Emory University pulmonology researchers are recruiting patients for a study to analyze how ozone levels in the environment affect a person's innate nasal defenses and their ability to protect healthy lung function.
"We know that high ozone levels can make asthma worse," says the study's principal investigator Sumita Khatri, MD MS, an assistant professor in the division of pulmonary & critical care medicine, Emory University School of Medicine. "We're specifically looking to see whether the mechanism of this is due to decreased antioxidant defenses in the noses of asthmatics that render the asthmatics more susceptible to pulmonary symptoms than other individuals."
Researchers are enrolling 44 asthmatics and 20 non-asthmatics between the ages of 18-75 years old to participate in the Serial Nasal Oxidant-Defense Testing (SNOT) in Asthma study. The study will evaluate their lung functions, as well as how nasal antioxidant activity may act as a biochemical filter for pollutants such as ozone, thereby decreasing airway inflammation.
Two three-hour visits at Emory Crawford Long Hospital's Clinical Research Center will be required of each participant, one during high ozone season (May-September) and one during low ozone season (October-April). Participant's involvement in the study will include symptom questionnaires, medical and medication history, blood work, urine sample, breathing tests and a nasal washing. Those who qualify and complete the study will receive $50 per visit for participation.
All participants must be non-smokers, cannot be pregnant, have emphysema, be on prednisone for asthma, or take Vitamin C or E supplements daily equal to more than a multivitamin. Non-smoking asthmatics must currently have stable asthma symptoms, no lung disease, no family history of asthma or chronic sinus problems, and no history of seasonal or significant allergies.
"If we determine that asthmatics do worse during high ozone season due to depleted antioxidants, antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C and E given orally or even nasally may be a protective treatment," Dr. Khatri says.
For more information about the study, contact research coordinator Jeannie Peabody, RN at (404) 686-1956.