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1.  Classification of childhood asthma phenotypes and long-term clinical responses to inhaled anti-inflammatory medications 
Although recent studies have identified the presence of phenotypic clusters in asthmatic patients, the clinical significance and temporal stability of these clusters have not been explored.
Our aim was to examine the clinical relevance and temporal stability of phenotypic clusters in children with asthma.
We applied spectral clustering to clinical data from 1041 children with asthma participating in the Childhood Asthma Management Program. Posttreatment randomization follow-up data collected over 48 months were used to determine the effect of these clusters on pulmonary function and treatment response to inhaled anti-inflammatory medication.
We found 5 reproducible patient clusters that could be differentiated on the basis of 3 groups of features: atopic burden, degree of airway obstruction, and history of exacerbation. Cluster grouping predicted long-term asthma control, as measured by the need for oral prednisone (P < .0001) or additional controller medications (P = .001), as well as longitudinal differences in pulmonary function (P < .0001). We also found that the 2 clusters with the highest rates of exacerbation had different responses to inhaled corticosteroids when compared with the other clusters. One cluster demonstrated a positive response to both budesonide (P = .02) and nedocromil (P = .01) compared with placebo, whereas the other cluster demonstrated minimal responses to both budesonide (P = .12) and nedocromil (P = .56) compared with placebo.
Phenotypic clustering can be used to identify longitudinally consistent and clinically relevant patient subgroups, with implications for targeted therapeutic strategies and clinical trials design.
PMCID: PMC4047642  PMID: 24892144
Childhood asthma; asthma phenotypes; inhaled corticosteroids; cluster analysis; asthma classification; longitudinal study
2.  Do oral corticosteroids reduce the severity of acute lower respiratory tract illnesses in preschool children with recurrent wheezing? 
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology  2013;131(6):10.1016/j.jaci.2013.01.034.
Oral corticosteroids (OCSs) are recommended for severe wheezing episodes in children. However, limited evidence supports this intervention in preschool children with outpatient wheezing illnesses.
We sought to investigate whether OCSs reduce symptom scores during acute lower respiratory tract illnesses (LRTIs) in preschool children with recurrent wheeze
We performed post hoc and replication analyses in 2 outpatient cohorts of children aged 1 to 5 years with episodic wheezing participating in clinical trials. We compared symptom scores during LRTIs that were or were not treated with OCSs, adjusting for differences in disease and episode severity covariates.We stratified episodes by severity by using a propensity model. The primary outcome was the area under the curve (AUC) of total symptom scores among the more severe episodes.
Two hundred fifteen participants from the Acute Intervention Management Strategies trial experienced 798 acute LRTIs, 112 of which were defined as severe based on propensity scores. The AUCs of total symptom scores did not differ between the episodes that were (n = 70) and were not (n = 42) treated with OCSs (P = .46) nor was there an OCS treatment effect on individual symptom scores. Similar analyses of the Maintenance Versus Intermittent Inhaled Corticosteroids in Wheezing Toddlers trial, involving 278 participants with 133 severe LRTIs, confirmed the above findings (P =.46 for AUC of total symptoms score comparison).
In 2 separate cohorts of preschool children with episodic wheezing, OCS treatment during clinically significant LRTIs did not reduce symptom severity during acute LRTIs, despite asthma controller medication use during most episodes. These findings need to be confirmed in a prospective randomized controlled trial.
PMCID: PMC3810170  PMID: 23498594
Oral corticosteroids; episodic wheezing; preschool children
To reduce symptoms and emergency department (ED) visits, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines recommend early treatment of acute asthma symptoms with albuterol and oral corticosteroids. Yet, ED visits for asthma are frequent and often occur several days after onset of increased symptoms, particularly for children from low-income urban neighborhoods.
To describe home use of albuterol and identify factors associated with appropriate albuterol use.
114 caregivers in the intervention group of a randomized trial to reduce emergent care for low-income, urban children completed a structured telephone interview with an asthma nurse to assess home management of their child’s acute asthma symptoms. Albuterol use as reported by caregivers was categorized as appropriate or inappropriate based on NAEPP recommendations.
Albuterol use for worsening asthma symptoms was categorized as appropriate for only 68% of caregivers and was more likely if the children had an ED visit or hospitalization for asthma in the prior year. The remaining 32% of caregivers used albuterol inappropriately (over or under treatment). Appropriate albuterol use was not associated with caregiver report of having an Asthma Action Plan (AAP) or a recent primary care provider visit to discuss asthma maintenance care.
Caregivers reported they would use albuterol to treat their child’s worsening asthma symptoms, but many described inappropriate use. Detailed assessment of proper albuterol use at home may provide insight into how healthcare providers can better educate and support parents in their management of acute exacerbations and more effective use of AAPs.
PMCID: PMC3809955  PMID: 19558010
Childhood asthma; asthma action plan
4.  Factors associated with attaining coaching goals during an intervention to improve child asthma care 
Contemporary clinical trials  2012;33(5):912-919.
To examine parent and child characteristics associated with engagement in a coaching intervention to improve pediatric asthma care and factors associated with readiness to adopt and maintain targeted asthma management behaviors.
Using methods based on the Transtheoretical Model, trained lay coaches worked with 120 parents of children with asthma promoting adoption and maintenance of asthma management strategies (behaviors). Coaches assigned stage-of-change (on continuum: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance) for each behavior every time it was discussed. Improvement in stage-of-change was analyzed for association with characteristics of the participants (parents and children) and coaching processes.
Having more coach contacts was associated with earlier first contact (p<0.001), fewer attempts per successful contact (p<0.001), prior asthma hospitalization (p=0.021), more intruding events (p<0.001), and less social support (p=0.048). In univariable models, three factors were associated with forward movement at least one stage for all three behaviors: more coach contacts overall, fewer attempts per successful contact, and more discussion/staging episodes for the particular behavior. In multivariable models adjusting for characteristics of participants and coaching process, the strongest predictor of any forward stage movement for each behavior was having more contacts (p<0.05).
Improvement in readiness to adopt and maintain asthma management behaviors was mostly associated with factors reflecting more engagement of participants in the program. Similar coaching interventions should focus on early and frequent contacts to achieve intervention goals, recognizing that parents of children with less severe disease and who have more social support may be more difficult to engage.
PMCID: PMC3408563  PMID: 22664649
asthma; child; parent; coach; stage-of-change; engagement
Clinical pediatrics  2012;51(9):840-847.
Patient-centered care requires pediatricians to address parents’ health concerns, but their willingness to solicit parental concerns may be limited by uncertainty about which topics will be raised. We conducted surveys of parents to identify current health-related issues of concern.
Participants rated 30 items as health problems for children in their community (large, medium, small, or no problem) and volunteered concerns for their own children.
1,119 parents completed the survey. Allergies (69%), lack of exercise (68%), asthma (65%), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (65%), Internet safety (63%), obesity (59%), smoking (58%), and bullying (57%) were identified as important problems (large or medium), with variation among demographic subgroups. Concerns for their own children included healthy nutrition, obesity, and lack of exercise, healthy growth and development, safety and injury prevention, and mental health issues.
Parents’ health concerns for children are varied and may differ from those routinely addressed during well-child care.
PMCID: PMC3608110  PMID: 22843294
Health needs assessment; practice-based research network; well-child care
6.  A randomized controlled trial of parental asthma coaching to improve outcomes in urban minority children 
Investigate if asthma coaching reduces emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations and increases outpatient asthma monitoring (AM) visits.
Randomized controlled trial
Urban tertiary-care children’s hospital
Primary caregivers (“parents”) of children age 2–10 years with asthma, Medicaid-insurance, and urban residence who were attending the ED for acute asthma care.
18 months of coaching focused on asthma home management, completing periodic outpatient AM visits, and developing collaborative relationship with primary care provider (PCP); or usual care (control group).
Outcome Measures
Primary = ED visits. Secondary = hospitalizations and AM visits (non-acute visits focused on asthma care). Outcomes were measured during year before and 2 years after enrollment.
We included 120 intervention and 121 control parents. More children of coached parents had ≥ 1 AM visit after enrollment (relative risk [RR], 1.21; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04–1.41), but proportions with ≥ 4 AM visits over 2 years were low (intervention=20%; control=10%). Similar proportions of children per study group had ≥ 1 ED visit (71/120 versus 76/121; RR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.77–1.15) and ≥ 1 hospitalization (29/120 versus 32/121; RR, 0.91; 95% CI 0.59–1.41) after enrollment. An ED visit after enrollment was more likely if one occurred before enrollment (RR, 1.46; 95% CI 1.16–1.86; adjusted for study group), but risk was similar per study group when adjusted for previous ED visits (RR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.82–1.27).
This parental asthma coaching intervention increased outpatient asthma monitoring visits, although these visits were infrequent, but did not reduce ED visits.
PMCID: PMC3733385  PMID: 21646584
7.  Elevated urinary leukotriene E4 levels are associated with hospitalization for pain in children with sickle cell disease 
American journal of hematology  2008;83(8):640-643.
Cysteinyl leukotrienes (CsyLTs) are inflammatory mediators produced by white blood cells. Leukotriene LTE4 is the stable metabolite of CsyLTs, which can be measured in urine. We tested two hypotheses among children with sickle cell disease (SCD): (1) baseline urinary LTE4 levels are elevated in children with SCD when compared with controls; and (2) baseline LTE4 levels are associated with an increased incidence rate of hospitalization for SCD-related pain. Baseline LTE4 levels were measured in children with SCD (cases) and children without SCD matched for age and ethnicity (controls). Medical records of cases were reviewed to assess the frequency of hospitalization for pain within 3 years of study entry. LTE4 levels were obtained in 71 cases and 22 controls. LTE4 levels were higher in cases compared with controls (median LTE4: 100 vs. 57 pg/mg creatinine, P < 0.001). After adjustment for age and asthma diagnosis, a greater incidence rate of hospitalization for pain was observed among children with SCD in the highest LTE4 tertile when compared with the lowest (114 vs. 52 episodes per 100 patient-years, P = 0.038). LTE4 levels are elevated in children with SCD when compared with controls. LTE4 levels are associated with an increased rate of hospitalizations for pain.
PMCID: PMC3729258  PMID: 18506703
8.  Hospital Admission for Acute Painful Episode Following Methacholine Challenge in an Adolescent With Sickle Cell Disease 
Pediatric pulmonology  2009;44(7):728-730.
Asthma is associated with increases in sickle cell disease (SCD)-related morbidity and mortality. A thorough evaluation for asthma in children with SCD is important and may involve methacholine challenge (MCh). In this report, we present a 14-year-old male with SCD who was admitted for an acute painful episode following MCh. Pain events after MCh have not been previously reported in children with SCD. The risk–benefit ratio should be strongly considered prior to performance of MCh in this patient population, and all possible complications, including an acute painful episode, should be openly discussed with the parents and pediatric patient.
PMCID: PMC3729266  PMID: 19504562
methacholine challenge; sickle cell disease; pain; asthma
9.  Longitudinal analysis of pulmonary function in adults with sickle cell disease 
American journal of hematology  2008;83(7):574-576.
Among adults with sickle cell disease (SCD), pulmonary complications are a leading cause of death. Yet, the natural history of lung function in adults with SCD is not well established. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adults with SCD who had repeated pulmonary function tests performed over 20 years of age. Ninety-two adults were included in this cohort. Rate of decline in FEV1 for men and women with SCD was 49 cc/year (compared with 20–26 cc/year in the general population). Further studies are needed to identify factors which impact the rate of lung function decline in adults with SCD.
PMCID: PMC3729267  PMID: 18383325
10.  Methacholine Challenge in Children With Sickle Cell Disease: A Case Series 
Pediatric pulmonology  2008;43(9):924-929.
Lung disease is a major cause of morbidity in children with sickle cell disease (SCD). Asthma in children with SCD is associated with a twice greater rate of pain and acute chest syndrome (ACS) episodes when compared to children with SCD but without asthma. Provocation challenges with methacholine are used to diagnose asthma when spirometry is normal, bronchodilator reactivity is absent, or the clinical picture is ambiguous. There have been only limited descriptions of use of methacholine challenge in individuals with SCD. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 21 children with SCD and recurrent respiratory tract symptoms who were challenged with methacholine to determine if airway hyper responsiveness (AHR) was present. Fourteen (67%) of the children had a positive challenge. Of the 14 patients, four were given a new diagnosis of asthma based on the presence of chronic chest symptoms and the newly determined AHR and started on inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). In each positive challenge, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was reversed to at least 90% of baseline 15 min after bronchodilator treatment. Oxygen saturation decreased in 93% of those with a positive challenge, but returned to baseline values 15 min after bronchodilator treatment. No patient developed a pain or ACS episode within at least 1 month after the challenge. Evaluation of AHR with methacholine challenge in patients with SCD appears to be well tolerated and may elucidate a cause of SCD morbidity.
PMCID: PMC3722869  PMID: 18671275
methacholine challenge; sickle cell disease; children; airway hyper responsiveness
11.  Enuresis Associated with Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children with Sickle Cell Anemia 
The Journal of urology  2012;188(4 0):1572-1576.
Enuresis and sleep disordered breathing are common among children with sickle cell anemia. We evaluated whether enuresis is associated with sleep disordered breathing in children with sickle cell anemia.
Materials and Methods
Baseline data were used from a multicenter prospective cohort study of 221 unselected children with sickle cell anemia. A questionnaire was used to evaluate, by parental report during the previous month, the presence of enuresis and its severity. Overnight polysomnography was used to determine the presence of sleep disordered breathing by the number of obstructive apneas and/or hypopneas per hour of sleep. Logistic and ordinal regression models were used to evaluate the association of sleep disordered breathing and enuresis.
The mean age of participants was 10.1 years (median 10.0, range 4 to 19). Enuresis occurred in 38.9% of participants and was significantly associated with an obstructive apnea-hypopnea index of 2 or more per hour after adjusting for age and gender (OR 2.19; 95% CI 1.09, 4.40; p = 0.03). Enuresis severity was associated with obstructive apneas and hypopneas with 3% or more desaturation 2 or more times per hour with and without habitual snoring (OR 3.23; 95% CI 1.53, 6.81; p = 0.001 and OR 2.07; 95% CI 1.09, 3.92; p = 0.03, respectively).
In this unselected group of children with sickle cell anemia, sleep disordered breathing was associated with enuresis. Results of this study support that children with sickle cell anemia who present with enuresis should be evaluated by a pulmonologist for sleep disordered breathing.
PMCID: PMC3722896  PMID: 22910247
enuresis; sleep; anemia; sickle cell
12.  Determinants of asthma after severe respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis 
The development of asthma after respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis has been demonstrated in case-control studies, although the determinants of post-RSV asthma remain undefined.
We sought to evaluate the potential determinants of physician-diagnosed asthma after severe RSV bronchiolitis during infancy.
We enrolled 206 children during an initial episode of severe RSV bronchiolitis at 12 months of age or less in a prospective cohort study and followed these children for up to 6 years. In a subset of 81 children, we analyzed CCL5 (RANTES) mRNA expression in upper airway epithelial cells.
Forty-eight percent of children had physician-diagnosed asthma before the seventh birthday. Independent determinants significantly associated with increased risk for physician-diagnosed asthma by the seventh birthday included maternal asthma (odds ratio [OR], 5.2; 95% CI, 1.7-15.9; P = .004), exposure to high levels of dog allergen (OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.3-7.7; P = .012), aeroallergen sensitivity at age 3 years (OR, 10.7; 95% CI, 2.1-55.0; P = .005), recurrent wheezing during the first 3 years of life (OR, 7.3; 95% CI, 1.2-43.3; P = .028), and CCL5 expression in nasal epithelia during acute RSV infection (OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.4; P < .001). White children (OR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.04-0.93; P = .041) and children attending day care (OR, 0.18; 95% CI, 0.04-0.84; P = .029) had a decreased risk of physician-diagnosed asthma.
Approximately 50% of children who experience severe RSV bronchiolitis have a subsequent asthma diagnosis. The presence of increased CCL5 levels in nasal epithelia at the time of bronchiolitis or the development of allergic sensitization by age 3 years are associated with increased likelihood of subsequent asthma.
PMCID: PMC3612548  PMID: 22444510
Bronchiolitis; respiratory syncytial virus; asthma; prospective cohort; CCL5
13.  Prevalence of Daily Medication Adherence Among Children with Sickle Cell Disease: A One-Year Retrospective Cohort Analysis 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2010;55(3):554-556.
The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of adherence to daily medications among children with sickle cell disease (SCD). Prescription records for 12 months were obtained from participants who had insurance in a Medicaid-based single health maintenance organization. Adherence was measured as a ratio between the number of expected days and the observed days between two refill periods for daily medications. A total of 93 children were studied. The average refill prescription rate was 58.4%. More formal strategies are required to identify barriers to prescription refills among children with SCD.
PMCID: PMC3665080  PMID: 20658630
Sickle cell disease; medications; adherence; children
14.  Elevated Exhaled Nitric Oxide Levels Increases Risk of Respiratory Tract Illness in Preschool Children with Moderate to Severe Intermittent Wheezing 
The fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a noninvasive marker for airway inflammation but requires further study in pre-school children to determine its clinical relevance.
To determine whether the risk of respiratory tract illnesses (RTI), disease burden and atopic features are related to FeNO in preschool children with moderate-to-severe intermittent wheezing.
We determined FeNO using the off-line tidal breathing technique in 89 children, 12–59 months old, with moderate-severe intermittent wheezing. Risk of RTI was determined by comparing participants with baseline FeNO >75th percentile (24.4ppb) to those with FeNO ≤75th percentile using Cox regression analysis.
The risk of RTI was significantly higher in children with FeNO >24.4ppb relative to those with lower FeNO values (adjusted RR= 3.8, 95% CI: 1.74–8.22; p=0.0008). FeNO levels >24ppb were associated with a greater number of positive skin tests to aeroallergens (p=0.03), but not with other atopic characteristics or historic parameters of illness burden.
Elevated FeNO in preschool children with moderate-to-severe intermittent wheezing was associated with an increased risk of RTI during a one-year follow-up. In addition, higher FeNO was associated with aeroallergen sensitization.
PMCID: PMC3652587  PMID: 19739422
Preschool children; exhaled nitric oxide; respiratory tract illness; wheezing
15.  Effect of Inhaled Glucocorticoids in Childhood on Adult Height 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;367(10):904-912.
The use of inhaled glucocorticoids for persistent asthma causes a temporary reduction in growth velocity in prepubertal children. The resulting decrease in attained height 1 to 4 years after the initiation of inhaled glucocorticoids is thought not to decrease attained adult height.
We measured adult height in 943 of 1041 participants (90.6%) in the Childhood Asthma Management Program; adult height was determined at a mean (±SD) age of 24.9±2.7 years. Starting at the age of 5 to 13 years, the participants had been randomly assigned to receive 400 μg of budesonide, 16 mg of nedocromil, or placebo daily for 4 to 6 years. We calculated differences in adult height for each active treatment group, as compared with placebo, using multiple linear regression with adjustment for demographic characteristics, asthma features, and height at trial entry.
Mean adult height was 1.2 cm lower (95% confidence interval [CI], −1.9 to −0.5) in the budesonide group than in the placebo group (P = 0.001) and was 0.2 cm lower (95% CI, −0.9 to 0.5) in the nedocromil group than in the placebo group (P = 0.61). A larger daily dose of inhaled glucocorticoid in the first 2 years was associated with a lower adult height (−0.1 cm for each microgram per kilogram of body weight) (P = 0.007). The reduction in adult height in the budesonide group as compared with the placebo group was similar to that seen after 2 years of treatment (−1.3 cm; 95% CI, −1.7 to −0.9). During the first 2 years, decreased growth velocity in the budesonide group occurred primarily in prepubertal participants.
The initial decrease in attained height associated with the use of inhaled glucocorticoids in prepubertal children persisted as a reduction in adult height, although the decrease was not progressive or cumulative.
PMCID: PMC3517799  PMID: 22938716
16.  Effects of Experimental Asthma on Inflammation and Lung Mechanics in Sickle Cell Mice 
Experimental asthma increases eosinophil and collagen deposition in the lungs of sickle cell disease (SCD) mice to a greater extent than in control mice. However, the effects of asthma on inflammation and airway physiology remain unclear. To determine effects of asthma on pulmonary inflammation and airway mechanics in SCD mice, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was used to generate chimeric SCD and hemoglobin A mice. Experimental asthma was induced by sensitizing mice with ovalbumin (OVA). Airway mechanics were assessed using forced oscillation techniques. Mouse lungs were examined histologically and physiologically. Cytokine, chemokine, and growth factors in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were determined by multiplex. IgE was quantified by ELISA. LDH was quantified using a colorimetric enzymatic assay. At baseline (nonsensitized), chimeric SCD mice developed hemolytic anemia with sickled red blood cells, mild leukocytosis, and increased vascular endothelial growth factor and IL-13 compared with chimeric hemoglobin A mice. Experimental asthma increased perialveolar eosinophils, plasma IgE, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 in chimeric hemoglobin A and SCD mice. IFN-γ levels were reduced in both groups. IL-5 was preferentially increased in chimeric SCD mice but not in hemoglobin A mice. Positive end-expiratory pressures and methacholine studies revealed that chimeric SCD mice had greater resistance in large and small airways compared with hemoglobin A mice at baseline and after OVA sensitization. SCD alone induces a baseline lung pathology that increases large and small airway resistance and primes the lungs to increased inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness after OVA sensitization.
PMCID: PMC3326430  PMID: 22033263
sickle cell disease; OVA sensitization; IgE; IL-5; airway hyperresponsiveness
17.  Long-Term Budesonide or Nedocromil Treatment, Once Discontinued, Does Not Alter the Course of Mild to Moderate Asthma in Children and Adolescents 
The Journal of pediatrics  2009;154(5):682-687.
To determine whether long-term, continuous use of inhaled anti-inflammatory medications affects asthma outcomes in children with mild-moderate asthma after use is discontinued.
Study design
Of 1,041 participants in the Childhood Asthma Management Program randomized clinical trial, 941 (90%) were followed to determine whether 4.3 years of twice daily budesonide or nedocromil (each compared with placebo) affected subsequent asthma outcomes during a 4.8 year post-trial period in which treatment was managed by the participant's physician.
The groups treated continuously during the trial with either budesonide or nedocromil did not differ from placebo in lung function, control of asthma, or psychological status at the end of 4.8 years of post-trial follow-up; however, the decreased mean height in the budesonide group relative to the placebo group at the end of the trial (1.1 cm, P=0.005) remained statistically significant (0.9 cm, P=0.01) after an additional 4.8 years and was more pronounced in girls (1.7 cm; P=0.001) than boys (0.3 cm; P=0.49). Participants used inhaled corticosteroids during 30% of the post-trial period in all groups.
Clinically meaningful improvements in control of asthma and improvements in airway responsiveness achieved during continuous treatment with inhaled corticosteroids do not persist after continuous treatment is discontinued.
PMCID: PMC2942076  PMID: 19167726
18.  Resilience in Low Socioeconomic Status Children with Asthma: Adaptations to Stress 
Low socioeconomic status (SES) is a strong predictor of many health problems, including asthma impairment; however, little is understood about why some individuals defy this trend by exhibiting good asthma control despite living in adverse environments.
This study sought to test whether a psychological characteristic – “shift-and-persist” (dealing with stressors by reframing them more positively, while at the same time, persisting in optimistic thoughts about the future) - protects low SES children with asthma.
121 children physician-diagnosed with asthma, ages 9-18, were recruited from medical practices and community advertisements (M age=12.6, 67% male, 61% Caucasian). Shift-and-persist and asthma inflammation (eosinophil counts, stimulated IL-4 cytokine production) were assessed at baseline, and asthma impairment (daily diary measures of rescue inhaler use and school absences), and daily peak flow were monitored at baseline and at a 6-month follow-up.
Children who came from low SES backgrounds but who engaged in shift-and-persist strategies displayed less asthma inflammation at baseline (β=.19, p<.05), as well as less asthma impairment (reduced rescue inhaler use and fewer school absences; β=.32, p<.01) prospectively at a 6 month follow-up period. In contrast, shift-and-persist strategies were not beneficial among high SES children with asthma.
An approach that focuses on the psychological qualities that low SES children develop to adapt to stressors may represent one practical and effective starting point for reducing health disparities. Moreover, the approaches that are effective in low SES communities may be different from those that are optimal in a high SES context.
PMCID: PMC3205307  PMID: 21824649
socioeconomic status; asthma; children; psychological; stress
19.  Growth of Preschool Children at High Risk for Asthma Two Years after Discontinuation of Fluticasone 
The effect on linear growth of daily long-term inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy in preschool-aged children with recurrent wheezing is controversial.
To determine the effect of daily ICS given for 2 years on linear growth in preschool children with recurrent wheezing.
Children ages 2 and 3 years with recurrent wheezing and positive modified asthma predictive indices were randomized to a two-year treatment period of fluticasone propionate CFC (176 mcg/day) or masked-placebo delivered by valved chamber with mask and then followed 2 years off study medication. Height growth determined by stadiometry was compared between treatment groups.
In the study cohort as a whole, the fluticasone group did not have significantly less linear growth than the placebo-group [change in height from baseline difference (ΔHt) of −0.2 cm (95% CI, −1.1, 0.6)] two years after discontinuation of study treatment. In post-hoc analyses, children 2 years old and who weighed < 15 kg at enrollment treated with fluticasone had less linear growth compared to placebo [ΔHt of −1.6 cm (95% CI, −2.8, −0.4), p=0.009].
Linear growth was not significantly different in high-risk, recurrent wheezing preschool age children treated with CFC fluticasone 176 mcg/day compared to placebo 2 years after fluticasone is discontinued. However, post-hoc subgroup analyses revealed that children who are younger in age and of lesser weight relative to the entire study cohort had significantly less linear growth, possibly due to a higher relative fluticasone exposure.
PMCID: PMC3224818  PMID: 21820163
Asthma predictive index; atopy; clinical trials; early childhood asthma; fluticasone; inhaled corticosteroids; intermittent wheezing; linear growth; research network
20.  Most Nocturnal Asthma Symptoms Occur Outside of Exacerbations and Associate with Morbidity 
Although nocturnal awakenings help categorize asthma severity and control, their clinical significance has not been thoroughly studied.
To determine the clinical consequences of nocturnal asthma symptom(s) requiring albuterol in children with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma outside of periods when oral corticosteroids were used for worsening asthma symptoms.
285 children ages 6 to 14 years with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma were randomized to receive one of three controller regimens and completed daily symptom diaries for 48 weeks. Diary responses were analyzed for the frequency and consequences of nocturnal asthma symptoms requiring albuterol.
Nocturnal asthma symptoms requiring albuterol occurred in 72.2% of participants at least once and in 24.3% ≥13 times. 81.3% of nocturnal symptoms occurred outside of exacerbation periods and were associated the next day with the following events: albuterol use (56.9% of days preceded by nocturnal symptoms versus 18.1% of days not preceded by nocturnal symptoms, Relative Risk (RR) 2.3, 95%CI: 2.2,2.4), school absence (5.0% versus 0.3%, RR 10.6, 95%CI: 7.8,14.4), and doctor contact (3.7% versus 0.2%, RR 8.8, 95%CI:6.1,12.5). Similar findings were noted during exacerbation periods (RR 1.7 for albuterol use, 5.5 for school absence, and 4.9 for doctor contact). Nocturnal symptoms did not predict the onset of exacerbations.
Nocturnal symptoms requiring albuterol in children with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma receiving controller therapy occurred predominantly outside of exacerbation periods. Despite being poor predictors of exacerbations, they were associated with increases in albuterol use, school absences, and doctor contacts the day after nocturnal symptom occurrences.
PMCID: PMC3408598  PMID: 21855126
asthma; nocturnal symptoms; exacerbation
21.  Clinical and laboratory factors associated with negative oral food challenges 
Allergy and Asthma Proceedings  2012;33(6):467-473.
Children with food-specific IgE (FSIgE) ≤2 kUa/L to milk, egg, or peanut (or ≤5kUa/L to peanut without history of previous reaction) are appropriate candidates for oral food challenge (OFC) to investigate resolution of food allergy, because these FSIgE cutoffs are associated with ∼50% likelihood of negative OFC. This study was designed to identify characteristics of children undergoing OFC, based on these FSIgE levels, who are most likely to show negative OFC. We collected demographics, severity of previous reaction, history of atopic diseases, total IgE and FSIgE values, and skin tests results on children who underwent OFCs to milk, egg, or peanut, based on the recommended FSIgE cutoffs. We identified independent factors associated with negative OFCs. Four hundred forty-four OFCs met our inclusion criteria. The proportions of negative OFCs performed based on FSIgE cutoffs alone were 58, 42, and 63% to milk, egg, and peanuts, respectively. Regression models identified independent factors associated with negative OFCs: lower FSIgE levels (all three foods), higher total IgE (milk), consumption of baked egg products (egg), and non-Caucasian race (eggs and peanuts). Combinations of these factors identified subgroups of children with proportions of negative OFCs of 83, 75, and 75% for milk, eggs, and peanuts, respectively. Combinations of clinical and laboratory elements, together with FSIgE values, might identify more children who are likely to have negative OFCs compared with current recommendations using FSIgE values alone. Once validated in a different population, these factors might be used for selection of patients who are most likely to show negative OFCs.
PMCID: PMC3522388  PMID: 23394503
Children; food allergy; food specific IgE; oral food challenge; regression models; skin test; total IgE
Academic pediatrics  2009;10(1):64-69.
To assess the likely impact of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory not to use over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold products for children < 2 years old on care provided by pediatricians and parents
One-hundred and five community pediatricians completed a mailed survey (53% response rate), and 1,265 parents with children < 12 years old completed a self-administered survey while waiting for an office visit.
All physicians were aware of the advisory; 75% agreed with it. Fifty-nine percent did not recommend OTC cough and cold products for children < 2 years old before the advisory and 35% were less likely to do so afterwards.
Seventy-three percent of parents were aware of the advisory, 70% believed these products relieved symptoms, 68% did not believe they were dangerous, and 74% had them at home. After the advisory, 21% of parents were more likely to request an antibiotic from the doctor. 225 parents only had children < 2 years old and 695 only had children 2–11 years old. Among these parental groups respectively, 53% and 10% of parents did not use these products before the advisory, an additional 33% and 28% were less likely to do so afterwards, and 15% and 61% would continue use them.
Pediatricians must be prepared for requests from parents for antibiotics and other remedies for symptom relief for their children with colds. As no effective alternatives are available maybe non-treatment should be promoted.
PMCID: PMC3433755  PMID: 19819775
Upper respiratory infections; over-the-counter medications
23.  Asthma morbidity and treatment in children with sickle cell disease 
Children with sickle cell disease (SCD) and a comorbid condition of asthma have increased numbers of vaso-occlusive pain and acute chest syndrome episodes, and all-cause mortality. When assessed systematically, asthma prevalence is probably similar among children with SCD when compared with the general African–American population. With increasing recognition of the importance of asthma in the management of SCD, hematologists must become familiar with asthma and develop a multidisciplinary approach, including early recognition, appropriate management and referral to asthma specialists.
PMCID: PMC3233260  PMID: 21955234
acute chest syndrome; asthma; bronchial hyper-reactivity; bronchodilator response; pulmonary function tests; sickle cell disease; sickle cell pain
24.  Asthma is a distinct co-morbid condition in children with sickle cell anemia with elevated total and allergen-specific IgE levels 
Asthma in children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. However, the definition of asthma in SCA is based on a physician's impression. In a retrospective cohort of children with SCA, relationships between a physician diagnosis of asthma and total and allergen specific IgE levels were evaluated. In children with SCA, elevated total and specific IgE levels were significantly associated with a diagnosis of asthma (P<0.05), further supporting the concept that asthma is a separate co-morbid condition of SCA.
PMCID: PMC3120905  PMID: 21617566
sickle cell disease; IgE; asthma
25.  Elevation of IgE in children with sickle cell disease is associated with doctor diagnosis of asthma and increased morbidity 
A doctor diagnosis of asthma is associated with increased morbidity (pain and acute chest syndrome, ACS) among children with sickle cell disease (SCD). An association between IgE levels and asthma and morbidity has not been investigated in children with SCD.
We tested the hypothesis that elevated total and allergen-specific IgE levels are associated with asthma and SCD morbidity in children with SCD.
A cross-sectional study of children with SCD who participated in the Silent Cerebral Infarct Trial was conducted. Logistic regression and negative binomial regression were used to investigate potential associations of total and allergen-specific IgE levels with asthma diagnosis and SCD morbidity, both confirmed by medical record review. Elevation of total IgE was defined as age- and sex-adjusted IgE exceeding 90th percentile compared to a non-atopic reference population. IgE antibody positivity to Altermaria alternata (mold), Blatella germanica (cockroach), and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (dust mite) was assessed by ImmunoCAP analysis.
Children with SCD (140 asthmatics, 381 non-asthmatics) were evaluated. Elevations in total IgE (p = 0.04) and IgE antibody specific for Altermaria alternata (p = 0.0003), Blatella germanica (p = 0.008), and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (p = 0.01) were associated with asthma. ACS (p = 0.048) but not pain (p = 0.20) was associated with total IgE, but neither were associated with specific IgE levels.
Significantly increased levels of total and allergen-specific IgE levels are associated with asthma in SCD. High IgE levels are a risk factor for ACS and not pain rates.
PMCID: PMC3105194  PMID: 21388662
Total IgE; allergen-specific IgE; asthma risk indicator; acute chest syndrome; pain; sickle cell disease; hemoglobinopathies

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