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1.  Capsaicin sensitivity in patients with chronic cough– results from a cross-sectional study 
A subgroup of patients with chronic cough is recognised as having airway symptoms resulting exposure to chemicals and scents related to enhanced cough sensitivity to inhaled capsaicin. Sensory hyperreactivity, which has an estimated prevalence of more than 6%, is one possible explanation for the symptoms experienced by these patients. We hypothesized that a number of patients diagnosed with chronic unexplained cough also have coughing provoked by chemical irritants associated with augmented capsaicin cough reaction, but the extent of such a relation is not known. One aim of the present study was to analyse cough sensitivity to inhaled capsaicin in patients with chronic unexplained cough. Another aim was to compare capsaicin sensitivity in individuals with chemically induced coughing (the chemical-sensitive group) to capsaicin sensitivity in those without such chemical sensitivity (non-sensitive group).
Fifty-six participants from an earlier cross-sectional study of 62 patients with chronic unexplained cough were asked to participate in this study: 33 were chemical-sensitive and 23 were non-sensitive. Each participant visited the clinic once and performed a capsaicin inhalation test with one of two inhalation devices. The number of coughs, induced airway symptoms, and spirometry results were recorded.
Thirty-nine of the invited patients participated in the study, with 32 in the chemical-sensitive group (21 women, 11 men), and 7 in the non-sensitive group (4 women, 3 men). The chemical-sensitive patients coughed significantly more on inhaling capsaicin, and had significantly more other airway symptoms compared to those in the non-sensitive group. Women coughed significantly more than men after receiving the higher concentration of capsaicin.
Environmental irritants often trigger chronic unexplained cough. The current findings confirm that this sensitivity is related to enhanced capsaicin cough sensitivity and indicates more involvement of airway sensory nerves in the pathophysiology of the disease than in cough without evident trigger factors.
PMCID: PMC3598875  PMID: 23448366
Cough; Chemical sensitivity; Capsaicin; Sensory hyperreactivity
2.  Sensitivity to environmental irritants and quality of life in COPD 
It is a common clinical experience that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) complain of airway symptoms provoked by environmental irritants like chemicals and scents, although few studies can confirm such connections. The aim was to study the prevalence of airway symptoms induced by chemicals and scents in a group of patients with newly diagnosed CPOD and to analyze any relation to illness severity and quality of life. Eighty-one patients with COPD were recruited to the study. By mail they were asked to answer three questionnaires regarding symptoms, quality of life, and social and emotional influence of airway symptoms induced by environmental irritants. A majority (62%) of the COPD patients claimed to be hyperreactive to chemicals and scents. As a group they scored higher on a questionnaire measuring social and emotional influences of such environmental irritants compared to healthy control subjects. Further, high scores were more common among patients with a very severe form of COPD and among patients with regular use of β2-stimulants. High scores were also associated with significantly more airway symptoms and, in some aspects, with impaired quality of life. In conclusion, the results of this study show that airway symptoms induced by environmental irritants are common in patients with COPD and that this increased airway sensitivity follows the impairment of lung capacity. The mechanisms behind this remain unclear.
PMCID: PMC3257954  PMID: 22259245
COPD; hyperresponsiveness; environmental irritants; sensory hyperreactivity; quality of life
3.  Symptoms induced by environmental irritants and health-related quality of life in patients with chronic cough - A cross-sectional study 
Chronic cough is a common condition, but some patients have no evident medical explanation for their symptoms. A group of patients has been identified, characterized by upper and lower airway symptoms triggered by chemicals and scents, and heightened cough sensitivity to inhaled capsaicin. Chronic cough is usually a prominent symptom in these patients, and it has been suggested that they suffer from sensory hyperreactivity.
Our main aim was to analyse, in a group of patients with chronic cough, the presence of symptoms induced by environmental factors such as chemicals, scents, and cold air, and to measure the social and emotional influences of these symptoms in relation to quality of life. A second aim was to pilot-test a Swedish translation of a cough-specific questionnaire.
A total of 119 patients with chronic cough were asked to answer three different questionnaires: a local symptom questionnaire, the Chemical Sensitivity Scale for Sensory Hyperreactivity (CSS-SHR), and the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP). In addition, a Swedish version of the Hull Airway Reflux Questionnaire (HARQ) was developed and answered by a subgroup of patients and healthy controls.
Sixty-two patients (52%) with mean cough duration of 10.6 years answered the local symptom questionnaire, the CSS-SHR, and the NHP. Of these, 39 (63%) claimed to have cough and other symptoms induced by chemicals and scents. Compared to population-based findings, the patients scored higher on the CSS-SHR, and the CSS-SHR score was significantly higher among chemical-sensitive individuals (p < 0.001). The NHP showed that the patients had a significantly reduced quality of life, which was most pronounced among chemical-sensitive individuals. The 31 patients who answered the HARQ had significantly higher scores (p < 0.0001) than 59 healthy controls.
Among patients with chronic cough, a majority claimed that environmental factors induced coughing. Both the CSS-SHR and the HARQ score systems seem to be valuable instruments in the mapping of cough patients, supporting the novel paradigm of a cough hypersensitivity syndrome. Our results emphasize that cough is a substantial burden to the patient, influencing daily living and quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3212888  PMID: 21981855
Cough; environmental exposure; and quality of life
4.  A gender difference in circulating neutrophils in malnourished patients with COPD 
Circulating markers of inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may correlate to disease progression and extrapulmonary complications such as malnourishment. However, surprisingly little is known about gender-related differences for circulating inflammatory markers in COPD.
To characterize differences in circulating markers of inflammation in malnourished female and male patients with COPD.
Thirty female and 11 male patients with a clinical diagnosis of COPD and malnourishment were examined. A group of control subjects without evidence of COPD was recruited for comparison of some variables.
Blood samples were drawn, and the following parameters were studied: leukocytes and differential counts, C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8, myeloperoxidase (MPO), neutrophil elastase (NE), intracellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular endothelial adhesion molecule-1, and E-selectin.
The mean neutrophil concentration was significantly (P = 0.019) higher in female (4.5 × 109/L) than in male patients with COPD (3.5 × 109/L) and significantly higher than in female control subjects (3.1 × 109/L) (P < 0.01, n = 85). The mean CRP values were considerably higher in female (4.9 mg/mL) than in male patients with COPD (1.5 mg/mL), but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.20). The mean concentrations of IL-6 and IL-8 tended to be higher in female than in male patients with COPD, but these differences did not reach statistical significance either (P > 0.05). Confounding factors (smoking, medication) could not explain the gender differences noted. The concentrations of MPO and NE displayed a strong correlation (r = 0.89; P < 0.01, n = 41) but revealed no gender differences. The latter was true for concentrations of adhesion molecules as well.
Our study puts forward evidence of a gender-related difference in systemic inflammation in malnourished patients with COPD in terms of circulating neutrophils being more abundant in female patients. Among these female patients, there was also a trend toward an increase in two neutrophil-mobilizing cytokines. New and better-powered studies are warranted to confirm and characterize this potentially important phenomenon in greater detail.
PMCID: PMC3048083  PMID: 21407820
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; inflammatory markers; leukocytosis; malnutrition
5.  A validated disease specific prediction equation for resting metabolic rate in underweight patients with COPD 
Malnutrition is a serious condition in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Successful dietary intervention calls for calculations of resting metabolic rate (RMR). One disease-specific prediction equation for RMR exists based on mainly male patients. To construct a disease-specific equation for RMR based on measurements in underweight or weight-losing women and men with COPD, RMR was measured by indirect calorimetry in 30 women and 11 men with a diagnosis of COPD and body mass index <21 kg/m2. The following variables, possibly influencing RMR were measured: length, weight, middle upper arm circumference, triceps skinfold, body composition by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and bioelectrical impedance, lung function, and markers of inflammation. Relations between RMR and measured variables were studied using univariate analysis according to Pearson. Gender and variables that were associated with RMR with a P value <0.15 were included in a forward multiple regression analysis. The best-fit multiple regression equation included only fat-free mass (FFM): RMR (kJ/day) = 1856 + 76.0 FFM (kg). To conclude, FFM is the dominating factor influencing RMR. The developed equation can be used for prediction of RMR in underweight COPD patients.
PMCID: PMC2939682  PMID: 20856826
pulmonary disease; chronic obstructive; basal metabolic rate; malnutrition; body composition
7.  Notes on Ophthalmological Practice in Lund *† 
PMCID: PMC1324100  PMID: 13042021

Results 1-8 (8)