Sinus: Effects of Secondhand Smoke
Guest: Dr. Rod Schlosser – Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery, MUSC
Host: Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatrist, MUSC
Dr. Linda Austin: I’m Dr. Linda Austin. I’m talking with Dr. Rod Schlosser, who is Associate Professor of ENT and Director of the Sinus Surgery clinic here at MUSC. Dr. Schlosser, I understand that you’re doing some interesting research on yet another effect of secondhand smoke. Can you describe what you’re looking at?
Dr. Rod Schlosser: Yes. Our preliminary research has identified some proteins that are altered in patients with different types of sinusitis; such as cystic fibrosis sinusitis, in contrast to a patient who has, maybe, an allergic-type polyp. What we’re doing now is extending that work to look at the effects of secondhand smoke, and how secondhand smoke exposure alters the immune response in patients and predisposes them to sinusitis.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, is the implication, then, that if you live with a smoker, you might be more likely to have sinusitis?
Dr. Rod Schlosser: Well, we suspect that that’s true from our clinical experience. But actually proving a cause-and-effect is somewhat difficult. We know that secondhand smoke causes ear infections in children. And we suspect that a similar type of dysfunction is occurring from secondhand exposure in the sinuses. So, what we’re doing right now is investigating that on a biochemical level, looking at the immune response in patients with sinusitis who have secondhand smoke exposure.
Dr. Linda Austin: I know you have a strong interest in sinus tumors, some of which are cancerous tumors, and that those are more common in smokers. Are they also more common in people who are exposed to secondhand smoke?
Dr. Rod Schlosser: That’s an excellent question, and we don’t know the answer to that, just because of the rarity of tumors. And actually proving a cause-and-effect is somewhat difficult; linking it directly to secondhand smoke.
Dr. Linda Austin: Dr. Schlosser, thank you so much.
Dr. Rod Schlosser: Thank you.
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