ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Know Your Asthma Triggers
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
CANCER
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Less May Slow Aging Process
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Drink Away Dementia?
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
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Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- The singular appeal of music and sports can be successfully harnessed to deliver health information to young children and teens coping with asthma, while also encouraging them to stick more closely to the treatments prescribed for their condition, a pair of new studies suggests.

One study explored giving teens regular access to popular music, via digital music players, and mixing in audio messages about asthma authored by the teens themselves. The result: Kids exposed to the music-message combo were much more likely to take their medications.

And a second study found that the amount of time young children ended up seeking asthma treatment from either a doctor or a hospital emergency room dropped in the months after they participated in a day-long asthma education camp that had been coupled with basketball lessons.

"Ours was a very small proof-of-concept study, but the kids loved being in it -- which is very important -- and we've gotten really good results," said the lead author of the music study, Dr. Giselle S. Mosnaim, an assistant professor in the department of immunology/microbiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

"We improved asthma controller adherence to above the clinically important 70 percent mark, up from 39 percent before we began," Mosnaim noted. "And we maintained it above 70 percent for the entire study. So this is very exciting."

Mosnaim was expected to present the findings -- as were researchers from Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, who did the sports study -- at the annual meeting in Washington, D.C., this week of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

"If teens take their controllers every day, asthma is a controllable disease," Mosnaim said. Daily use of inhaled anti-inflammatory steroids can prevent the kind of inflammation that compromises breathing, even in the absence of active symptoms.

"The medication helps them avoid having shortness of breath, wheezing or nighttime awakenings, and helps them avoid having to go to the ER and the hospital," she said. "But, unfortunately, there are all sorts of reasons kids don't take their medication. Things as simple as, 'Oh, I forgot,' to the social stigma associated with taking them, such as the idea that if you have asthma, you can't play sports -- which is not true."

The sports study enrolled 21 boys and girls, 6 to 12 years old, in a one-day camp. All had asthma diagnoses and, during camp, all were exposed to comprehensive asthma information workshops as well as basketball skills training.

Although no change was observed in terms of the frequency with which the children used their oral steroid medications, follow-up surveys two and four months later revealed fewer physician visits and a trend toward decreased use of hospital emergency rooms.

In the music study, Mosnaim and her colleagues assembled a group of three boys and one girl, 12 to 18 years old and all from inner city, low-income, African-American families. All the youths had been diagnosed with moderate but persistent asthma and had a history of repeated ER visits for asthma treatment.

The kids were asked to form a makeshift musical group, tasked with devising beat-box and vocal percussion-driven asthma informational messages for their own consumption. The audio messages were then incorporated into a play-list of popular music tracks on iPod Shuffles, which would play the music and messages in no predictable or controllable order.

After eight weeks of routine listening to their iPods --coupled with twice daily phone calls to remind the youths to take their medications -- Mosnaim's team found that the group's general knowledge of asthma had improved, and their drug compliance had rocketed to more than 70 percent.

At 70 percent compliance and above, she said, clinical improvement is expected to take place.

"These were just regular kids with asthma and a history of hospitalization, and this program really made a difference for them," Mosnaim noted, adding that they are planning a larger and longer study along the same lines.

Dr. Jonathan Field, director of the allergy and asthma clinic at the New York University School of Medicine/Bellevue Medical Center in New York City, expressed enthusiasm for the findings.

"The studies are small," he noted, "and there remains the question of how long the effects will last, so I would love to see larger studies, with different age groups, that look at whether or not there is a waning impact over time. But, clearly, I think that anything you can do with sports or music to enhance medication compliance is very important."

"I think these are great ideas, because they seem tailored to provide positive reinforcement that would probably appeal to most kids," Field said. "And they could probably be applied to a lot of different situations, not just asthma."

More information

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has more on asthma and children.



SOURCES: Giselle S. Mosnaim, M.D., assistant professor, department of immunology/microbiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Jonathan Field, M.D., director, allergy and asthma clinic, New York University School of Medicine/Bellevue Medical Center, New York City; American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2009 annual meeting, Washington D.C., March 13-17, 2009

Last Updated: March 16, 2009

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