Asthma can be caused by office work but finding and tackling the cause can keep employees in work

New research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress [1] suggests that the seemingly innocuous environment of an office can cause asthma in some workers. The study found a variety of triggers from printer toner and cleaning products to poor ventilation and mould circulating in air conditioning. It also found that employees with asthma […]

Physical activity during pregnancy is linked to lung function in offspring

Researchers have found further evidence that exercise during pregnancy is good not only for mothers but also for their offspring. In research presented at the ‘virtual’ European Respiratory Society International Congress [1], Dr Hrefna Katrin Gudmundsdottir said that a study of 814 babies had, for the first time, shown a link between lower lung function […]

Modest differences in lung function could help spot people at risk of sudden cardiac death

People who have modestly but measurably worse lung function are more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death (SCD), according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress. [1] SCD is an unexpected death that results from a sudden malfunction in the heart and in many people who suffer SCD, there are no previous […]

Hotter weather is linked to increases in COPD exacerbations

Warmer weather is linked to a worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms, according to research to be presented at the ‘virtual’ European Respiratory Society International Congress [1]. Analysis of data from 1,177 current and former smokers with COPD in the USA showed that approximately two days after an increase in ambient temperatures, there […]

Researchers develop all-in-one test for the avoidance of de novo genetic disease in embryos

De novo variants (DNVs), genetic mutations that were not previously identifiable in the family history of one of two prospective parents, may cause disease in any children they have. Where a disease-causing DNV is present in one parent, the risk of passing it to a child can be as high as 50% and being able […]

Identification of the genetic causes of childhood epilepsy shows the way to improved treatment and care

Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological diseases, affecting more than 50 million people worldwide. Although it is believed that a large proportion of childhood-onset epilepsies are caused by genetic changes, it remains unknown precisely how many of these patients suffer from a genetic disorder and how often the treatment can be targeted […]

Genetic data privacy, the GDPR, and research needs: a delicate balance

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has created a great deal of uncertainty about how key requirements should be interpreted. This means that collaborators in international genetic research projects do not always agree on fundamental issues such as whether they are processing personal data, consent requirements under the GDPR and on what basis genetic […]

Finish the course: new genetic understanding of lack of adherence to medication will aid in the identification of patients at risk

How strictly patients follow a prescribed drug treatment (drug adherence) is clearly important if the therapy is to have maximum effect. A number of things can affect adherence, including behavioural and socioeconomic factors, but to date there have been few investigations into the role played by genetics. Now, research to be presented at the annual […]

Genetic risk scores can aid accurate diagnosis of epilepsy

Although epilepsy is a relatively common condition, affecting approximately 1% of individuals worldwide, it is often difficult to diagnose in clinical practice, and it is estimated that up to a quarter of all cases may be misdiagnosed initially. Epilepsy is often inherited, and recent research has shown that sufferers have elevated polygenic risk scores1 (PRSs) […]

Dried blood spots from newborn screening can help identify the cause of sudden cardiac death in the young

The underlying cause of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in a young person is often difficult to identify. A genetic analysis could provide more information in many cases, but blood samples are not collected routinely at the time of death, and DNA extracted from the tissues collected at autopsy is damaged because of the way they […]