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1.  Wheezing symptoms and parental asthma are associated with a doctor diagnosis of asthma in children with sickle cell anemia 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;164(4):821-826.e1.
To identify factors associated with asthma associated with increased sickle cell anemia (SCA).
Study design
Children with SCA (n=187; mean age 9.6 years, 48% male) were classified as having “asthma” based on parent report of doctor diagnosis plus prescription of asthma medication (n=53) or “no asthma” based on the absence of these features (n=134). Pain and acute chest syndrome (ACS) events were collected prospectively.
Multiple variable logistic regression model identified three factors associated with asthma: parent with asthma (p=0.006), wheezing causing shortness of breath (p=0.001), and wheezing after exercise (p < 0.001). When two or more features were present, model sensitivity was 100%. When none of the features were present, model sensitivity was 0%. When only one feature was present, model sensitivity was also 0% and presence of 2 or more positive allergy skin tests, airway obstruction on spirometry, and bronchodilator responsiveness did not improve clinical utility. ACS incident rates were significantly higher in individuals with asthma than those without asthma (IRR 2.21, CI 1.31-3.76); pain rates were not (IRR 1.28, CI 0.78-2.10).
For children with SCA, having a parent with asthma and specific wheezing symptoms are the best features to distinguish those with and without parent report of a doctor diagnosis of asthma and identify those at higher risk for ACS events. The value of treatment for asthma in prevention of SCA morbidity needs to be studied.
PMCID: PMC3962704  PMID: 24388323
Parental history of asthma; Wheezing symptoms; Allergy to aeroallergens
3.  Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Sickle Cell Anemia 
Pediatrics  2014;134(2):273-281.
To ascertain the prevalence of and risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in children with sickle cell anemia (SCA).
Cross-sectional baseline data were analyzed from the Sleep and Asthma Cohort Study, a multicenter prospective study designed to evaluate the contribution of sleep and breathing abnormalities to SCA-related morbidity in children ages 4 to 18 years, unselected for OSAS symptoms or asthma. Multivariable logistic regression assessed the relationships between OSAS status on the basis of overnight in-laboratory polysomnography and putative risk factors obtained from questionnaires and direct measurements.
Participants included 243 children with a median age of 10 years; 50% were boys, 99% were of African heritage, and 95% were homozygous for βS hemoglobin. OSAS, defined by obstructive apnea hypopnea indices, was present in 100 (41%) or 25 (10%) children at cutpoints of ≥1 or ≥5, respectively. In univariate analyses, OSAS was associated with higher levels of habitual snoring, lower waking pulse oxygen saturation (Spo2), reduced lung function, less caretaker education, and non–preterm birth. Lower sleep-related Spo2 metrics were also associated with higher obstructive apnea hypopnea indices. In multivariable analyses, habitual snoring and lower waking Spo2 remained risk factors for OSAS in children with SCA.
The prevalence of OSAS in children with SCA is higher than in the general pediatric population. Habitual snoring and lower waking Spo2 values, data easily obtained in routine care, were the strongest OSAS risk factors. Because OSAS is a treatable condition with adverse health outcomes, greater efforts are needed to screen, diagnose, and treat OSAS in this high-risk, vulnerable population.
PMCID: PMC4187233  PMID: 25022740
sickle cell anemia; obstructive sleep apnea; polysomnography; sleep disorders; epidemiology; cohort study; blood disorders; sleep medicine
4.  Using Parental Perceptions of Childhood Allergic Rhinitis to Inform Primary Care Management 
Clinical pediatrics  2014;53(8):758-763.
To describe parents’ experience with their child’s allergic rhinitis (AR) to inform management by the primary care provider (PCP).
Study Design
Two hundred parents with a child 7 to 15 years old with AR symptoms within the past 12-months completed a paper survey.
The child’s AR was identified as a significant problem in spring (89.3%), fall (63.4%), summer (50.3%) and winter (21.4%); 51.3% had persistent disease. AR symptoms most commonly interfered with the child’s outdoor activities and sleeping, and frequently bothered the parent and other family members. Most parents (88.3%) wanted to know what their child was allergic to and had many concerns about treatment options. 62.9% had sought AR care from the PCP in the past 12 months.
Many families experience significant morbidity from their child’s AR and turn to their PCP for help. We identified opportunities for the PCP to reduce AR morbidity.
PMCID: PMC4222999  PMID: 24803628
practice-based research network; allergic rhinitis
6.  The Vitamin D Antenatal Asthma Reduction Trial (VDAART): Rationale, design, and methods of a randomized, controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy for the primary prevention of asthma and allergies in children 
Contemporary clinical trials  2014;38(1):37-50.
There is intense interest in the role of vitamin D in the development of asthma and allergies. However, studies differ on whether a higher vitamin D intake or status in pregnancy or at birth is protective against asthma and allergies. To address this uncertainty, the Vitamin D Antenatal Asthma Reduction Trial (VDAART) was developed. VDAART is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women to determine whether prenatal supplementation can prevent the development of asthma and allergies in the women’s offspring. A secondary aim is to determine whether vitamin D supplementation can prevent the development of pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia, preterm birth, and gestational diabetes. Women were randomized to the treatment arm of 4,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 plus a daily multivitamin that contained 400 IU of vitamin D3 or the placebo arm of placebo plus a multivitamin that contained 400 IU daily of vitamin D3. Women who were between the gestational ages of 10–18 weeks were randomized from three clinical centers across the United States – Boston Medical Center, Washington University in St. Louis, and Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region (San Diego, CA). Supplementation took place throughout pregnancy. Monthly monitoring of urinary calcium to creatinine ratio was performed in addition to medical record review for adverse events. Offspring are being evaluated quarterly through questionnaires and yearly during in-person visits until the 3rd birthday of the child. Ancillary studies will investigate neonatal T-regulatory cell function, maternal vaginal flora, and maternal and child intestinal flora.
PMCID: PMC4086903  PMID: 24614387
Vitamin D; asthma; allergy; randomized controlled trial; Deveopmental Origins; prenatal
8.  Use of factor analysis models to evaluate measurement invariance property of the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) 
To demonstrate the assessment of measurement invariance property in a health status instrument and to increase the awareness of its importance, we evaluate the measurement invariance of the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) across age and gender subgroups.
Data are obtained from children 7–12 years of age at entry into a randomized trial, which evaluates the effect of a telephone coaching program on improving asthma outcome. Multi-group confirmatory factor analysis is used to assess the comparability of factor loadings and intercepts across age and gender subgroups. Since age is a continuous variable, two different categorizations (7–10 vs 11–12 and 7–9 vs 10–12) are analyzed.
The factor loadings and intercepts of all six items in ACQ are comparable across gender subgroups. Although the factor loadings are comparable across age 7–10 and 11–12 subgroups, one intercept is statistically but not practically different. For age 7–9 versus 10–12 subgroup comparison, the factor loadings are not comparable.
In children, the ACQ can be used to compare asthma control construct between boys and girls and between age 7–10 and 11–12 subgroups. Measurement invariance is an important property that should be examined when the latent construct(s) are compared across different subgroups.
PMCID: PMC3895493  PMID: 23868459
Asthma Control Questionnaire; Measurement invariance; Factor analysis
9.  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
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
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;163(5):10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.05.008.
To describe pediatric primary care providers’ attitudes toward retail clinics and their experiences of retail clinics use by their patients.
Study design
A 51-item, self-administered survey from four pediatric practice-based research networks from the Midwestern United States, which gauged providers’ attitudes toward and perceptions of their patients’ interactions with retail clinics, and changes to office practice to better compete.
A total of 226 providers participated (50% response). Providers believed that retail clinics were a business threat (80%) and disrupted continuity of chronic disease management (54%). Few (20%) agreed that retail clinics provided care within recommended clinical guidelines. Most (91%) reported that they provided additional care after a retail clinic visit (median 1–2 times per week) and 37% felt this resulted from suboptimal care at retail clinics “most or all of the time.” Few (15%) reported being notified by the retail clinic within 24 hours of a patient visit. Those reporting prompt communication were less likely to report suboptimal retail clinic care (OR 0.20, 95%CI 0.10 to 0.42) or disruption in continuity of care (OR 0.32, 95%CI 0.15 to 0.71). Thirty-six percent reported changes to office practice to compete with retail clinics (most commonly adjusting or extending office hours) and change was more likely if retail clinics were perceived as a threat (OR 3.70, 95%CI 1.56 to 8.76); 30% planned to make changes in the near future.
Based on the perceived business threat, pediatric providers are making changes to their practice to compete with retail clinics. Improved communication between the clinic and providers may improve collaboration.
PMCID: PMC3812257  PMID: 23810720
Retail clinic; practice-based research network
JAMA pediatrics  2013;167(9):845-850.
To describe the rationale and experiences of families with a pediatrician who also use retail clinics (RCs) for pediatric care.
Cross-sectional study
19 pediatric practices in a Midwestern practice-based research network
Self-administered paper survey
Parents attending the pediatrician’s office
Outcome Measures
Parents’ experience with RC care for their children
1484 parents (92% response) completed the survey. Parents (23%) who used RC for pediatric care were more likely to report RC care for themselves (OR 7.79, 95% CI, 5.13 to 11.84), have > 1 child (OR 2.16, 95%CI 1.55 to 3.02), and be older (OR 1.05, 95%CI 1.03 to 1.08). Seventy-four percent first considered going to the pediatrician but reported they chose the RC because the RC had more convenient hours (37%), no office appointment was available (25%), they did not want to bother the pediatrician after hours (15%), or because the problem was not serious enough (13%). Forty-six percent of RC visits occurred between 8am and 4pm on weekdays or 8am and noon on the weekend. Most commonly, visits were reportedly for acute upper respiratory illnesses (34% sore throat, 26% ear infection, 19% colds or flu) and for physicals (13%). While 7% recalled the RC indicating they would inform the pediatrician of the visit, only 42% informed the pediatrician themselves.
Parents with established relationships with a pediatrician most commonly took their children to RCs for care because access was convenient. Almost half the visits occurred when the pediatricians’ offices were likely open.
PMCID: PMC4019395  PMID: 23877236
Retail clinic; practice-based research network
13.  Recurrent, severe wheezing is associated with morbidity and mortality in adults with sickle cell disease 
American journal of hematology  2011;86(9):756-761.
Prior studies of asthma in children with sickle cell disease (SCD) were based on reports of a doctor-diagnosis of asthma with limited description of asthma features. Doctor-diagnoses of asthma may represent asthma or wheezing unrelated to asthma. Objectives of this study were to determine if asthma characteristics are present in adults with a doctor-diagnosis of asthma and/or wheezing, and to examine the relationship between doctor-diagnosis of asthma, wheezing and SCD morbidity. This was an observational cohort study of 114 adults with SCD who completed respiratory symptom questionnaires and had serum IgE measurements. A subset of 79 participants completed pulmonary function testing. Survival analysis was based on a mean prospective follow-up of 28 months and data were censored at the time of death or loss to follow-up. Adults reporting a doctor-diagnosis of asthma (N = 34) were more likely to have features of asthma including wheeze, eczema, family history of asthma, and an elevated IgE level (all P < 0.05). However, there was no difference in pain or ACS rate, lung function, or risk of death between adults with and without a doctor-diagnosis of asthma. In contrast, adults who reported recurrent, severe episodes of wheezing (N = 34), regardless of asthma, had twice the rates of pain and ACS, decreased lung function and increased risk of death compared with adults without recurrent, severe wheezing. Asthma features were not associated with recurrent, severe wheezing. Our data suggest that wheezing in SCD may occur independently of asthma and is a marker of disease severity.
PMCID: PMC4103016  PMID: 21809369
14.  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
15.  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
16.  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
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
18.  Azithromycin or Montelukast as Inhaled Corticosteroid-Sparing Agents in Moderate to Severe Childhood Asthma Study 
Clinical trials in children with moderate to severe persistent asthma are limited.
To determine if azithromycin or montelukast are inhaled corticosteroid-sparing.
The budesonide dose [with salmeterol (50 mcg) twice daily] necessary to achieve control was determined in children 6–17 years of age with moderate to severe persistent asthma. After a budesonide-stable period of 6 weeks, children were randomized in a double-masked, parallel, multi-center study to receive once nightly azithromycin, montelukast, or matching placebos, plus the established controlling dose of budesonide (minimum 400 mcg BID) and salmeterol twice daily. Primary outcome was time from randomization to inadequate asthma control following sequential budesonide dose reduction.
Of 292 children screened, only 55 were randomized. Inadequate adherence to study medication (n=80) and improved asthma control under close medical supervision (n=49) were the major reasons for randomization failure. A futility analysis was requested by the Data Safety Monitoring Board. In data available for analyses, no differences were noted for either treatment compared to placebo in time to inadequate control status (median, weeks (95% CL) azithromycin: 8.4 (4.3, 17.3), montelukast 13.9 (4.7, 20.6), placebo 19.1 (11.7, infinity)), with no difference between the groups (logrank test, p = 0.49). The futility analysis indicated that even if the planned sample size was reached, results of this negative study were unlikely to be different and the trial was prematurely terminated.
Based upon these results, neither azithromycin nor montelukast is likely to be an effective ICS-sparing alternative in children with moderate to severe persistent asthma.
PMCID: PMC2737448  PMID: 18951618
Asthma; Moderate to severe; Children; Macrolide; Leukotriene receptor antagonist; Clinical trial
19.  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
21.  ITGB5 and AGFG1 variants are associated with severity of airway responsiveness 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:86.
Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), a primary characteristic of asthma, involves increased airway smooth muscle contractility in response to certain exposures. We sought to determine whether common genetic variants were associated with AHR severity.
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of AHR, quantified as the natural log of the dosage of methacholine causing a 20% drop in FEV1, was performed with 994 non-Hispanic white asthmatic subjects from three drug clinical trials: CAMP, CARE, and ACRN. Genotyping was performed on Affymetrix 6.0 arrays, and imputed data based on HapMap Phase 2, was used to measure the association of SNPs with AHR using a linear regression model. Replication of primary findings was attempted in 650 white subjects from DAG, and 3,354 white subjects from LHS. Evidence that the top SNPs were eQTL of their respective genes was sought using expression data available for 419 white CAMP subjects.
The top primary GWAS associations were in rs848788 (P-value 7.2E-07) and rs6731443 (P-value 2.5E-06), located within the ITGB5 and AGFG1 genes, respectively. The AGFG1 result replicated at a nominally significant level in one independent population (LHS P-value 0.012), and the SNP had a nominally significant unadjusted P-value (0.0067) for being an eQTL of AGFG1.
Based on current knowledge of ITGB5 and AGFG1, our results suggest that variants within these genes may be involved in modulating AHR. Future functional studies are required to confirm that our associations represent true biologically significant findings.
PMCID: PMC3765944  PMID: 23984888
Asthma; Airway hyperresponsiveness; Genome-wide association study; ITGB5; AGFG1
22.  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
23.  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
24.  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
25.  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

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