Science Sunday: Pulmonary Fibrosis, Boston Marathon and the Rings of Saturn

More Women Falling to Pulmonary Fibrosis

Men over the age of 65 years and women in all age groups are dying more often from pulmonary fibrosis, according to a study led by University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Dr. Amy Olsen.

According to the study:

Between 1992 and 2003, the age-adjusted mortality rate from PF — an often fatal disease which involves scarring of the lung — rose by nearly 28.4 percent in men, and 41.3 percent in women. Over the same time period, an increasing percentage of patients with PF died of the disease itself rather than of coexisting conditions.

The group looked at 28 million death certificates, finding more than 175,000 deaths linked to PF. The cause of pulmonary fibrosis is not known, but associations have been made with inhaled environmental and occupational pollutants, cigarettes, other diseases like scleroderma and lupus, therapeutic radiation and some medications.The authors of the CU study speculate that the increase in PF among women is the result of the changing historical smoking patterns.

The report appears in the August 1, 2007, issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

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Mountain chickadee. Photo

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Dan Whipple

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