Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


COPD patients at risk of dangerous bacterial infections

It is well known that COPD patients run a higher risk of contracting respiratory infections. However, a new thesis from Lund University in Sweden shows that they are also at higher risk of other bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis (TB) and pneumococcal and staphylococcal infections that can cause serious illness.
The abbreviation COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the disease makes it difficult for patients to breathe. However, the disease affects other organs as well as the lungs. It is also linked to an increased risk of conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart failure.

“Despite this, until now most focus has been on respiratory infections; infections in other organs have not been studied to the same extent”, says Dr Malin Inghammar.

In her thesis, Dr Inghammar has shown that individuals in Sweden who have been diagnosed with COPD have a three times higher risk of active tuberculosis than the population in general. They are also at higher risk of invasive pneumococcal disease, a type of infection that can cause meningitis and septicaemia.

In another study, Malin Inghammar has looked at the presence of bacteria in the blood of COPD patients and control subjects from the general population. A wide range of bacteria, such as coliform bacteria and staphylococcus aureus, were seen to be 2.5 times more frequent in the blood of patients with COPD.

Tuberculosis is a rare disease in Sweden, so the association between COPD and TB is not of great importance in Sweden. However, the association could be important for countries such as India and China, where TB is still a common disease and where smoking is on the increase. Doctors may need to have increased awareness of dangerous infection-causing bacteria in any country.

“The next step is to study what causes the link. Does the cortisone treatment that is usually given to COPD patients make them vulnerable to infections? Or is the susceptibility to infection due to other factors, such as the weight loss, muscle weakness and anaemia that are associated with the condition?” asks Malin Inghammar.

Her findings could in the future lead to changes in the treatment of COPD. If COPD patients are at extra high risk of hospital-acquired infections, then perhaps more care should be taken before admitting them to hospital, and greater reflection made on all the factors that could entail an increased risk of infection.

The thesis is entitled Epidemiological studies of severe infections in COPD and was presented on 11 January.

Malin Inghammar can be reached on +46 709 10 39 97 or

Helga Ekdahl Heun | idw
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Antioxidants cause malignant melanoma to metastasize faster
09.10.2015 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Finding cannabinoids in hair does not prove cannabis consumption
07.10.2015 | Universitätsklinikum Freiburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Reliable in-line inspections of high-strength automotive body parts within seconds

Nondestructive material testing (NDT) is a fast and effective way to analyze the quality of a product during the manufacturing process. Because defective materials can lead to malfunctioning finished products, NDT is an essential quality assurance measure, especially in the manufacture of safety-critical components such as automotive B-pillars. NDT examines the quality without damaging the component or modifying the surface of the material. At this year's Blechexpo trade fair in Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IZFP will have an exhibit that demonstrates the nondestructive testing of high-strength automotive body parts using 3MA. The measurement results are available in a matter of seconds.

To minimize vehicle weight and fuel consumption while providing the highest level of crash safety, automotive bodies are reinforced with elements made from...

Im Focus: Kick-off for a new era of precision astronomy

The MICADO camera, a first light instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: by agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding, the partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy, have all confirmed their participation. Following this milestone, the project's transition into its preliminary design phase was approved at a kick-off meeting held in Vienna. Two weeks earlier, on September 18, the consortium and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is building the telescope, have signed the corresponding collaboration agreement.

As the first dedicated camera for the E-ELT, MICADO will equip the giant telescope with a capability for diffraction-limited imaging at near-infrared...

Im Focus: Locusts at the wheel: University of Graz investigates collision detector inspired by insect eyes

Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.

Inspired by insects

Im Focus: Physicists shrink particle accelerator

Prototype demonstrates feasibility of building terahertz accelerators

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...

Im Focus: Simple detection of magnetic skyrmions

New physical effect: researchers discover a change of electrical resistance in magnetic whirls

At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing healthcare and sustainably strengthening healthcare systems

01.10.2015 | Event News

Conference in Brussels: Tracking and Tracing the Smallest Marine Life Forms

30.09.2015 | Event News

World Alzheimer`s Day – Professor Willnow: Clearer Insights into the Development of the Disease

17.09.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Unexpected information about Earth's climate history from Yellow River sediment

09.10.2015 | Earth Sciences

Single atom alloy platinum-copper catalysts cut costs, boost green technology

09.10.2015 | Life Sciences

Indefatigable Hearing

09.10.2015 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>