Researchers find smoking may increase risk for lung disease

March 9, 2011

A team of researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that approximately one out of every twelve adult smokers have abnormal lung densities present on chest computed tomography (CT) images suggestive of interstitial lung disease which is associated with substantial reductions in lung volumes. In addition, despite being positively associated with smoking, these lung densities were inversely not associated with emphysema. This research is published online on March 10th in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It is increasingly acknowledged that interstitial may evolve prior to the development of symptoms. Although it is known that smoking can cause some forms of interstitial lung disease, the prevalence of these chest CT scan abnormalities and their effect on lung volumes had been unclear. “This manuscript highlights the degree of lung volume reduction associated to previously unrecognized interstitial lung abnormalities in smokers,” said Hiroto Hatabu, MD, and Ivan Rosas, MD of the Divisions of Radiology and Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine at BWH.

In this study, researchers characterized the presence of interstitial lung abnormalities in 2416 participants from the COPDGene study. The researchers found that interstitial lung abnormalities are associated with both reduced total lung capacity and less emphysema in smokers. The team also found that smokers with interstitial lung abnormalities are at an increased risk for a restrictive reduced lung oxygen volume.lung deficit.

“The fact that smoking can result in distinct, and to some degree, physiologically divergent pulmonary conditions highlights the need for a better understanding of the phenotypic, environmental, and genetic backgrounds that can predispose to diverse pulmonary diseases,” said George Washko, MD, and Gary Hunninghake, MD, of the Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine at BWH.

Further research is needed to definitely characterize the link between interstitial lung abnormalities present on chest CT and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the most common and severe form of interstitial lung disease.

Explore further: New system for classifying infant lung disease developed

Related Stories

New system for classifying infant lung disease developed

November 30, 2007

A new classification system of rare lung diseases in infants is improving diagnosis and treatment. The system clears up considerable confusion about how to classify and treat diseases that are rarely seen by most doctors ...

Rare lung disease cells indicate higher death risk

January 16, 2008

Large numbers of certain cells in the lungs of patients diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis may increase their chance of death, University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers have discovered.

New mediator of smoking recruits

April 24, 2009

Current research suggests that smoking increases the production of osteopontin in the lungs, which contributes to the development of smoking-related lung disease. The related report by Prasse et al, "Essential role of osteopontin ...

New test could identify smokers at risk of emphysema

April 6, 2010

Using CT scans to measure blood flow in the lungs of people who smoke may offer a way to identify which smokers are most at risk of emphysema before the disease damages and eventually destroys areas of the lungs, according ...

CT screening reduces lung-cancer deaths in heavy smokers

November 19, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Studying heavy smokers, the National Cancer Institute’s 33-center National Lung Screening Trial found that significantly fewer who were screened with low-dose CT scans died from lung cancer than heavy ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

aroven
5 / 5 (1) Mar 09, 2011
Oh. My. God...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.