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April 2010 Newsletter

Emily Weis, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Weis is investigating the link between secondhand tobacco smoke and inflammation in children. The pediatric community is invested in educating parents about the negative effects of secondhand smoke on children.  Studies have well established that secondhand tobacco smoke is linked to many diseases involving the pediatric population, including lower respiratory infections, asthma, SIDS, inflammatory bowel disease, otitis media, and leukemia.  However, the expression of key inflammatory regulators in the setting of secondhand tobacco smoke in children is in the preliminary stages of investigation.  The goal of ongoing studies by Weis and her mentor, Karen Wilson, M.D., M.P.H., is to identify key inflammatory cytokines expressed in both systemic circulation as well as the upper respiratory tract. Recruitment of subjects is well underway. Weis is also expanding her studies to examine the role second hand tobacco smoke plays in the inflammatory response in children with asthma.  Weis was recently awarded a grant through the AAP’s Julius B. Richmond Center small grants program for these studies, and presented her work at the Center’s Tobacco Consortium last November.  With the identification of key regulators of inflammation expressed systemically and locally in the setting of secondhand smoke, Weis hopes to give the pediatric medical community better information regarding the negative effects of secondhand tobacco smoke on children.