New study explores pulmonary rehabilitation in women with emphysema and chronic bronchitis

Torrance, Calif. (April 22, 2002) New advances in pulmonary rehabilitation research are holding promise of improving the quality of life for those affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is the nations 4th leading cause of mortality. Harbor-UCLA Research & Education Institute (REI) principal investigator Richard Casaburi, Ph.D., M.D. is exploring anabolic drug therapy for women suffering from emphysema and chronic bronchitis, both forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Dr. Casaburi postulates that anabolic drug therapy (testosterone) can stimulate muscle growth, and improve strength in women with emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is hoped that in the near future, this may become routine therapy for COPD patients. This study is funded by the University of Californias Tobacco Related Disease Research Program.

COPD is an overwhelmingly smoking-related disease, and the only leading cause of death for which the mortality rates are rising. Although mortality rates are stabilizing among men, they continue to rise among women. Up until recently, it has been acknowledged as a disease of irreversible airflow obstruction with limited therapeutic options. More effective therapies for women suffering from this disease are now being sought.

Long thought of as a mans disease, COPD will afflict as many women as men by 2020. Dr. Casaburi hypothesizes that developing practical methods to reverse muscle dysfunction will improve quality of life and decrease health care resource utilization. His previous study of men with COPD demonstrated that testosterone supplementation acted much like a strength-training program, increasing muscle size and weight lifting capability. Although testosterone is often thought of as a mans hormone, it is an important determinant of muscle function in women as well. Since testosterone levels in women with COPD are abnormally low, modest doses may yield appreciable improvements in muscle

Contact: Barbara Kerr
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed)

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