• Validating the 5Fs mnemonic for cholelithiasis: time to include family history.

      Bass, Gary; Gilani, S Nadia S; Walsh, Thomas N (2013-11)
      The time-honoured mnemonic of '5Fs' is a reminder to students that patients with upper abdominal pain and who conform to a profile of 'fair, fat, female, fertile and forty' are likely to have cholelithiasis. We feel, however, that a most important 'F'-that for 'family history'-is overlooked and should be introduced to enhance the value of a useful aide memoire.
    • Vitamin D as an adjunctive therapy in asthma. Part 1: A review of potential mechanisms.

      Kerley, Conor P; Elnazir, Basil; Faul, John; Cormican, Liam (2015-02-27)
      Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) is highly prevlalent worldwide. The classical role for vitamin D is to regulate calcium absorption form the gastrointestinal tract and influence bone health. Recently vitamin D receptors and vitamin D metabolic enzymes have been discovered in numerous sites systemically supporting diverse extra-skeletal roles of vitamin D, for example in asthmatic disease. Further, VDD and asthma share several common risk factors including high latitude, winter season, industrialization, poor diet, obesity, and dark skin pigmentation. Vitamin D has been demonstrated to possess potent immunomodulatory effects, including effects on T cells and B cells as well as increasing production of antimicrobial peptides (e.g. cathelicidin). This immunomodulation may lead to asthma specific clinical benefits in terms of decreased bacterial/viral infections, altered airway smooth muscle-remodeling and -function as well as modulation of response to standard anti-asthma therapy (e.g. glucocorticoids and immunotherapy). Thus, vitamin D and its deficiency have a number of biological effects that are potentially important in altering the course of disease pathogenesis and severity in asthma. The purpose of this first of a two-part review is to review potential mechanisms whereby altering vitamin D status may influence asthmatic disease.
    • Vitamin D as an adjunctive therapy in asthma. Part 2: A review of human studies.

      Kerley, Conor P; Elnazir, Basil; Faul, John; Cormican, Liam (2015-03-05)
      Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) is highly prevalent worldwide, with adverse effects on bone health but also potentially other unfavorable consequences. VDD and asthma-incidence/severity share many common risk factors, including winter season, industrialization, poor diet, obesity, dark skin pigmentation, and high latitude. Multiple anatomical areas relevant to asthma contain both the enzyme responsible for producing activated vitamin D and the vitamin D receptor suggesting that activated vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) may have important local effects at these sites. Emerging evidence suggests that VDD is associated with increased airway hyperresponsiveness, decreased pulmonary function, worse asthma control, and possibly decreased response to standard anti-asthma therapy. However the effect is inconsistent with preliminary evidence from different studies suggesting vitamin D is both beneficial and detrimental to asthma genesis and severity. Current evidence suggests that supplementation with moderate doses of vitamin D may be appropriate for maintenance of bone health in asthmatics, particularly steroid users. However emerging data from an increasing number of randomized, controlled, intervention studies of vitamin D supplementation in pediatric and adult asthma are becoming available and should help determine the importance, if any of vitamin D for asthma pathogenesis. The purpose of this second of a two-part review is to review the current human literature on vitamin D and asthma, discussing the possible consequences of VDD for asthma and the potential for vitamin D repletion as adjunct therapy.