Popcorn Lung: the Discovery of a New Disease
Recently, an epidemic of pulmonary disease has been recognized among workers in a popcorn factory in Jasper, Missouri. The exposure agent has not yet been identified, but suspects include butter flavoring and the powdered salt used in the mixing room. This disease resembles "Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome", an illness that makes it difficult to breathe. Of the 117 workers studied, one year later, 25 subjects whom were working in the mixing room or in the microwave packaging area have had decreases in lung function seven times the norm for their age. Industrial hygiene experts revealed that dust concentrations of salt and other flavorings were much higher in the mixing room compared to the office and outdoor work areas. Recently, rats were exposed to vapors created by heating the butter flavor compound obtained from this plant. Six-hour exposure to vapors at very high concentration resulted in significant damage to the breathing apparatus. Thus, there is clinical, epidemiological, and animal toxicity data that appears to implicate some constituent present during the mixing of the butter flavoring, salt, and oil causing a form of obstructive airway disease that has been rapidly progressive in a number of workers. It is not clear what the pathophysiologic nature of this entity is, though it resembles Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome. It is not known what the long term consequence of this will be on the active workers, nor is it clear whether preventive measures taken to reduce exposures in the mixing room and elsewhere in the plant are going to be effective.
Observational Model: Defined Population, Observational Model: Natural History, Time Perspective: Longitudinal
Lung Diseases, Interstitial
Washington University, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Results (where available)
- Source: http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00027235
- Information obtained from ClinicalTrials.gov on July 15, 2010
Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions
Lung Diseases, Interstitial
A diverse group of lung diseases that affect the lung parenchyma. They are characterized by an initial inflammation of PULMONARY ALVEOLI that extends to the interstitium and beyond leading to diffuse PULMONARY FIBROSIS. Interstitial lung diseases are classified by their etiology (known or unknown causes), and radiological-pathological features.
Idiopathic Interstitial Pneumonias
A group of interstitial lung diseases with no known etiology. There are several entities with varying patterns of inflammation and fibrosis. They are classified by their distinct clinical-radiological-pathological features and prognosis. They include IDIOPATHIC PULMONARY FIBROSIS; CRYPTOGENIC ORGANIZING PNEUMONIA; and others.
Extravascular Lung Water
Water content outside of the lung vasculature. About 80% of a normal lung is made up of water, including intracellular, interstitial, and blood water. Failure to maintain the normal homeostatic fluid exchange between the vascular space and the interstitium of the lungs can result in PULMONARY EDEMA and flooding of the alveolar space.
A form of pneumoconiosis caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers which elicit potent inflammatory responses in the parenchyma of the lung. The disease is characterized by interstitial fibrosis of the lung, varying from scattered sites to extensive scarring of the alveolar interstitium.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
A common interstitial lung disease of unknown etiology, usually occurring between 50-70 years of age. Clinically, it is characterized by an insidious onset of breathlessness with exertion and a nonproductive cough, leading to progressive DYSPNEA. Pathological features show scant interstitial inflammation, patchy collagen fibrosis, prominent fibroblast proliferation foci, and microscopic honeycomb change.
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