Browsing Department of Pediatrics: Faculty Research and Presentations by Subjects
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Blood lead level and risk of asthma.Asthma and lead poisoning are prevalent among urban children in the United States. Lead exposure may be associated with excessive production of immunoglobulin E, possibly increasing asthma risk and contributing to racial disparities. The objective of this study was to examine racial differences in the association of blood lead level (BLL) to risk of developing asthma. We established and followed a cohort prospectively to determine asthma onset, using patient encounters and drug claims obtained from hospital databases. Participants were managed care enrollees with BLL measured and documented at 1-3 years of age. We used multiple variable analysis techniques to determine the relationship of BLL to period prevalent and incident asthma. Of the 4,634 children screened for lead from 1995 through 1998, 69.5% were African American, 50.5% were male, and mean age was 1.2 years. Among African Americans, BLL > or = 5 and BLL > or = 10 microg/dL were not associated with asthma. The association of BLL > or = 5 microg/dL with asthma among Caucasians was slightly elevated, but not significant [adjusted hazard ratio (adjHR) = 1.4; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.7-2.9; p = 0.40]. Despite the small number of Caucasians with high BLL, the adjHR increased to 2.7 (95% CI, 0.9-8.1; p = 0.09) when more stringent criteria for asthma were used. When compared with Caucasians with BLL < 5 microg/dL, African Americans were at a significantly increased risk of asthma regardless of BLL (adjHR = 1.4-3.0). We conclude that an effect of BLL on risk of asthma for African Americans was not observed. These results demonstrate the need for further exploration of the complex interrelationships between race, asthma phenotype, genetic susceptibilities, and socioenvironmental exposures, including lead.
The role of indoleamine 2, 3 dioxygenase in regulating host immunity to leishmania infectionPathogen persistence in immune-competent hosts represents an immunological paradox. Increasing evidence suggests that some pathogens, such as, Leishmania major (L. major) have evolved strategies and mechanisms that actively suppress host adaptive immunity. If this notion is correct conventional vaccination therapies may be ineffective in enhancing host immunity, unless natural processes that suppress host immunity are also targeted therapeutically. The key problem is that the basis of pathogen persistence in immune-competent individuals is unknown, despite decades of intense research. This fact, coupled with poor health care and a dearth of effective treatments means that these diseases will remain a scourge on humans unless a better understanding of why the immune system tolerates such infections emerges from research. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) has been shown to act as a molecular switch regulating host responses, and IDO inhibitor drugs shown to possess potential in enhancing host immunity to established leishmania infections. It is hoped that this review will help stimulate and help generate critical new knowledge pertaining to the IDO mechanism and how to exploit it to suppress T cell mediated immunity, thus offer an innovative approach to studying the basis of chronic leishmania infection in mice.
Unnecessary Workup of Asymptomatic Neonates in the Era of Group B Streptococcus ProphylaxisAsymptomatic term neonates born to mothers who are Group B Streptococcus (GBS) unknown or GBS positive but â inadequatelyâ treated prior to delivery do not require invasive laboratory evaluation. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of mother/baby dyads born from January 1, 2005 until September 30, 2007 at the Medical College of Georgia. Their current protocol is to obtain a Complete Blood Count with Differential (CBC with D), Blood Culture (BC), and C-reactive protein (CRP) after birth. Mother/baby dyads (n = 242) that met inclusion criteria were reviewed. Of these 242 babies 25 (10%) were started on antibiotics after the initial lab values were known. None of the blood cultures were positive and the CRP's were normal. The 2002 GBS guidelines call for laboratory evaluation of â at-riskâ neonates, but the workup of these babies is not only costly, it does not provide any advantage over old fashioned clinical observation for the evaluation and treatment of early onset GBS sepsis.