Two lung diseases killed 3.6 million in 2015: study

The two most common chronic lung diseases claimed 3.6 million lives worldwide in 2015, according to a tally published Thursday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

About 3.2 million people succumbed that year to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), caused mainly by smoking and pollution, while 400,000 people died from asthma.

COPD is a group of lung conditions — including emphysema and bronchitis — that make it difficult to breathe.

Asthma is twice as prevalent, but COPD is eight times more deadly, the study found.

Both diseases can be treated affordably, but many sufferers are often left undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or under-treated.

COPD was the fourth-ranked cause of death worldwide in 2015, according to the World Health Organization, behind heart disease (nine million), stroke (six million) and lower respiratory infections (just over 3.2 million).

Researchers led by Theo Vos, a professor at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, analysed data from 188 countries to estimate, in each one, the number of cases and deaths annually from 1990 to 2015.

COPD prevalence and death rates declined over that period, but the overall numbers increased — with nearly 12 percent more deaths — because of population growth.

For asthma, prevalence went up by almost 13 percent to 358 million people worldwide, but the number of deaths dropped by more than a quarter.

“These diseases have received less attention than other prominent non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes,” Vos said in a statement.

The countries with the highest concentration of people disabled by COPD in 2015 were Papua New Guinea, India, Lesotho and Nepal, the study showed.

For asthma, the biggest disease burdens were found in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Fiji, Kiribati, Lesotho, Papula New Guinea and Swaziland.

High-income Asian nations were least affected by COPD, along with countries in central Europe, north Africa, the Middle East and western Europe. Central and eastern Europe, along with China, Japan and Italy, had among the lowest rates of asthma.

“This study is a timely reminder that we must refocus our efforts to combat this dangerous disease,” Neil Pearce, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, commented, referring to asthma.

“We still know very little about the causes of asthma, and why rates are increasing worldwide,” he added.

Smoking is known to aggravate asthma, as are allergens, whether indoors or in nature.

Indoor cooking is also a major culprit for chronic lung diseases, the authors noted.

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Napoli punish nine-man Nice

Napoli took a big step towards the Champions League group stage with a 2-0 win over outclassed nine-man Nice in their play-off, first-leg in Italy on Wednesday.

The Riviera side were down to nine men after 79 minutes when Alassane Pléa was sent off for a second yellow card just after Vincent Koziello’s straight dismissal.

Belgian midfielder Dries Mertens had slotted in the opener after 13 minutes with Jorginho doubling the hosts’ account with a penalty after 70 minutes.

It was a third straight defeat for Lucien Favre’s side who have lost their first two French Ligue 1 matches, and travelled without Mario Balotelli and new signing Wesley Sneijder.

Napoli, third in Serie A and in the Champions League last 16 last year, were a class above the French punishing defensive errors in front of a delighted 50,000 home fans at the San Paolo Stadium.

Napoli took control of the game early with Mertens outwitting the Nice defence and taking advantage of an error by Yoan Cardinale to slot past the advancing Nice goalkeeper.

And in the 70th minute it was again Mertens, brought down by Christophe Jallet, who earned the penalty which Jorginho slotted in.

Despite his initial error Cardinale made some key saves against Joe Callejon (15), Mertens (21) and two Lorenzo Insigne efforts after 42 and 67 minutes.

The Italians also other missed chances to increase their advantage with Insigne hitting the woodwork after 51 minutes.

Nice played the final ten minutes with nine men after first Koziello was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Piotr Zielinski.

Plea was then dismissed for a second yellow card, allowing the Italians to wrap up a deserved victory ahead of their Serie A opener on Saturday.

Maurizio Sarri’s side are now ideally placed to join Juventus and AS Roma in the group stage as Nice have it all to do in the return home leg in the Allianz Riviera stadium on August 22.

Spanish side Sevilla also set themselves up for a place in the group stage alongside Liga rivals Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid by beating Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 in Turkey.

Franco-Tunisian forward Wisam Ben Yedder, picked up a backheeled pass from Jesus Navas, to seal the winner six minutes from time.

Sergio Escudero opened for Sevilla after 16 minutes with Eljero Elia getting the equaliser after 64 minutes.

A Scott Sinclair double helped Celtic to a 5-0 thrashing of Astana in their play-off round first leg in Glasgow.

An own-goal from Evgeni Postnikov opened the scoring in the 32nd minute before Sinclair doubled Celtic’s advantage 10 minutes later.

The English winger then grabbed his sixth goal of the season on the hour before James Forrest added another in the 79th minute.

Leigh Griffiths rounded off the rout in the 79th minute with a deflection off Igor Shitov to help the Scottish champions secure a commanding advantage to take to Kazakhstan for the return leg next Tuesday.

Elsewhere Hapoel Beer-Sheva beat Maribor of Slovenia 2-1 at home in Israel while Olympiacos beat Croatian side Rijeka by the same score in Greece.

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US stocks rise on dovish Fed minutes

US stocks finished higher Wednesday after Federal Reserve policymakers hinted at a slower pace to future interest rate hikes and retailers gained following a solid earnings report by Target.

The gains came as President Donald Trump disbanded a pair of business advisory boards after several chief executives resigned over the president’s response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1 percent to 22,024.87.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.1 percent to 2,468.11, while tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.2 percent to 6,345.10.

Some Fed members argued the US central bank can afford to “be patient” before raising rates again, according to minutes of the July meeting that also showed policymakers remained befuddled by weak inflation that has persisted despite historically low unemployment.

Retailers, which have been in retreat much of the year, advanced after big box retailer Target reported that comparable store sales in the second quarter rose 1.3 percent compared with the year-ago amid increasing store traffic.

Target won 3.6 percent, while rivals Costco Wholesale and Wal-Mart Stores climbed 2.2 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

Trump announced that he was ending a pair of CEO advisory councils amid a stampede of executive departures after the president’s muted response to a white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville.

“For these CEOs it’s becoming a distraction they don’t need with very little benefit,” said Jon Lieber, US practice head at risk consultancy Eurasia Group. Lieber said Republicans in Congress would still press on with tax reform, a key market priority.

J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, said investors have already dismissed the possibility of tax cuts for 2017, but predicted there would be a “reckoning” if there no progress in 2018.

He said the White House’s latest setbacks were not critical to investors.

“What drives the market is earnings and we have had pretty good earnings,” Kinahan said. “The other stuff is noise.”

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