state has seen over 1,200 cases so far this year, and officials suspect there will be at least another few thousand cases before year’s end; levels that haven’t been seen in over 60 years. In response to the declared epidemic, the state has been working to make vaccines more accessible to uninsured patients. Additional response measures have included urging employers to encourage employee vaccination and instructing hospitals to vaccinate new parents.


The Flu and Your Health

It’s the gift-giving season. However, there’s one gift this time of year you don’t want to give or get: the flu virus. Flu season runs from November to April, with most cases occurring between late December and early March. About 10-20% of people get the flu every winter [1]. In children, the number is even higher with up to 40% of children becoming clinically ill due to the influenza virus.

COPD, Even When Mild, Limits Heart Function

A common lung condition, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) diminishes the heart’s ability to pump effectively even when the disease has no or mild symptoms, according to research published in the Jan. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is the first time researchers have shown strong links between heart function and mild COPD. The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

Closing Arguments on Big Tobacco, Boston Legal Style

The ABC television drama Boston Legal is one of my favorite programs. The show features quick, intelligent dialogue and great performances. Producer David E. Kelly has used Boston Legal as a platform to speak out on a number of issues over the last four seasons. Each installment walks a fine line between entertainment and political/social issues such as the Iraq War, global warming and Hurricane Katrina. Tuesday night’s season premier titled “Smoke Signals” was no exception. In this episode, Kelly tackles big tobacco.