Does the cold weather really affect our chances of getting a cold?

Winter backyard

With the freezing cold temperatures we have been having recently, it’s hard not to think about how the cold weather might affect our chances of getting sick. Well, a recent study looked at this very topic.

Researchers at Yale looked at the effect of temperature on a common virus that causes colds. In the study, the researchers looked at the immune response to the rhinovirus. The rhinovirus is the most common cause of the common cold. Using mouse cells, the researchers studied the effect of temperature on viral replication.

The study found that there was a weaker immune response to the virus at lower temperatures. This weaker immune response may allow the virus to replicate more aggressively. This, in turn, could lead to a higher chance of developing a viral infection.

So, there may be some scientific basis to the old adage of keeping warm to avoid getting sick.

A cold can lead to nasal stuffiness, nasal drainage, facial pressure, and a general feeling of misery. In most situations, a cold goes away on its own. Sometimes, though, a cold is just the beginning. A cold can help create conditions that might make a bacterial sinus infection more likely. In some situations, lingering infections and inflammation can lead to chronic nasal and sinus problems like chronic sinusitis.

Here is an interview with one of the study's authors conducted by Science Friday:

Dr. Goyal gives presentations at the International Rhinologic Society Meeting

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Presentation on Sinus Surgery

Dr. Goyal presenting

Dr. Goyal giving presentation

Dr. Parul Goyal, from Syracuse Otolaryngology, gave presentations this week at the International Rhinologic Society Meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.   The meeting was the largest Rhinology conference held in the Middle East, featuring speakers and participants from all over the world.  The aim of the meeting was for surgeons to learn and share knowledge about the treatment of problems affecting the nose and sinuses.

Dr. Goyal spoke about frontal sinus surgery, treatment of clival chordoma, and the use of external techniques in sinus surgery.  He also performed a demonstration surgical dissection to teach participants how to perform two surgical procedures: endoscopic dacryocystorhinostomy and orbital decompression.

Dr. Goyal was joined in Dubai by another local surgeon from Syracuse, Dr. Amar Suryadevara.  Dr. Suryadevara spoke about nasal valve surgery.  Drs. Goyal and Suryadevara specialize in surgery to help patients with chronic nasal congestion.  Nasal valve surgery is a type of surgery that can help patients with nasal congestion.

The two surgeons frequently work together on patients with complex problems affecting the nose and sinuses.  In addition to performing surgery, both doctors teach other physicians about the types of surgery used to treat patients with nasal congestion.  The two have also published research studies about surgery to treat nasal valve problems.

Dr. Parul Goyal and Dr. Amar Suryadevara teach nasal valve surgery courses

Dr. Goyal

Dr. Parul Goyal

Dr. Suryadevara

Dr. Amar Suryadevara

Dr. Parul Goyal and Dr. Amar Suryadevara recently presented instructional courses on nasal surgery.  The two surgeons presented their course, Optimizing Outcomes in Nasal Valve Surgery, to other physicians and surgeons at two national meetings in Orlando, Florida.  The courses were presented at the Fall Meeting of the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

Many patients suffer from chronic nasal congestion.  There are many problems in the nose that can cause nasal congestion.  Problems that can lead to nasal congestion include a deviated septum, enlarged turbinates, and narrow nasal valves.  Patients who suffer from chronic problems with nasal congestion sometimes benefit from surgery.

Drs. Goyal and Suryadevara both specialize in nasal surgery.  Dr. Goyal is a Rhinologist who focuses on surgery involving the structures inside the nose.  Dr. Suryadevara is a Facial Plastic Surgeon who focuses on external nasal reconstruction.  The two surgeons frequently work together on patients with complex problems affecting the nose and sinuses.  In addition to performing surgery, both doctors teach other physicians about the types of surgery used to treat patients with nasal congestion.  The two have also published research studies about surgery to treat nasal valve problems.

The nasal valve is typically the most narrow portion of a patient's nose.  In patients who have chronic congestion, this area can be particularly  narrow.  In their courses, Drs. Goyal and Suryadevara described how physicians can diagnose and treat patients who have narrow nasal valves.  Both doctors point out that the best way to diagnose problems in patients with nasal congestion is to carefully examine the nose.  They do that by looking at the shape, size, and strength of the structures on the inside and the outside of the nose.  For the inside of the nose, using a tool called an endoscope can be very helpful.  After finding the narrow areas, surgeons should target surgery to an individual patient's problems.

Drs. Villwock, Deshaies, and Goyal publish study on pituitary tumor surgery

Dr. Eric Deshaies

Dr. Eric Deshaies

Dr. Goyal

Dr. Parul Goyal

Dr. Jennifer Villwock, researcher Mark Villwock, Dr. Eric Deshaies, and Dr. Parul Goyal recently conducted a study on patients undergoing surgery for pituitary tumors.  The article, Significant increases of pituitary tumors and resections from 1993 to 2011, was published in the September issue of the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology.  Dr. Eric Deshaies is the incoming Medical Director for Endovascular and Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery at Crouse Hospital and Dr. Goyal is a Rhinologist and Skull Base Surgeon at Syracuse Otolaryngology.

The pituitary gland is a gland located in the skull, at the base of the brain.  The gland secretes hormones that help control many functions throughout the body.  Patients can sometimes develop tumors in the pituitary gland.  For some tumors, surgery may be the best treatment option.

The researchers studied trends in pituitary tumor diagnosis and pituitary tumor surgery.  They found that there were significant increases in the diagnosis of pituitary tumors over the years 1993 to 2011.  In addition, more patients diagnosed with pituitary tumors underwent surgery for these tumors.  Data was obtained from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest public database of inpatient admissions in the United States.

According to the study, a possible reason for the higher rate of diagnosis of pituitary tumors is the greater availability of diagnostic technology like MRI.  There have also been significant advancements in surgery for these tumors in recent years.  Many tumors are now treated with a procedure called endoscopic pituitary tumor resection.  With this type of technique, surgeons go through the nostril and can reach the tumor without making any incisions on the outside of the face or skull.  Patients recover rapidly and have excellent outcomes.  The availability of these types of surgical techniques may be one reason for the increase in rates of surgery for pituitary tumors.

Dr. Deshaies and Dr. Goyal are surgeons who specialize in surgery for pituitary tumors and other skull base tumors.  Because these tumors involve the region at the junction of the brain, the nose, and the sinuses, the two surgeons work together to treat patients with these types of complex problems.  Both surgeons are committed to achieving outstanding results in patients undergoing surgery for tumors of the skull base.  The team also works to conduct research and provide education on skull base surgery.

This paper is one of a series of studies the team has conducted on pituitary tumors.  In September, the team is presenting another study at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.  This study, entitled The Effect of Surgical Approach on Outcomes Following Pituitary Tumor Resection, studies differences in complications between different types of procedures used to treat pituitary tumors.

A link to the article is below:

Significant increases of pituitary tumors and resections from 1993 to 2011

Drs. John Craig and Parul Goyal study safety of nasal endoscopes

Craig, John 5X7

Dr. John Craig

Dr. Goyal

Dr. Parul Goyal

Dr. John Craig, of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Otolaryngology, and Dr. Parul Goyal, of Syracuse Otolaryngology, recently conducted a study regarding the safety of nasal endoscopes.  The article was published in the medical journal International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology

A nasal endoscope is a piece of equipment used during nasal and sinus surgery.  It allows surgeons to look inside the nose and sinuses during surgery.

Studies performed previously have shown that the endoscopes used during sinus surgery can become very warm during sinus surgery.  If care is not taken, the heat can be transmitted to the sinuses.  Drs. Craig and Goyal looked to see if irrigation sheaths can help decrease the maximum temperatures of the endoscopes.  These sheaths are typically used during surgery to help the surgeon rinse the tip of the endoscope.  This can make it easier for the surgeon to see the important structures in the nose.

The study found that sheaths can help insulate the endoscopes against dangerous temperatures.  The sheaths led to approximately a 5% decrease in endoscope temperatures.  With active irrigation, the temperatures decreased by over 12%.

Dr. Craig and Dr. Goyal concluded that while the sheaths are used to improve visualization, they may also help keep endoscope temperatures at lower levels.

A link to the article is below:

Insulating and cooling effects of nasal endoscope sheaths and irrigation

Dr. Sobin and Dr. Goyal’s article featured in leading medical journal

Lindsay Sobin

Dr. Lindsay Sobin

Dr. Goyal

Dr. Parul Goyal

Dr. Lindsay Sobin and Dr. Parul Goyal have their article featured in leading medical journal.

Dr. Lindsay Sobin, of SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Dr. Parul Goyal, of Syracuse Otolaryngology, recently conducted a study that looked at reviews found on online doctor rating sites.  Their article, Trends of Online Ratings of Otolaryngologists: What Do Your Patients Really Think of You?, was recently published in the medical journal JAMA Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.  Dr. Sobin was also featured in an audio interview conducted by the journal.

Many patients use the internet to find information about their doctors.  Knowing this, Drs. Sobin and Goyal looked at the patterns in ratings for Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, & Throat) doctors in the northeastern part of the United States.

The study found that most of the doctors had profiles on the rating websites, and that most reviews were generally positive.  Certain types of specialists tended to have higher ratings than others, as a group.

While patients may find the information on these websites helpful, Drs. Sobin and Goyal caution that the information in itself does not speak to the quality of care a particular doctor provides.  However, the ratings are still important because they may impact patients' decisions.

Links to the article and interview are posted below:

Article at the JAMA Otolaryngology website

Dr. Sobin's interview at the JAMA Otolaryngology website

Drs. Craig, Goyal, & Suryadevara publish article about nasal surgery in AJRA

Craig, John 5X7

Dr. John Craig

suryadea

Dr. Amar Suryadevara

Dr. Goyal

Dr. Parul Goyal

AJR cover page

Cover of the January-February 2014 issue of AJRA featuring picture from article by Drs. Craig, Goyal, & Suryadevara

Drs. John Craig, Parul Goyal, & Amar Suryadevara’s paper selected for the cover image of the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy

Dr. John Craig, Dr. Parul Goyal, & Dr. Amar Suryadevara recently conducted a study about a new type of surgical technique used to treat chronic nasal congestion.  Drs. Craig and Suryadevara are from SUNY Upstate Medical University and Dr. Goyal is from Syracuse Otolaryngology.

The doctors described using a special type of cartilage graft to treat patients with narrow nasal valves.  The nasal valve is a part of the nose that can cause problems with nasal congestion.  Using cartilage from a different part of the nose, the physicians described a way the nasal valve could be widened.

The doctors note that many patients suffer from chronic nasal congestion.  Narrow nasal valves can limit airflow very significantly and can have a very large impact on patients' quality-of-life.  Treating narrowing in this area can be challenging. 

Dr. Goyal is a Rhinologist (a surgeon who focuses on problems affecting the inside of the nose and the sinuses) and Dr. Suryadevara is a Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon (a surgeon who focuses on external nasal surgery and facial surgery).  They work together to treat patients with complex nasal problems affecting both the inside and outside of the nose.  The doctors plan to use the procedure described in the study in those patients who have severe narrowing in this area.

A link to the article is posted below:

Article at the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy website