Health Effects of Pollution in the Air at ERS 2018

Maureen Salamon

September 10, 2018

PARIS — Research focused on long-term health problems after exposure to pollution will be in the spotlight at the upcoming European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress 2018.

Mina Gaga

"There are quite a lot of interesting data coming out about pollution and the lungs," said ERS President Mina Gaga, MD, PhD, from Athens Chest Hospital in Greece.

Presentations will include the effects of pollution exposure on sick leave taken by workers 2 decades later, lung health in adults after childhood exposure to air pollution, and reduced lung function after chronic exposure to traffic-related pollution.

There has been a huge revolution in technology, which is good, but it has contributed to changes in climate and pollution, Gaga told Medscape Medical News.

In addition, findings on the impact of tobacco-control policies recently implemented in Europe on respiratory health — from a cohort study of 6000 smokers in six European countries — will be presented as part of the EUREST-PLUS Horizon 2020 project.

And a separate Eurobarometer analysis of 26,000 adults in 28 European countries that assessed changes in public perceptions about e-cigarettes, warning labels on tobacco products, and smoke-free environments will also be presented.

The scientific and educational sessions and abstract presentations will center on eight major respiratory fields: respiratory critical care, pulmonary vascular disease, airway diseases, interstitial lung disease, respiratory infections, sleep and breathing disorders, pediatric respiratory diseases, and thoracic oncology.

New Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Guidelines

New guidelines for the diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis will be launched at the congress. These will affect the day-to-day decision-making of pulmonologists and "the way we prescribe and practice medicine," Gaga said.

In addition, there will be a presentation of nascent data on the role of the microbiota in lung diseases.

Nicolas Roche

"For now, there are no practical treatments, but it's definitely a very promising and already changing paradigm with high potential in the relatively near future," said Nicolas Roche, MD, PhD, from Université Paris Descartes, who is cochair of the congress.

The Game Zone, which is new this year, is an interactive area with individual game stations connected to an ERS self-assessment learning platform that prompts participants to answer case-based multiple-choice questions related to the diagnosis and management of respiratory diseases.

Also new this year is Lungs on Fire, an interactive session in which clinical cases are presented and a panel of experts is pitted against audience members to arrive at a diagnosis.

"This will be educational and good fun," Gaga said. "Our effort is to provide education in a fun way."

And sessions in which respiratory medicine "meets" other disciplines, such as rheumatology and hematology, are also new this year. "Both hematology and rheumatology affect the lungs," Gaga explained, "so it's important to work in teams with other specialists."

Outside the convention center, passers-by will be invited to participate in "street spirometry," during which they can undergo lung function testing and learn about respiratory health.

"There's a real effort to not only have a high level of science at the conference, but also actions directed toward the population," Roche told Medscape Medical News. "Prevention efforts are something ERS does every year, and they're done in parallel with the clean-air messages going on."

Gaga has disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Roche reports financial relationships with Novartis, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Chiesi, GlaxoSmithKline, MSD-Chibret, Mundipharma, Teva, Sanofi, and Sandoz.

Follow Medscape on Twitter @Medscape and Maureen Salamon @maureensalamon

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