Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Today is #RareDiseaseDay 2017

Today is #RareDiseaseDay 2017! Today, with events taking place in over 90 countries all around the world, we hope to raise more awareness than ever for rare diseases! 
With the theme of research, and the slogan, 'With research, the possibilities are limitless', #RareDiseaseDay 2017 is an opportunity to call on all researchers, universities, students, companies, policymakers and clinicians to do more research and to make them aware of the importance of research for the rare disease community. 
This year's Rare Disease Day video, which has been viewed over a hundred thousand times and translated into over 30 languages,  draws a parallel with a routine that many of us go through multiple times a day - searching for an answer on the internet. The video highlights how isolating it is when you search on the internet but receive the response 'your search had no results'. It also highlights the hope and promise that comes with additional research into rare diseases, something that must be continuously strived for. 
A BRAND NEW digital magazine giving a voice to patients affected by RARE conditions and the charities that represent and support them.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The impact of anaemia and iron deficiency in COPD: A clinical overview (free full text from 2017 Revista Portuguesa de Pneumologia)

Anaemia is increasingly recognised as an important comorbidity in the context of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but remains undervalued in clinical practice. This review aims to characterise the impact of anaemia and iron deficiency in COPD.


Literature review of studies exploring the relationship between anaemia/iron deficiency and COPD, based on targeted MEDLINE and Google Scholar queries.


The reported prevalence of anaemia in COPD patients, ranging from 4.9% to 38.0%, has been highly variable, due to different characteristics of study populations and lack of a consensus on the definition of anaemia. Inflammatory processes seem to play an important role in the development of anaemia, but other causes (including nutritional deficiencies) should not be excluded from consideration. Anaemia in COPD has been associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and overall reduced quality of life. The impact of iron deficiency, irrespective of anaemia, is not as well studied, but it might have important implications, since it impacts production of red blood cells and respiratory enzymes. Treatment of anaemia/iron deficiency in COPD remains poorly studied, but it appears reasonable to assume that COPD patients should at least receive the same type of treatment as other patients.


Anaemia and iron deficiency continue to be undervalued in most COPD clinical settings, despite affecting up to one-third of patients and having negative impact on prognosis. Special efforts should be made to improve clinical management of anaemia and iron deficiency in COPD patients as a means of achieving better patient care.
Free full text:

Friday, February 24, 2017

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes (free full text from COPD Research and Practice)

Diabetes occurs more often in individuals with COPD than in the general population, however there are still many issues that need to be clarified about this association. The exact prevalence of the association between diabetes and COPD varies between studies reported, however it is known that diabetes affects 2–37 % of patients with COPD, underlining the need to better understand the link between these two conditions. In this review, we evaluated the epidemiological aspects of the association between diabetes and COPD analyzing potential common issues in the pathological mechanisms underlying the single disease. 
The close association suggests the occurrence of similar pathophysiological process that leads to the development of overt disease in the presence of conditions such as systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, hypoxemia or hyperglycemia. Another, but not less important, aspect to consider is that related to the influence of the pharmacological treatment used both for the patient affected by COPD and from that affected by diabetes. It is necessary to understand whether the treatment of COPD affect the clinical course of diabetes, it is also essential to learn whether treatment for diabetes can alter the natural history of COPD.
Free full text:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

LAMA plus LABA versus LABA plus ICS for stable COPD (free full text from The Cochrane Library)


Three classes of inhaler medications are used to manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): long-acting beta-agonists (LABA), long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMA), and inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). When two classes of medications are required, LAMA plus LABA (LAMA+LABA) and LABA plus ICS (LABA+ICS) are often selected because these combinations can be administered via a single medication device. The previous Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidance recommended LABA+ICS as the first-line treatment for managing stable COPD in high-risk people of categories C and D. However, the updated GOLD 2017 guidance recommends LAMA+LABA over LABA+ICS.


To compare the benefits and harms of LAMA+LABA versus LABA+ICS for treatment of people with stable COPD.


We performed an electronic search of the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register (2 February 2016), ClinicalTrials.gov (4 June 2016), and the World Health Organization Clinical Trials Search Portal (4 June 2016), followed by a handsearch (5 June 2016). Two review authors screened and scrutinised the selected articles.


We included individual randomised controlled trials, parallel-group trials, and cross-over trials comparing LAMA+LABA and LABA+ICS for stable COPD. The minimum accepted trial duration was one month and trials should have been conducted in an outpatient setting.


Two review authors independently extracted data and evaluated risk of bias. We resolved any discrepancies through discussion. We analysed dichotomous data as odds ratios (OR), and continuous data as mean differences (MD), with 95% confidence interval (CI) using Review Manager 5. Exacerbations were measured by counting the number of people experiencing one or more exacerbation.


We included 11 studies comprising 9839 participants in our quantitative analysis. Most studies included people with moderate to severe COPD, without recent exacerbations. One pharmaceutical sponsored trial that included only people with recent exacerbations was the largest study and accounted for 37% of participants. All but one study were sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, thus we rated them as having a high risk of 'other bias'. The unsponsored study was at high risk of performance and detection bias, and possible selective reporting.Five studies recruited GOLD Category B participants, one study recruited Category D participants, two studies recruited Category A/B participants, and three studies recruited participants regardless of category. Follow-up ranged from 6 to 52 weeks.Compared to the LABA+ICS arm, the results for the pooled primary outcomes for the LAMA+LABA arm were as follows: exacerbations, OR 0.82 (95% CI 0.70 to 0.96, P = 0.01, I2 = 17%, low quality evidence); serious adverse events (SAE), OR 0.91 (95% CI 0.79 to 1.05, P = 0.18, I2 = 0, moderate quality evidence); St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) total score change from the baseline, MD -1.22 (95% CI -2.52 to 0.07, P = 0.06, I2 = 71%, low quality evidence); and trough forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) change from the baseline, MD 0.08 L (95% CI 0.06 to 0.09, P < 0.0001, I2 = 50%, moderate quality evidence). Compared to the LABA+ICS arm, the results for the pooled secondary outcomes for the LAMA+LABA arm were as follows: pneumonia, OR 0.57 (95% CI 0.42 to 0.79, P = 0.0006, I2 = 0%, low quality evidence); all-cause death, OR 1.01 (95% CI 0.61 to 1.67, P = 0.88, I2 = 0%, low quality evidence); and SGRQ total score change from the baseline of 4 points or greater (the minimal clinically important difference for the SGRQ is 4 points), OR 1.25 (95% CI 1.09 to 1.44, P = 0.002, I2 = 0%, moderate quality evidence).


For the treatment of COPD, LAMA+LABA has fewer exacerbations, a larger improvement of FEV1, a lower risk of pneumonia, and more frequent improvement in quality of life as measured by an increase over 4 units or more of the SGRQ. These data were supported by low or moderate quality evidence generated from mainly participants with moderate to severe COPD in heterogeneous trials with an observation period of less than one year. Our findings support the recently updated GOLD guidance.
Free full text:

Friday, February 10, 2017

New issue of Current Respiratory Medicine Reviews (Volume 12 - Number 4) is online

Dear Friends was published new issue of Current Respiratory Medicine Reviews (Volume 12 - Number 4)! 

Table of Contents  (For viewing abstracts please visit this link)
Meet Our Editorial Board Member Pp. 247-247
Peter J. Barnes
[Download PDF]
Editorial: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in the Elderly: Does OSA Decrease Mortality in These Patients When They Have Pneumonia? Pp. 248-249
Salim Surani, Daryelle S. Varon and Joseph Varon
[Download PDF]
Review Article
Recognition of the Deteriorating Patient: The Ongoing Evolution of Early Warning Score Systems and their Impact on Patients with Respiratory Disease Pp. 250-260
Sarah Forster, John Blakey and Dominick Shaw
[Abstract] [Purchase Article]
Review Article
Effectiveness of Long-Term Macrolide Therapy in Cryptogenic Organising Pneumonia Pp. 261-270
Tommaso D'Elia
[Abstract] [Purchase Article]
Review Article
Epidemiology and Pathology of Malignant Mesothelioma Pp. 271-276
Jack A. Kastelik, Mahmoud Loubani, Michael Greenstone, Simon Hart and Anne Campbell
[Abstract] [Purchase Article]
Review Article
Pulmonary Disease in Beta-Thalassemia Pp. 277-285
Demetrios S. Theodoropoulos and Maria S. Theodoropoulou
[Abstract] [Purchase Article]
Review Article
Surgical Options for Management of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in the Current Era Pp. 286-293
Mahmoud Loubani, Syed S. Qadri, Azar Hussain, Mubarak A. Chaudhry and Jack A. Kastelik
[Abstract] [Purchase Article]
Review Article
Rheumatoid Nodules and Lung Pp. 294-298
Ciro Manzo
[Abstract] [Purchase Article]
Research Article
Assessment of Mortality Risk in Elderly Persons with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Diagnosed with Pneumonia Pp. 299-305
Charlisa D. Gibson, Eric Yudelevich, Raymond A. Jean, Pius Ochieng and Raymonde E. Jean
[Abstract] [Purchase Article]
[Download PDF]

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Procalcitonin could safely halve antibiotic administration in COPD exacerbations (Free full text from European Respiratory Review 2017)

Our latest meta-analysis is now available online!!
Current evidence suggests that serum procalcitonin could safely halve antibiotic administration in COPD exacerbations!
Challenges in the differentiation of the aetiology of acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) have led to significant overuse of antibiotics. Serum procalcitonin, released in response to bacterial infections, but not viral infections, could possibly identify AECOPD requiring antibiotics. In this meta-analysis we assessed the clinical effectiveness of procalcitonin-based protocols to initiate or discontinue antibiotics in patients presenting with AECOPD.
Based on a prospectively registered protocol, we reviewed the literature and selected randomised or quasi-randomised trials comparing procalcitonin-based protocols to initiate or discontinue antibiotics versus standard care in AECOPD. We followed Cochrane and GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) guidance to assess risk of bias, quality of evidence and to perform meta-analyses.
We included eight trials evaluating 1062 patients with AECOPD. Procalcitonin-based protocols decreased antibiotic prescription (relative risk (RR) 0.56, 95% CI 0.43–0.73) and total antibiotic exposure (mean difference (MD) −3.83, 95% CI (−4.32–−3.35)), without affecting clinical outcomes such as rate of treatment failure (RR 0.81, 0.62–1.06), length of hospitalisation (MD −0.76, −1.95–0.43), exacerbation recurrence rate (RR 0.96, 0.69–1.35) or mortality (RR 0.99, 0.58–1.69). However, the quality of the available evidence is low to moderate, because of methodological limitations and small overall study population.
Procalcitonin-based protocols appear to be clinically effective; however, confirmatory trials with rigorous methodology are required.
Free full text:
Free full text on Researchgate: