ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Are Medical Meetings Environmentally Unfriendly?
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
FITNESS
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Hoping for a Happy Family Holiday? Here's How
Sleep and Do Better
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Add your Article

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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