• Hot Off The Press!
  • Breathe Better, Live in Wellness- Winning Your Battle Over Shortness of Breath by Jane Martin, RRT is newly on the market. Her first book was the well-received Inspirations: Stories of Breathing Better and Living Well. Call 1-877-289-2665 or go to http://www.buybooksontheweb.com if you want to buy one at $17.95. If your group orders 6 or more they are only $8.98 a book. Call 1-877-BUY-BOOK (877-289-2665) for information on this bargain. Nice job, Jane!
  • Have you ever seen a copy of Breathin' Easy or accessed its website at http://www.breathineasy.com? If so, you know what a treasure this book is for the traveler with respiratory problems. Jerry Gorby is the energetic, fun loving editor of this labor of love. Being 24/7 oxygen dependent for many years has not stopped Jerry, and his lovely wife Eleanore, from roaming the roads, skies, seas and rails. He wanted to share his know-how and experiences with others on oxygen, and the result has been Breathin' Easy, now on its 7th edition. It is a must for any pulmonary rehab program library and a bargain at only $28.60, shipping included. Call 1-888-699-4360 for further information.
  • Battery-powered oxygen concentrator ("Life Style")
  • Dr. Tom Petty tells us that he is looking at a new 9.75 pound battery powered oxygen concentrator developed by AirSep, and called "Life Style". It provides an FIO2 of 95% at up to five liters per minute. Translated into English...that's good! There is a rechargeable battery, which lasts 45 minutes. It recharges again in two hours using AC or DC currents as well as the cigarette lighter in the car. (At last, a use for the cigarette lighter!) When not being carried around, it can be continuously recharged in car, home, or office. It uses a conserver, is easy to look at, and is sold by dealers directly to patients. Since it costs between $4,000 and $5,000 it may be a possibility for the affluent but is not yet much of an option for people on a fixed low income. The FAA may soon approve it for use on an aircraft as a "battery powered breathing assister." It does not change the level of oxygen in the cabin of aircraft, of course. Gerry Gorby gave the Life Style a test run on his 8,600 mile cross-country driving trip and said he loves it. One problem with this unit, besides the short battery life, is that it cannot be switched to continuous oxygen, which is a real disadvantage for many of our patients. Nevertheless, Dr. Petty cautiously thinks the technology is a real advance. Another inventor says he is bringing Dr. Petty a 7-pound prototype concentrator in late April. We will let you know his evaluation of the potential of that unit. Keep reading and we will keep you posted on what is new!
  • News from rehabilitation
  • Congratulations and best wishes to Genny Schaniel, who successfully graduated from the great rehab program at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, CA. We knew you could do it, Gen!
  • Congratulations to Warren Mittelholz and the others in his class, recently graduated from one of our favorite pulmonary rehab programs at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, in Long Beach, CA. Warren apparently told everyone in the class that they must subscribe to the Second Wind. We modestly decline to disagree.
  • We Need Your Help! CSPR (the California Society for Pulmonary Rehabilitation) would like to keep an up-to-date listing of all support groups in the state of California. Will you help us by calling 1-310-539-8390 if you think that your group is not yet listed? There are a lot of physicians, as well as folks with pulmonary disease, who could benefit by your phone call and this listing.
  • How many years ago did you first figure out that staying physically active made you healthier and kept you out of the hospital? Well, you were way ahead of the game!. A recent study published in prestigious medical journal Thorax (2003;58:100-105) again proved what all of us know. Exercise works! The headline reads Remaining Physically Active Seems to Reduce Hospital Readmission for COPD. Many of you already know this but it's nice to see it formally acknowledged.
  • Donations
  • Jeanne Rife and the PEP Pioneers made donations in memory of Florine Love, Patricia Redmon, Donald Kellog and Lucille Miricle, Tjaakje Heidema in memory of John Heidema. The ING Community Matching Gifts program made a donation. Kevin Hettich made a donation to the Chair in honor of Mary Burns. Thanks, Kevin!
  • We get mail...
  • Jim writes that he was recently in the hospital with pneumonia. While receiving an inhalation treatment from a therapist, a housekeeper sprayed a 5-foot area of the floor near him, which was covered with blood. He was told that it was a sterilization cleaner with an inert propellant which concerned him. He wanted our opinion and an Internet connection to check on the safety of the spray.
  • If you know what a product is, you can check the Material Data Safety Sheet on the Internet for detailed information. This is the official site for verifying if a product can cause any harm. Hospitals generally will not use chemicals that can easily provoke reactions in sensitive individuals, even though they need to be extra cautious about cleanliness, germs and blood contamination. (We hope it wasn't your blood!). Housekeeping departments are monitored carefully on the products that they must use. Blood on a floor is a particular source of potential problems. However, it is doubtful that a brief exposure to a spray such as this can have long lasting consequences. We do sympathize with the concern you felt, however, when you were already short of breath and fighting for air. Odors of any kind can cause some temporary discomfort but perfume is probably the worst offender. Nurses, therapists, and sometimes even visitors, are warned about using scents of any kind, when around respiratory patients. We hope you are now up and about. And if you are one of those unfortunate individuals especially sensitive to odors, don't forget those you yourself may be using! Try using unscented soaps and aftershave lotion when you are trying to scent-proof your environment. Good luck!
  • John wrote asking about the status of Retinoic acid research, and how he could volunteer for stem cell research on the lung. We referred this on directly to Dr. Casaburi. He answered:
  • Retinoic acid research is proceeding with a number of animal and cell culture studies and one modest-sized human study now underway. The initial very small human study showed no benefit...but the study design may not have been optimal. The best news is that at pharmaceutical companies are working to find "better molecules" related to retinoic acid and seem committed to putting in the money required to test their effectiveness. It will be some years before we can be sure that this approach is successful. I have no knowledge of stem cell approaches being used for therapy of patients with lung disease.
    I hope this is of help.
    Rich Casaburi

  • Do you have a question about respiratory disease that has been bothering you? If so, feel free to write and ask us, either through our web site or by mail. We answer all of your letters.