This study will test the hypothesis that constitutionally poorer Eustachian tube function
predisposes to middle-ear pathology during a viral upper respiratory infection.
The most well supported immediate cause of Otitis media (OM) is a pre-existing or concurrent
viral upper respiratory tract infection (vURI). However, not all vURI episodes cause OM and
a variety of predisposing factors has been suggested to explain this selectivity. Based on
our preliminary work using a model of experimental viral infections in adults, we
hypothesize that the constitutional efficiency of the Eustachian tube (ET) to supply the
middle ear (ME) with gas and thereby stabilize ME pressure at near ambient is a primary risk
factor for OM during vURI. Here, we test the hypothesis that constitutionally poorer ET
function (F) predisposes to ME pathology during a vURI. Specifically, we will use ETF
testing protocols relevant to the pressure-chamber to evaluate constitutional ETF in ≈ 160
susceptible, adult volunteers who will be exposed to rhinovirus as part of our funded study
entitled "Social and Psychological Risks for Infectious Disease" (PI: S. Cohen, PI: CHP
subcontract: WJ Doyle) and document the ETF and ME responses to infection over a 5-day
post-exposure, cloister period.
Also, using protocols relevant to the pressure-chamber, we will evaluate constitutional ETF
in 80 children who will be enrolled into our funded study entitled "Role of Virus and
Genetic Susceptibility in Otitis Media" (PI: CM Alper) and followed for vURI and OM from
October through April. From both data sets, we will extract measures of ETF efficiency and
determine using logistic regression with appropriate control variables (e.g. demographic
data etc) if a single or combination of ETF variables predicts an abnormal ME response in
rhinovirus infected adults or OM during a rhinovirus cold in children.
- Participating/participated in one of the two identified studies
- No longer meet inclusion/exclusion criteria of parent studies