Rafea Shaaban

‎Tishreen University, Al Lādhiqīyah, Latakia, Syria

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Publications (10)64.46 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The association between environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and asthma symptoms is well documented, but a causal relationship is inconclusive. International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase Three was the first to report a dose-response relationship between current wheezing and exposure to parental cigarette smoke. As exposure of children to water pipe (narghile) smoke is of concern in Syria, in the ISAAC Phase Three Tartous Centre we also examined the role of parental smoking of the narghile.METHODS: Parents of children aged 6–7 years completed core written questionnaires about the prevalence of symptoms, and an environmental questionnaire for other risk factors, including parental cigarette smoking. We added questions about narghile to the questionnaire.RESULTS: Among 2 734 pupils (49% females) surveyed, we found an association between exposure to ETS of the mother smoking cigarette or narghile and ever wheezing, nocturnal cough and severe wheeze; however, the strongest association was found when the mother smoked narghile. Mother smoking narghile was also associated with exercise wheeze. Father smoking narghile, but not cigarettes, was associated with nocturnal cough, severe wheeze and exercise wheeze. The association with current wheeze became significant when mother smoked both cigarettes and narghile; however, the effect was addititive and not synergic.CONCLUSION: We recommend that international studies investigating ETS include questions on narghile smoking.
    The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 11/2014; 18(11). · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The burden of chronic respiratory disease (CRD) is alarming. International studies suggest that women with CRD are undersurveyed and underdiagnosed by physicians worldwide. It is unclear what the prevalence of CRD is in the general population of Syria, particularly among women, since there has never been a survey on CRD in this nation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of different patterns of smoking on CRD in women. We extracted data on smoking patterns and outcome in women from the Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases survey. Using spirometric measurements before and after the use of inhaled bronchodilators, we tracked the frequency of CRD in females active and passive narghile or cigarette smokers presenting to primary care. We administered the questionnaire to 788 randomly selected females seen during 1 week in the fiscal year 2009-2010 in 22 primary care centers in six different regions of Syria. Inclusion criteria were age >6 years, presenting for any medical complaint. In this cross-sectional study, three groups of female subjects were evaluated: active smokers of cigarettes, active smokers of narghiles, and passive smokers of either cigarettes or narghiles. These three groups were compared to a control group of female subjects not exposed to active or passive smoking. Exposure to active cigarette smoke but not narghile smoke was associated with doctor-diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, neither cigarette nor narghile active smoking was associated with increased incidence of spirometrically diagnosed COPD. Paradoxically, exposure to passive smoking of either cigarettes or narghiles resulted in association with airway obstruction, defined as forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC) < 70% according to the Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease criteria; association with FEV1 < 80% predicted, evidencing moderate to severe GOLD spirometric grade, and doctor-diagnosed COPD. Physicians tend to underdiagnose COPD in women who present to primary care clinics. Whereas around 15% of enrolled women had evidence of COPD with FEV1/FVC < 70% after bronchodilators, only 4.8% were physician-diagnosed. Asthma did not appear to be a significant spirometric finding in these female subjects, although around 11% had physician-diagnosed asthma. One limitation is FEV1/FVC < 70% could have also resulted from uncontrolled asthma. The same limitation has been reported by the Proyecto Latinoamericano de Investigacion en Obstruccion Pulmonar (PLATINO) study. Contrary to popular belief in developing countries, women exposed to tobacco smoke, whether active or passive, and whether by cigarettes or narghiles, like men are at increased risk for the development of COPD, although cultural habits and taboos may decrease the risk of active smoking in some women. These findings will be considered for country and region strategy for noncommunicable diseases, to overcome underdiagnosis of CRD in women, fight widespread female cigarette and narghile smoking, and promote behavioral research in this field.
    International Journal of COPD 01/2013; 8:473-482.
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    Journal of thoracic disease. 04/2012; 4(2):203-5.
  • Primary care respiratory journal: journal of the General Practice Airways Group 11/2011; 20(4):454-6.
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    ABSTRACT: A close relation between asthma and allergic rhinitis has been reported by several epidemiological and clinical studies. However, the nature of this relation remains unclear. We used the follow-up data from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey to investigate the onset of asthma in patients with allergic and non-allergic rhinitis during an 8.8-year period. We did a longitudinal population-based study, which included 29 centres (14 countries) mostly in western Europe. Frequency of asthma was studied in 6461 participants, aged 20-44 years, without asthma at baseline. Incident asthma was defined as reporting ever having had asthma confirmed by a physician between the two surveys. Atopy was defined as a positive skin-prick test to mites, cat, Alternaria, Cladosporium, grass, birch, Parietaria, olive, or ragweed. Participants were classified into four groups at baseline: controls (no atopy, no rhinitis; n=3163), atopy only (atopy, no rhinitis; n=704), non-allergic rhinitis (rhinitis, no atopy; n=1377), and allergic rhinitis (atopy+rhinitis; n=1217). Cox proportional hazards models were used to study asthma onset in the four groups. The 8.8-year cumulative incidence of asthma was 2.2% (140 events), and was different in the four groups (1.1% (36), 1.9% (13), 3.1% (42), and 4.0% (49), respectively; p<0.0001). After controlling for country, sex, baseline age, body-mass index, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)), log total IgE, family history of asthma, and smoking, the adjusted relative risk for asthma was 1.63 (95% CI 0.82-3.24) for atopy only, 2.71 (1.64-4.46) for non-allergic rhinitis, and 3.53 (2.11-5.91) for allergic rhinitis. Only allergic rhinitis with sensitisation to mite was associated with increased risk of asthma independently of other allergens (2.79 [1.57-4.96]). Rhinitis, even in the absence of atopy, is a powerful predictor of adult-onset asthma.
    The Lancet 09/2008; 372(9643):1049-57. · 39.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with allergic rhinitis have more frequent bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) in cross-sectional studies. To estimate the changes in BHR in nonasthmatic subjects with and without allergic rhinitis during a 9-year period. BHR onset was studied in 3,719 subjects without BHR at baseline, who participated in the follow-up of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. BHR was defined as a >or=20% decrease in FEV(1) for a maximum dose of 1 mg of methacholine. Allergic rhinitis was defined as having a history of nasal allergy and positive specific IgE (>or=0.35 IU/ml) to pollen, cat, mites, or Cladosporium. The cumulative incidence of BHR was 9.7% in subjects with allergic rhinitis and 7.0% in subjects with atopy but no rhinitis, compared with 5.5% in subjects without allergic rhinitis and atopy (respective odds ratios [OR] and their 95% confidence intervals [95% CI] for BHR onset, 2.44 [1.73-3.45]; and 1.35 [0.86-2.11], after adjustment for potential confounders including sex, smoking, body mass index and FEV(1)). Subjects with rhinitis sensitized exclusively to cat or to mites were particularly at increased risk of developing BHR (ORs [95% CI], 7.90 [3.48-17.93] and 2.84 [1.36-5.93], respectively). Conversely, in subjects with BHR at baseline (n = 372), 35.3% of those with allergic rhinitis, compared with 51.8% of those without rhinitis had no more BHR at follow-up (OR [95% CI], 0.51 [0.33-0.78]). BHR "remission" was more frequent in patients with rhinitis treated by nasal steroids than in those not treated (OR [95% CI], 0.33 [0.14-0.75]). Allergic rhinitis was associated with increased onset of BHR, and less chance for remission except in those treated for rhinitis.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 11/2007; 176(7):659-66. · 11.04 Impact Factor
  • Revue des Maladies Respiratoires 11/2007; 24(9):1189-1189. · 0.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Identification of the risk factors for bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) would increase the understanding of the causes of asthma. The relationship between physical activity and BHR in men and women aged 28.0-56.5 years randomly selected from 24 centres in 11 countries participating in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey II was investigated. 5158 subjects answered questionnaires about physical activity and performed BHR tests. Participants were asked about the frequency and duration of usual weekly exercise resulting in breathlessness or sweating. BHR was defined as a decrease in forced expiratory volume in 1 s of at least 20% of its post-saline value for a maximum methacholine dose of 2 mg. Both frequency and duration of physical activity were inversely related to BHR. The prevalence of BHR in subjects exercising <or=1, 2-3 and >or=4 times a week was 14.5%, 11.6% and 10.9%, respectively (p<0.001). The corresponding odds ratios were 1.00, 0.78 (95% CI 0.62 to 0.99) and 0.69 (95% CI 0.50 to 0.94) after controlling for potential confounding factors. The frequency of BHR in subjects exercising <1 h, 1-3 h and >or=4 h a week was 15.9%, 10.9% and 10.7%, respectively (p<0.001). The corresponding adjusted odds ratios were 1.00, 0.70 (95% CI 0.57 to 0.87) and 0.67 (95% CI 0.50 to 0.90). Physical activity was associated with BHR in all studied subgroups. These results suggest that BHR is strongly and independently associated with decreased physical activity. Further studies are needed to determine the mechanisms underlying this association.
    Thorax 05/2007; 62(5):403-10. · 8.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reduced pulmonary function is an important predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The mechanisms underlying this association are unknown but may involve systemic inflammation. We assessed the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and forced expiratory volume in 1s (FEV1) and its decline in the general population, over a period of 8.5 years. The analyzes were based on 531 subjects (mean age at baseline: 37+/-7 years, 50% women and 42% non-smokers), recruited at two French centers participating in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. Lung function was expressed as a percentage of predicted FEV1. CRP was measured centrally, by means of a highly sensitive assay. In cross-sectional analysis, FEV1 as a % of predicted values was negatively associated with serum CRP concentration (P=0.002). Multivariate adjustment did not alter these results (P=0.002). In longitudinal analysis, annual FEV1 decline tended to increase from the lower to the upper tertile for baseline CRP concentration but the association was borderline significant (P=0.14). Mean values of annual FEV1 decline were 26+/-32, 31+/-32, and 34+/-32 ml/year for the lower, middle and upper tertiles of baseline CRP concentration, respectively, after adjusting for potential confounders (P=0.09). Changes in CRP levels during follow-up were associated with annual FEV1 decline. The mean annual FEV1 declines in subjects with increasing CRP, in those with stable CRP and in those with decreasing CRP were 36+/-31, 30+/-31 and 24+/-31 ml/year, respectively (P<0.001). These findings were not affected by adjustment for potential confounders (P=0.002). In conclusion, increases in CRP levels over time were associated with a steeper FEV1 decline.
    Respiratory Medicine 01/2007; 100(12):2112-20. · 2.59 Impact Factor
  • 01/2007;

Publication Stats

276 Citations
64.46 Total Impact Points


  • 2012–2014
    • ‎Tishreen University
      Al Lādhiqīyah, Latakia, Syria
  • 2007–2008
    • French Institute of Health and Medical Research
      • Unité de Épidémiologie, Systèmes d'Information, Modélisation U707
      Paris, Ile-de-France, France