When Essie Keyser traveled from Maryland to spend a week at National Jewish Health, where she received a diagnosis and treatment for her infection with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), she noticed an odd thing about her fellow patients. So many of them seemed to be tall, slender women in their 50s and 60s.
Recent research by pulmonologist Ed Chan, MD, has borne out Essie’s casual observation; NTM patients are, on average, 2 inches taller and 35 pounds lighter than the average American woman of the same age. The research also identified immune abnormalities in these women, which could help explain why this omnipresent organism infects them more often, and suggests therapeutic strategies for fighting this increasingly common disease.
National Jewish Health has unparalleled expertise in NTM. Its physicians see more patients than any other center in the world. Researchers and physicians at the National Jewish Health NTM Center of Excellence are developing DNA tests to enhance identification of NTM species, as well as tests to identify antibiotic-resistant strains and determine the most effective combinations of antibiotics to treat the disease.