Exam stress ups asthma. (Clinical Capsules).
The psychological stress of school exams can increase the severity
of asthma by increasing airway inflammation response, said Dr. Lin Ying
Liu and associates at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A study of
20 college students with mild allergic asthma found that the percentage
of sputum eosinophil counts was significantly higher both 6 hours and 24
hours after an antigen challenge during final exam week than during a
less stressful time (Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 165:1062-67,
2002). The percentages were 7% during periods of low stress, compared
with 10.5% during stress 6 hours post challenge and 11.3% during stress
24 hours post challenge. As Dr. John Bienenstock of McMaster University
Hamilton, Ont., noted in an accompanying editorial, "the
upregulation of eosinophils in the lung may well reflect the effects of
stress on bone marrow and distribution or redistribution to tissue
sites" (Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 165:1034-35, 2002).