Mr. Spock is dead. The killer walks free!

Did you know that 15 millions of Americans suffer of the disorder that killed Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for his role as Mr. Spock on Star Trek?  The disease is called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it’@s  a progressive illness often linked to smoking. COPD is a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult to breathe. It’s possible to manage the illness medically, but this varies from case to case. The majority of patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are people aged 40 and higher. The problem is, that the damage caused by COPD cannot be reversed. Furthermore, researchers link the occurrence of COPD with asthma and lung cancer. As patients with COPD have frequent complications with breathing, they slip into rather unhealthy life style, lowering their physical activity and often, developing a clinical depression. So who are the real heroes trying to find new cures and therapies for this disease?

Since 2000, there are 22 486 research papers published on COPD. The paper with the most citations  is “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” by Marc Decramer, Wim Janssens and Marc Miravitlles published in 2012. The authors, who contributed the most to the research of COPD, are Emiel F. M. Wouters (490 articles), Peter J. Barnes (322 articles) and Edwin K. Silverman (269 articles).

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Figure above shows, the most research articles on COPD were published in The European respiratory journal (623), followed by American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine (533) and Respiratory medicine (473). Looking at data, you could think that European countries publish more articles on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than USA. As you can see on the figure below, it’s not entirely true.

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USA are dominant with 6 202 published COPD related research papers. It’s more than the next three European countries (UK, Italy, Netherlands) combined. One fifth of articles written in USA investigates the connection of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to a smoking habit. This shows to be major factor in COPD development. It’s clear that a lot of research is focused on COPD. We are sure that the progress in research will improve the care for the patients in upcoming decades. However, a proper decline in the number of heavy smokers in world’s population would help the most. As of now, 64 million people suffer of COPD. It’s the only major cause of death whose incidence is on the increase. Do you want to help combat this horrible disease? Stop smoking.