A new discovery by the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI) may help cystic fibrosis (CF) women live longer, according to Dara Kelly at irishcentral.com, "Irish team make cystic fibrosis discovery."
Kelly writes that Ireland has a four times higher incidence of cystic fibrosis than any other EU country or the U.S. Likewise, she notes that the life expectancy of women with the disease is much less than that of men (2-3 years less).
Yet researchers, she writes, from the RCSI have made a discovery that might explain the disparity in life expectancy between men and women with CF, and perhaps lead to further discoveries that will narrow the gap.
The RCSI "found that the estrogen hormone, which is found in much higher levels of which, prevents the release of a chemical signal that can help trigger white blood cells to fight infection in the lungs when bacteria attack cells."
The research may allow scientists to come up with methods to stabilize estrogen levels and to prevent infections in the lungs when estrogen levels are high.
Since CF is a disease that causes thick and sticky secretions in CF lungs that increases the risk for infection, and thus it is this infection that can worsen the disease, and ultimately causes the patient to die, this discovery may be a godsend to women with CF.
Further studies regarding this are ongoing, and the goal is to improve the quality of life and length of life of CF patients.