ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Hip Replacement Boosts Mobility at Any Age
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FITNESS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Simple Holistic Approach to Fight the Common Cold
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
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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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