Monday January 20, 2020

Nose of Kids Hold Clues to Serious Lung Infections

Experts say this breaks with traditional thinking that symptoms predict whether either a virus or bacteria is causing the illness and could impact a decision of whether or not to use antibiotics

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People pass by an installation of an artificial model of lungs to illustrate the effect of air pollution outside a hospital in New Delhi, India, Nov. 5, 2018.

Tiny organisms in a child’s nose could offer clues to improving the diagnosis and treatment of severe lung infections, a new study suggests.

The study found that the composition of the microbiome — bacteria and viruses found in vast numbers in the body — was altered in the noses of children with respiratory infections, compared with his healthy peers.

This difference predicted how much time children had to spend in hospital and helped spot those likely to recover naturally, potentially reducing the need for antibiotics, said researchers from the University of Edinburgh.

“Our findings show, for the first time, the total microbial community in the respiratory tract — rather than a single virus or a bacteria — is a vital indicator of respiratory health. This could impact how doctors diagnose LRTIs and use precious antibiotics to fight infections,” said lead author Debby Bogaert, Professor at the varsity.

Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), including pneumonia and bronchiolitis, are a leading cause of death. Symptoms include, shortness of breath, weakness and fever.

Coal Miners
Former coal miner Wade Pauley, who has Black Lung disease after working 33 years underground in mines, stands for a chest x-ray at United Medical Services in Pikeville, Kentucky, U.S., May 22, 2018. (VOA)

It was found that the microbiome in the back of the nose and throat was related to that seen in the lungs, making it easier to understand and diagnose infections.

For the study, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, the researchers studied more than 150 children under the age of six, hospitalised with LRTI. They compared them with 300 healthy children.

Children with LRTI had a different microbiome profile — including the types and amounts of individual viral and bacterial organisms — compared with the healthy children.

Also Read- Inactive Ingredients in Medicines May Cause Allergy: Study

These profiles could identify 92 per cent of children as being healthy or ill when combined with factors like the child’s age. This was true no matter what symptoms the child had.

Experts say this breaks with traditional thinking that symptoms predict whether either a virus or bacteria is causing the illness and could impact a decision of whether or not to use antibiotics. (IANS)

Next Story

Air Pollution, Stress Associated with Thought Problems in Kids: Researchers

Stress likely leads to wide-ranging changes in, for example, epigenetic expression, cortisol, inflammation, and brain structure and function

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Pollution, pollutants, India, air pollution, WHO, diwali
Delhi air quality continues to be 'very poor'. VOA

Parents, please take note. Researchers have revealed that kids with elevated exposure to early life stress in the home and increased prenatal exposure to air pollution exhibited heightened symptoms of attention and thought problems.

Early life stress is common in youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who also often live in areas with greater exposure to air pollution, according to the study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

“Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a neurotoxicant common in air pollution, seems to magnify or sustain the effects of early life social and economic stress on mental health in children,” said study first author David Pagliaccio from Columbia University in the US.

“Air pollutants are common in our environment, particularly in cities, and given socioeconomic inequities and environmental injustice, children growing up in disadvantaged circumstances are more likely to experience both life stress and exposure to neurotoxic chemicals,” said senior author Amy Margolis.

Air pollution has negative effects on physical health, and recent work has begun to also show the effects on mental health. Life stress, particularly in early life, is one of the best-known contributors to mental health problems.

This new study examined the combined effects of air pollution and early life stress on school-age children.

According to the researchers data were collected from the CCCEH Mothers and Newborns longitudinal birth cohort study in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, which includes many participants who self-identify as African American or Dominican.

Mothers wore an air monitoring backpack during the third trimester of pregnancy to measure exposure to air pollutants in their daily lives.

Stress
Stress is increasingly becoming a dreaded phenomenon. Lifetime Stock

When their children were 5 years old, mothers reported on stress in their lives, including neighbourhood quality, material hardship, intimate partner violence, perceived stress, lack of social support, and general distress levels.

Mothers then reported on their child’s psychiatric symptoms at ages 5, 7, 9 and 11.

The combined effect of air pollution and early life stress was seen across several measures of thought and attention problems/ADHD at the age 11.

The effects were also linked to PAH-DNA adducts–a dose-sensitive marker of air pollution exposure.

Also Read: Apple Planning to Release ‘The Banker’ in Theaters This March

The researchers said that PAH and early life stress may serve as a “double hit” on shared biological pathways connected to attention and thought problems.

Stress likely leads to wide-ranging changes in, for example, epigenetic expression, cortisol, inflammation, and brain structure and function.

The mechanism underlying the effects of PAH is still being interrogated; however, alterations in brain structure and function represent possible shared mechanistic pathways, the study said. (IANS)