Re: Katrina Cough Study II
Posted by Mike B. on 1/04/08
Here's the information as it appears in the Tulane NewWave.
Researcher Seeks Truth About ‘Katrina Cough’
January 2, 2008
Rumors of a “Katrina cough” started circulating in New
Orleans as soon as people began clearing debris, gutting
houses and rebuilding after the hurricane in August 2005. Is
this a respiratory complaint caused by breathing polluted
dust, is it only seasonal allergies, and does it cause long-
term changes in respiratory health? A researcher in the
Tulane School of Medicine seeks answers.
Henry Glindmeyer, a professor of pulmonary, critical care and
environmental medicine at Tulane, will use a mobile lab to
examine 1,000 workers in New Orleans to determine their lung
health after Hurricane Katrina. (Photo by Paula Burch-
Henry Glindmeyer is carrying out a five-year study to
determine if workers in New Orleans face risks from inhalant
exposure to minute particles such as mold, fungi or bacteria.
Glindmeyer is a professor of pulmonary, critical care and
environmental medicine at Tulane. The study is funded by the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, an
agency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
which is providing $1.86 million.
Glindmeyer will gather data annually from approximately 1,000
workers. Tulane is partnering with large employers in the New
Orleans area with numerous workers on their payrolls,
including the City of New Orleans.
The testing is non-invasive (no needles) and consists of a
respiratory and occupational questionnaire, a breathing test
and exposure monitoring. Health data will be collected in a
mobile lab that will be brought to the workers at their
worksites. Study participation is voluntary and confidential.
“The participants will tell us where they work, where they
live, what they do, and the type of dust-generating
activities they may be in or around,” says Glindmeyer.
The annual respiratory exposure assessment uses a small
monitor that is worn at work for about five to six hours.
“The monitor uses a filter to capture ‘thoracic dust,’ or
dust small enough to get deep into the lungs,” Glindmeyer
Samples will be analyzed for airborne dust, bacteria and
mold. The purpose is to measure exposure associated with
specific work activities.
“We will construct an exposure profile for each participant,
and investigate associations between exposure, change in lung
function, and changes in respiratory symptoms or conditions,
such as exacerbation of asthma or worsening of upper or lower
respiratory symptoms,” Glindmeyer says.
The Katrina worker study is the latest in a long list of
respiratory studies of occupational inhalant exposures that
have been conducted by Glindmeyer and his associates over the
last 35 years.
For more information about the study, go to the study Web
site, e-mail KatrinaWorkerStudy@tulane.edu or phone 504-988-
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