Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tall and Thin Not So Great for Mycobacterial Disease

24.01.2013
Tall, thin women face a greater risk of infection with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), cousins of the organism that causes tuberculosis, according to researchers at National Jewish Health. Women with NTM infections also showed a weakened immune response associated with their fat cells, in a paper published in the current issue of The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care.
“Nontuberculous mycobacteria are widespread in the environment, yet only some people develop infections,” said Edward Chan, MD, senior author and professor of medicine at National Jewish Health. “These findings help us identify who is at greater risk for the disease, and may point to more effective therapies down the road.”

There are dozens of NTM species. Although the organisms can infect skin and other body parts, they most commonly infect the lungs. Lung infections are very difficult to treat, often requiring surgery and years of therapy with powerful intravenous antibiotics. NTM infections can be fatal. Evidence suggests that infections have been rising in recent decades.

NTM species are widespread in water and soil, yet only about five to six people per 100,000 develop NTM infections each year; the incidence is higher in individuals older than 50. An estimated 30,000 to 120,000 people in the US currently have NTM infections. Researchers at National Jewish Health, which sees more NTM infections than any other medical center in the world, tried to figure out why only some exposed patients develop these difficult infections.

Elderly women represent the vast majority of NTM patients, accounting for 85 percent of the patients seen at National Jewish Health during the study, and averaging about 64 years of age. The researchers chose to compare the NTM patients with control subjects at an osteoporosis clinic because these individuals were similar age, race, and gender as the NTM patients.

When compared to the women visiting the osteoporosis clinic, the NTM patients were on average almost two inches taller, had body mass indices almost two points lower and 5.7 pounds less fat on their bodies. The NTM patients also more frequently had concave chests, a condition known as pectus excavatum, and scoliosis, or curvature of the spine.

“Tall, thin women definitely appear to be more susceptible to NTM infections,” said Dr. Chan. “They share some characteristics of people with Marfan syndrome. Since Marfan syndrome is caused by a mutation in the fibrillin-1 gene, we plan to look at that gene as a potential source of NTM susceptibility.”

In addition to body type, NTM patients also differed in their immune response. Fat cells produce hormones, leptin and adiponectin, known to regulate both weight and immune function. Leptin production generally increases as people grow fatter. It also helps stimulate the immune system to fight infections. Adiponectin, an immunosuppressive hormone, generally decreases as people grow fatter. While these standard relationships held for the control subjects, they broke down for NTM patients with levels of these fat-derived hormones varying only minimally with body fat in NTM patients.

“In addition to body type, NTM patients also appeared to have some dysregulation of their immune response, which could increase their susceptibility to NTM infections,” said co-author Michael Iseman, MD, professor of medicine at National Jewish Health.

National Jewish Health is known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medical research. Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health remains the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to these disorders. U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish the #1 respiratory hospital in the nation for 15 consecutive years.

William Allstetter | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.njhealth.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>