Canadian Lung Association Blog

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Got milk; need answers: New research looks at breast milk in asthma prevention

Imagine a nutritional food source that gives your baby exactly what she needs, when she needs it. Breast milk is just that. It provides your baby with nutrients, helps fight off infections and changes as the baby’s needs change. And yet, it might have even more benefits than that. Dr. Meghan Azad is a Winnipeg-based researcher and a recipient of Canadian Respiratory Research Network ERLI award, who is committed to learning just what other super powers this nourishment holds. “We’re looking at how breast milk potentially protects babies from developing asthma,” she explains, adding “So far, we’re seeing early signs

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Posted in Asthma, Research

My Experience With Lung Cancer – Epilogue


[See previous posts – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6] On March 17, 2016, 26 months after receiving her diagnosis of lung cancer, Dr. Terry-Nan Tannenbaum passed away. The courage with which she struggled against lung cancer is evident from the six instalments of her blog. The Lung Association was truly blessed to have a friend such as Dr. Terry-Nan Tannenbaum. From 1999 to 2006, Terry-Nan was the Medical Director of a project to develop a TB control program in Ecuador. The project was funded by CIDA through the Canadian Lung Association. During this time, Ecuador went from having the

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Posted in Lung Cancer, Research, Stories, TB

5 minutes with Dr. Don Sin


What is the focus of your research? My research interests include finding new solutions to reduce the growing burden of COPD and new therapies to treat COPD-related co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease. COPD is the fourth-leading cause of death in Canada and the number-one cause of hospital admissions.  On average, patients remain in hospital for 10 days at a cost of $10,000 per patient, with the total amount cost of such hospitalizations estimated to be more than $2 billion. And yet, despite being one of the most common lung diseases, COPD frequently remains undetected due to inadequate diagnostic tools. Part

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Posted in COPD, Research

5 minutes with Drs. Michael Brauer and Sarah Henderson

Brauer and Henderson

Why do research on the AirCare program? Vehicle emissions monitoring programs, such as AirCare, have been introduced in many parts of the world, but there have not been any studies describing how they impact public health. However, many studies have shown that life expectancy is shorter in cities with more air pollution, and there are more deaths on days when air pollution levels are high. It follows that programs like AirCare have the potential to prolong lives by reducing both the long-term and short-term air pollution exposures of people who live within the affected areas. What impact did AirCare have

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Posted in Air Quality, Lung Health, Research

5 minutes with Dr. Jeremy Hirota


What’s the focus of your research? I study the relationship between the air we breathe and how this may impact airway diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cystic fibrosis. Every day, we breathe more than 10,000 litres of air into our lungs just to survive. A variety of substances in the air can irritate the airways leading to coughing, wheezing, mucus production, and if bad enough, hospitalization. Unfortunately, for both healthy individuals and those suffering from airway diseases, it is difficult to control the air we breathe and we do not completely understand how poor air quality influences our

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Posted in Air Quality, Research

5 minutes with Dr. Mark FitzGerald


A champion of health literacy Many people have difficulty understanding and acting upon health information. This “low health literacy” has been linked to poorer management of chronic conditions, less use of preventive services, increased preventable hospitalizations, and worse overall health. Lung health community leader Dr. Mark FitzGerald is passionate about health literacy and is determined to tear down the historical barriers that limit effective communication. Working with colleague Dr. Iraj Poureslami, he invests significant time initiating and undertaking projects aimed at demonstrating the importance of investment in health literacy. Talk about your asthma literacy project. BC is home to 16 percent of all

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Posted in Lung Health, Research

5 minutes with Dr. Chris Carlsten


What’s the focus of your research? Our research focuses on the relationship between air pollution and public health. We look at how pollution particles affect the way genes are expressed in the body. One of our most recent studies demonstrated how two hours of exposure to diesel exhaust fumes can lead to fundamental health-related changes in biology by switching some genes on, while switching others off. How did your study work? We put volunteers in a polycarbonate-enclosed booth — about the size of a standard bathroom — while breathing in diluted and aged exhaust fumes that are about equal to

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Posted in Air Quality, Lung Health, Research

5 minutes with Dr. Pat Camp


What is pulmonary rehabilitation? Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program of exercise, education, and support to help patients with chronic lung conditions learn to breathe—and function—at the highest level possible. A typical program lasts six to eight weeks. We spend about half the time on physical exercise, and the rest providing information and tips about living with a lung condition and getting the best out of life. Topics include breathing techniques, how to manage stress, healthy eating, proper use of inhalers and medicines, and what to do when you’re experiencing a symptom flare-up. It’s a proven treatment that works, but is

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Posted in Lung Health, Research

5 minutes with Dr. Stephen Lam


Why is research into early detection of lung cancer so important? One in 12 Canadians will receive a lung cancer diagnosis in his or her lifetime. Lung cancer accounts for more than a quarter of cancer deaths in Canada. Unlike routine screening tests for colon, cervical or breast cancer, there is no widely accepted screening tool to detect lung cancer at an early stage. The high survival rates seen in other cancers is largely due to easily accessible national screening programs. By contrast, the 5-year survival rate for lung cancer remains at 17 percent, the lowest of all the major

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Posted in Lung Cancer, Lung Health, Research

Dr. Nasreen Khalil’s Story: A life dedicated to unravelling the mystery of a little known, lethal lung disease

Dr. Khalil's Story - IPF

Currently based at the University of British Columbia Dr. Khalil has dedicated much of her life’s work to understanding and treating IPF, raising the profile of the disease, and obtaining much-needed research funding. It was during her respirology fellowship some 20 years ago that Dr. Khalil first became captivated by IPF.  Previously viewed as an inflammatory disease similar to asthma or COPD, Dr. Khalil andher team discovered that IPF is actually a disease of the lung tissue. “This disease is insidious,” explains Dr. Khalil. “Many people cannot pinpoint exactly when they noticed becoming short of breath – usually when doing regular

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Posted in Pulmonary fibrosis, Research, Stories