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Women are more likely than men to have asthma, allergies and autoimmune diseases, a new study says. Before puberty, boys are more likely than girls to have these health issues. But that changes when they become young adults, allergist Dr. Renata Engler said in a Friday presentation at an annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Baltimore.

The reasons for these gender differences are complex and vary with age. But what is clear is the need for improved understanding of how gender affects diagnosis, treatment and outcomes, he said.

"The importance of sex differences in the practice of allergy-immunology cannot be overstated," Engler said in an ACAAI news release. "Improved sex/gender-based medicine and research practices will benefit men and women alike."

Genetics also play an important role in allergy and asthma risk. If parents have either of these conditions, their children are at increased risk, according to the ACAAI.

Increased Vitamin D intake in pregnancy may shield newborns from respiratory infections and asthma, according to a new study. Lead researcher of the study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Catherine Hawrylowicz from King's College London said, "The majority of all asthma cases are diagnosed in early childhood implying that the origin of the disease stems in foetal and early life."

For the study the team looked at the effect of taking a supplement of 4,400 IU (International Unit) vitamin D3 per day during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy versus the recommended daily intake (RDI) of 400 IU/day, had on the immune system of the newborn. The researchers posited,that an increased intake in the pregnancy may prove beneficial to slight degree, by improving immune response of the infant.

The strong immune responses in early life, has been linked with decreased development of respiratory ailments like asthma in later life. With the new findings, the team believes that the desirous effect will lead to into an improved respiratory health of the child.

Hawrylowicz said, "Studies to date that have investigated links between vitamin D and immunity in the baby have been observational. For the first time, we have shown that higher Vitamin D levels in pregnancy can effectively alter the immune response of the newborn baby, which could help to protect the child from developing asthma,"

Hawrylowicz added, that further studies and research in the domain shall reveal the long-term impact of the intake on the immunity and overall respiratory health of the newborn.

Black cardamom is often referred to as the 'queen of spices.' This commonly used aromatic spice is widely used to flavour various Indian dishes that contains a number of health benefits. Also known as hill cardamoms, the oil extracted from the black cardamom seeds is used for many health and beauty purposes. This spice is used medicinally for heart problems, gastrointestinal problems and most of all respiratory disorders, especially asthma. It is believed that chewing black cardamom seeds are extremely beneficial in conditions like bronchitis, whooping cough, pulmonary tuberculosis and asthma. Let's find out how do these seeds help manage such respiratory conditions.

Benefits Of Black Cardamom

1. Black cardamom helps prevent heart diseases. It helps control cardiac rhythm that balances the blood pressure and reduces the chances of developing blood clots.
2. If you suffer from oral health issues like cavity, mouth odour, bleeding gums, et al, chewing on black cardamom seeds maybe a one-stop-solution. The healthy oils present in the seeds are said to benefit oral health.
3. Black cardamoms help stimulate gastric and intestinal glands. They help secrete stomach juices that promote digestion. This further prevents conditions like gastric ulcers, acidity, et al.
4. The presence of vitamin C, an essential antioxidant, helps improve blood circulation throughout the body.
5. The seeds of the black cardamom have antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties that protect against infections, further boosting the immunity system.

Here's how black cardamoms help reduce the symptoms of asthma and other conditions
According to Dr. Preyas Vaidya, Consultant Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, "Black Cardamom has been studied in animals and has been found to have some Bronchodilator effects, by acting on calcium channels in the airways. It may have some effect on asthmatics, however, human scientific confirmations are lacking. It has flavonoids that may also help with relaxation in the airways. However, this is not as a substitute to medicine." He adds, "It doesn't help in treatment or management of asthma. But, has weak airway dilatation properties, which may make an asthmatic feel better. Airway constriction is one of the components of this condition, and cardamom may help alleviate it to an extent."

As per Dr. Jaee Khamkar, Dietician, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, "Black cardamom provides many health benefits; it has antiseptic and antispasmodic properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and is an antioxidant reservoir, a homeostasis agent and a blood pressure regulator. This tiny yet powerful black seed can help warm the respiratory tract. It helps ensure easy passage of air through the lungs. Moreover, black cardamom seeds help combat cough, cold and sore throat. This is achieved by alleviating the mucous membrane while also normalising mucous flow through the respiratory tract."

Exposure to ozone (O3) — a common air pollutant — at birth may increase the risk of developing asthma by age three, a new study suggests.

The study, presented at the 2018 American Thoracic Society International Conference, showed that 31 per cent of the participants developed asthma, 42 per cent had allergic rhinitis and 76 per cent had eczema.

“Our findings show that the hazard ratios for ozone measured at birth as a single pollutant showed statistically significant higher risks for development of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema,” said lead author Teresa To from The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Canada.

The study also found that 82 per cent higher risk of developing asthma was associated with each 10 parts per billion (ppb), or ppb increase in exposure to ozone at birth.

For the study, 1,881 children were recruited who were followed from birth to 17 years of age, on average.

According to the researchers, children are at a higher risk because their lungs and other respiratory organs are smaller, and they spend more time in outdoor physical activities that make them breathe faster and more deeply.

The research team took annual average concentrations of pollutants from fixed monitoring stations.

Development of asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema were determined based on any records of health services used for these conditions.

The researchers adjusted for variables such as parental history of asthma and early home exposure to pollutants.

Earlier, some studies have shown that ozone depletes antioxidant activity and increases indications of inflammation in the respiratory tract fluid lining and affects lung growth.

“Air pollution isn’t only one or a few countries’ problems, but rather a global public health concern,” said To, also a professor at the University of Toronto.

“While there are individual actions one can consider to reduce exposure to air pollutants, it also requires action by public authorities at the national, regional and international levels,” she noted.

Understanding how to care for those with pediatric asthma has improved over the last few decades, but there still seems a long way to go.

Researchers from the Children’s National Health System went into detail regarding different methods to ensure that young asthmatic patients are kept out of the hospitals.

“We know how to effectively treat pediatric asthma,” said Kavita Parikh, MD, pediatric hospitalist at Children’s National Health System. “There’s been a huge investment in terms of quality improvements that are reflected in how many papers there are about this topic in the literature.”

Parikh also said that quality-improvement papers need to focus on inpatient discharge, which is a vulnerable time for patients. Around 40% children who are admitted to the hospital for asthma-related concerns return to the emergency department within a year.

In another recent study, Dr. Alexander Hogan, University of Connecticut, certain habits need to be inculcated for kids who have asthma:

- Using the controller medication inhaler twice every day with a spacer (a clear mask tool for easier paediatric application).

- For improving adherence, keeping the child’s inhaler near the toothbrush to serve as a reminder to use it morning and night.

- Be aware of symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.

“It’s clear that we need to do better at keeping kids with asthma out of the hospital. The point at which they’re being discharged might be an effective time to intervene,” Parikh added.

To determine which methods are the best, Parikh and her colleagues did a thorough review of studies regarding quality improvements after the patient is discharged. Their search involved 30 articles.

When Parikh and colleagues went over the effects of each type of intervention regarding hospital readmission, this what they found: No single intervention category seemed to have any effect.

Only multimodal interventions that included a combination of various categories were effective in cutting down on the risk of readmission between 30 days and one year after the initial discharge.

“It’s indicative of what we have personally seen in quality-improvement efforts here at Children’s National,” Parikh said. “With a complex condition like asthma, it’s difficult for a single change in how this disease is managed to make a big difference. We need complex and multimodal programs to improve pediatric asthma outcomes, particularly when there’s a transfer of care like when patients are discharged and return home.”

The findings from the study are published in the journal Pediatrics.

Dr. Shivdas Patil
Dr. Shivdas Patil
BAMS, Family Physician, 8 yrs, Pune
Dr. sandeep shivekar
Dr. sandeep shivekar
BHMS, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sanjay  Babar
Dr. Sanjay Babar
BAMS, Ayurveda General Surgeon, 15 yrs, Pune
Dr. Amrut Gade
Dr. Amrut Gade
BHMS, Homeopath, 4 yrs, Pune
Dr. Arati Bayas-Pawar
Dr. Arati Bayas-Pawar
BPTh, Physiotherapist Homecare Physiotherapist, 12 yrs, Pune