ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
CANCER
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
CAREGIVING
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Added Sugars in Diet Threaten Heart Health
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
EYE CARE, VISION
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
FITNESS
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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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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