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Asthma is a common inflammatory disease affecting the airways that leads to shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. Symptoms range from mild to severe but are generally manageable with appropriate treatment.

When asthmatics come into contact with something that irritates their lungs, three main changes occur that prevent air from moving easily through the airways. The bands of muscle surrounding the airways tighten and narrow the airway (bronchospasm), the lining of the airways inflame, and the cells that line the airways produce more mucus. This bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production lead to wheezing, coughing and difficulty in breathing.

An asthma “attack” refers to when the onset of symptoms is severe. In rare cases, an asthma attack can be life threatening and hospitalization may be required to provide emergency treatment.
The exact cause of asthma is not yet clear, but examples of factors that are known to trigger the condition include allergens such as house dust mites or pollen, cigarette smoke, exercise, chest infections, and exposure to cold air.

Asthma cannot be cured but it can be controlled. One of the most important parts of asthma control is identifying asthma triggers so they can be avoided wherever possible. Medications that may be used include anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling and mucus production and bronchodilators to relax the muscles that tighten and narrow the airways.
Oral budesonide suspension offers hope for pediatric patients with EoE

Oral budesonide suspension offers hope for pediatric patients with EoE

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. [More]
New study aims to improve understanding of vinyl crib mattress covers

New study aims to improve understanding of vinyl crib mattress covers

The U.S. continues to look at the use and regulation of phthalates, which have been associated with health problems. Of particular concern is the safety of these plastic additives to children. A new study aims to improve our understanding of one possible exposure route for babies: vinyl crib mattress covers. [More]
Most people with asthma or severe allergies do not use medical devices correctly, study finds

Most people with asthma or severe allergies do not use medical devices correctly, study finds

For people with asthma or severe allergies, medical devices like inhalers and epinephrine autoinjectors, such as EpiPen, can be lifesaving. [More]
Study: New flooring can increase risk of respiratory diseases in infants

Study: New flooring can increase risk of respiratory diseases in infants

New flooring in the living environment of pregnant women significantly increases the risk of infants to suffer from respiratory diseases in their first year of life. This is the result of a study carried out by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and the "St Georg" Municipal Hospital, which demonstrates that exposure to volatile organic compounds in the months before and after birth induces breathing problems in early childhood . [More]
Tips to allergy sufferers for easy breathing this holiday season

Tips to allergy sufferers for easy breathing this holiday season

The many smells and tastes of the holidays that get so many in a festive mood can sicken others, thanks to allergic reactions. But with some seasonal savvy, allergy sufferers can breathe easy this festive time of year. [More]

Scientists to explore biology of human asthma by using slime mould

Scientists from Royal Holloway, University of London, will research the biology of human asthma by using a slime mould, an organism which has no lungs but could hold the key to new treatments. [More]

Study: Drive for energy efficient homes could raise asthma risks

The drive for energy efficient homes could increase asthma risks, according to new research. [More]
Study examines benefits of IS technique in assessing effect of pollution on urban asthmatic children

Study examines benefits of IS technique in assessing effect of pollution on urban asthmatic children

For the firefighters and rescue workers conducting the rescue and cleanup operations at Ground Zero from September 2001 to May 2002, exposure to hazardous airborne particles led to a disturbing "WTC cough" -- obstructed airways and inflammatory bronchial hyperactivity -- and acute inflammation of the lungs. At the time, bronchoscopy, the insertion of a fiber optic bronchoscope into the lung, was the only way to obtain lung samples. But this method is highly invasive and impractical for screening large populations. [More]
Tips to reduce migraine risk during holiday season

Tips to reduce migraine risk during holiday season

Certain foods and drinks can trigger migraine in many people, and those who suffer from migraines need to be especially careful to avoid these triggers as they attend holiday celebrations. With this in mind, the American Migraine Foundation and its Chair, David W. Dodick, MD, FRCP (C), FACP, want to help people with migraine avoid these potential triggers, so that they can better enjoy the season. Dr. Dodick is also Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (Scottsdale, AZ). [More]
Adverse childhood experiences impact child health, school outcomes

Adverse childhood experiences impact child health, school outcomes

Nearly half of all children in the United States are exposed to at least one social or family experience that can lead to traumatic stress and impact their healthy development - be it having their parents divorce, a parent die or living with someone who abuses alcohol or drugs - increasing the risk of negative long-term health consequences or of falling behind in school, suggests new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. [More]
Children born prematurely need to be placed in a priority group for seasonal flu vaccination

Children born prematurely need to be placed in a priority group for seasonal flu vaccination

Children born prematurely are at an increased risk of flu-related complications, despite not being identified as an “at risk” group in UK, USA, or WHO guidelines, and should be a priority group for the seasonal flu vaccination, new research published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine suggests. [More]
Vitamin C may reduce exercise-induced bronchoconstriction and respiratory symptoms

Vitamin C may reduce exercise-induced bronchoconstriction and respiratory symptoms

Physical activity increases oxidative stress, and therefore, as an antioxidant vitamin C might have particularly evident effects on people who are participating in vigorous exercise. In several studies, vitamin C administration attenuated the increases in oxidative stress markers caused by exercise. Furthermore, vitamin C is involved in the metabolism of histamine, prostaglandins, and cysteinyl leukotrienes, all of which appear to be mediators in the pathogenesis of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. [More]
New diagnostic system describes symptoms using the image of patient's tongue

New diagnostic system describes symptoms using the image of patient's tongue

Physicians often ask their patients to "Please stick out your tongue". The tongue can betray signs of illness, which combined with other symptoms such as a cough, fever, presence of jaundice, headache or bowel habits, can help the physician offer a diagnosis. For people in remote areas who do not have ready access to a physician, a new diagnostic system is reported in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Technology that works to combine the soft inputs of described symptoms with a digital analysis of an image of the patient's tongue. [More]
MorphoSys, Xencor announce final results from MOR208 Phase 1/2a trial in patients with CLL/SLL

MorphoSys, Xencor announce final results from MOR208 Phase 1/2a trial in patients with CLL/SLL

MorphoSys AG and Xencor Inc. today announced the publication of final results of a Phase 1/2a trial evaluating MOR208 (formerly XmAb5574) in patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic leukemia (CLL/SLL). [More]
PulmoFlow's nebulized drug and device combination gets FDA approval for cystic fibrosis

PulmoFlow's nebulized drug and device combination gets FDA approval for cystic fibrosis

On Tuesday, the FDA granted final approval of PulmoFlow, Inc.'s New Drug Application for Kitabis Pak – a co-packaging of generic tobramycin inhalation solution with a PARI LC PLUS Nebulizer. This is the first nebulized drug and device combination to be approved for patients with cystic fibrosis. [More]

Scientists report new approach to defeating asthma by targeting allergen

Current asthma treatments can alleviate wheezing, coughing and other symptoms felt by millions of Americans every year, but they don't get to the root cause of the condition. Now, for the first time, scientists are reporting a new approach to defeating asthma by targeting the trigger -- the allergen -- before it can spark an attack. They describe their new compound, which they tested on rats, in ACS' Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. [More]
New blood test could help detect cold-related asthma risk

New blood test could help detect cold-related asthma risk

People who have asthma generally suffer worse with colds caused by rhinoviruses than other people do. There are also asthmatics and patients with the severe lung condition COPD in whom the cold virus can trigger serious flare-ups of their condition. A team of researchers from the Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research at the MedUni Vienna has now discovered how this risk group can be filtered out using a blood test. [More]
SPLUNC1 protein binds to pulmonary lipids to fight lung infection

SPLUNC1 protein binds to pulmonary lipids to fight lung infection

Scientists have taken an important step toward a new class of antibiotics aimed at stopping lung infections. They found that a protein found in large airways, called "SPLUNC1," binds to lipids critical to defending against bacterial and viral infections, as well as keeping lung tissue flexible and hydrated. [More]
Australian Prescriber publishes top 10 subsidised drugs in Australia

Australian Prescriber publishes top 10 subsidised drugs in Australia

The annual publication of the top 10 subsidised drugs appears in the December edition of Australian Prescriber. Statins (cholesterol-lowering medicines) top the lists again. [More]
Researchers dismiss causal link between antibiotics treatment and childhood asthma

Researchers dismiss causal link between antibiotics treatment and childhood asthma

In a new register study in the scientific journal BMJ, researchers at Karolinska Institutet are able to dismiss previous claims that there is a link between the increased use of antibiotics in society and a coinciding rise in childhood asthma. The study includes half a million children and shows that exposure to antibiotics during pregnancy or early in life does not appear to increase the risk of asthma. [More]