Evidence
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Vitamin D supplements can reduce risk of asthma attacks

People with mild to moderate asthma experience fewer severe asthma attacks if they take vitamin D supplements. This review found that the average number of asthma attacks was equivalent to about one every four years in those taking vitamin D, compared to nearly one every two years in those taking a placebo. Half as many ...

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Intermittent inhaled steroids reduce asthma attacks in wheezing preschool children

Regular daily steroid inhalers reduce the number of severe asthma exacerbations requiring soluble tablets or injections in wheezing preschool children by about a third. Intermittent high-dose steroid inhalers, given only when symptoms of a cold begin, were also effective for children with occasional asthma or wheezing triggered by a virus. This strategy may reduce the ...

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Questionnaires directed at smokers improve detection of chronic lung disease in general practice

Practices using questionnaires to identify individuals at risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) increased the number of new cases found. In particular, posting questionnaires may be more effective than waiting for people to attend the GP surgery. Many people with COPD may dismiss or ignore symptoms such as chronic cough. Taking a more proactive ...

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Potential alternative to painful blood tests in people with flare-ups of COPD

It may be possible to use venous blood and pulse oximeters to initially assess the severity of a flare up of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Blood gas levels were similar in people when testing blood from either arteries (the recommended test) or veins. Oxygen saturation using pulse oximeters – which attach to the end ...

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High-flow oxygen therapy may be a useful alternative to other forms of breathing support for preterm babies

This systematic review found high-flow oxygen delivered by nose was as effective and safe as other non-invasive methods of breathing support for preterm babies. The numbers of treatment failures, deaths and rates of chronic lung disease were similar. Most studies were of high-flow oxygen for babies after tubes used for ventilation had been removed. For ...

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Chest physiotherapy for acute bronchiolitis is ineffective and may be harmful

Chest physiotherapy for acute bronchiolitis in children under two has no benefits and may be harmful, according to a systematic review published by the Cochrane Collaboration. The research looked at three different types of chest physiotherapy. It found that none of the techniques helped children with bronchiolitis recover more quickly or led to any improvement ...

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A self-completed questionnaire may help alert people with sleep apnoea to the need for proper diagnosis

More use could be made of the STOP-Bang questionnaire as a self-completed ‘first check’ for detecting obstructive sleep apnoea or in selected people before surgery. The downside is that a high rate of false positives, identified by this review, means that many people in the community without the condition might test positive and receive unnecessary ...

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Continuous positive airway pressure treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea linked to fewer recurrences of heart rhythm abnormalities

Treating a common sleep-related breathing condition almost halved the chance of recurrent atrial fibrillation (AF, see Definitions). However, most of the included studies were observational. This makes it difficult to rule out the possibility of bias in choosing which patients to treat and therefore reduces our confidence in the size of this effect. The breathing ...

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Shared decision making in primary care can reduce antibiotic prescribing

Strategies, known as shared decision making, reduced antibiotic prescribing for people with acute respiratory infections by almost 40% in the short term (up to six weeks). This Cochrane systematic review compared the strategies that promote better discussions between doctor and patient about benefits and harms of treatment in primary care. Interventions were a mix of ...

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Breathing training before major surgery may reduce lung complications afterwards

This review found that physiotherapist-led training in breathing before heart or major abdominal surgery was associated with a reduced risk of lung collapse or pneumonia after surgery. There was no evidence that it reduced the numbers of people ventilated for 48 hours or more, or the chance of death after the operation. Post-operative lung complications ...

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