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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.
New study may help develop effective medication for severe pain

New study may help develop effective medication for severe pain

The nerve cells that transmit pain signals in the body are called nociceptors. When activated they release pro-inflammatory neuropeptides. In order to recognise harmful external influences, nociceptors are equipped with a wide range of receptors. [More]
New IDSA guidelines focus on diagnosis, treatment of deadly aspergillosis

New IDSA guidelines focus on diagnosis, treatment of deadly aspergillosis

New therapies are improving care, but early diagnosis remains critical in the effective treatment of invasive, a potentially deadly fungal infection, according to new guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. [More]
Allergy-causing immune cells play life-saving role in deadly C. difficile infection

Allergy-causing immune cells play life-saving role in deadly C. difficile infection

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have identified immune cells vital for protecting us from potentially fatal C. difficile infection. Surprisingly, those cells are often vilified for their role in causing asthma and allergies. But when it comes to C. difficile, they could be the difference in life and death. [More]
Researchers test new drug with potential to reverse or slow progression of asthma

Researchers test new drug with potential to reverse or slow progression of asthma

A new drug with the potential to reverse or slow the development of asthma is being tested by researchers at The University of Queensland. [More]
New study shows microRNAs play important role in inducing asthma

New study shows microRNAs play important role in inducing asthma

A new study shows that microRNAs, which are small, noncoding RNA molecules that can silence genes, have an important role in inducing asthma. [More]
Latest comprehensive survey reveals top health concerns for South Siders

Latest comprehensive survey reveals top health concerns for South Siders

Residents on the South Side say cancer, violence prevention and sexually transmitted infections are among their top health concerns, according to the latest comprehensive assessment conducted by the University of Chicago Medicine. [More]
Could artificial intelligence help to combat stress? An interview with Davide Morelli

Could artificial intelligence help to combat stress? An interview with Davide Morelli

Stress is actually a bit of a buzzword. The initial definition was “the reaction to changes”, which is why you get stressed also when good things happen, hence the distinction between good stress, eustress, and bad stress, distress. [More]
Study to examine new ways to transfer autistic child's improving communication skills into education setting

Study to examine new ways to transfer autistic child's improving communication skills into education setting

A University of Manchester-led study is testing whether an intervention with parents and teachers can help children with autism transfer newly acquired social communication skills from home into school. [More]
Researchers identify candidate genes controlling phenolic compound accumulation in broccoli

Researchers identify candidate genes controlling phenolic compound accumulation in broccoli

Love it or hate it, broccoli is touted as a superfood, offering an array of health benefits. And it's about to get even more super. [More]
Microbial community less stable and less diverse in antibiotic-treated children

Microbial community less stable and less diverse in antibiotic-treated children

The DIABIMMUNE project followed the development of 39 Finnish infants from birth to the age of three. Half of the children received 9-15 antibiotic treatments during the research period, and the other half did not receive any such treatments. [More]
ACP provides physician perspective on rising prescription drug prices

ACP provides physician perspective on rising prescription drug prices

The American College of Physicians today provided physician perspective on the escalating cost of prescription drugs, the impact of the costs on internal medicine physicians and their patients, and support for the intent of the bipartisan Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act of 2016 to reduce anti-competitive practices. [More]
Study finds increase in pollen allergies among Swedish adults

Study finds increase in pollen allergies among Swedish adults

The prevalence of pollen allergies among adults in Sweden has increased. However, the prevalence of allergies to furred animals, mites or mold has not. These were the results of a new study at Sahlgrenska Academy. [More]
E-cigarette use modifies gene expression important for upper airway immune defense

E-cigarette use modifies gene expression important for upper airway immune defense

When we smoke cigarettes, dozens of genes important for immune defense are altered in the epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract. Several of these changes likely increase the risk of bacterial infections, viruses, and inflammation. [More]
Delivery mode, exposure to antibiotics and feeding method linked to change in baby's microbial communities

Delivery mode, exposure to antibiotics and feeding method linked to change in baby's microbial communities

Birth by C-section, exposure to antibiotics and formula feeding slow the development and decrease the diversity of a baby's microbes through the first year of life. That is the finding of a study led by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center and published June 15 in the journal Science Translational Medicine. [More]
Women working long hours may be working themselves sick

Women working long hours may be working themselves sick

Research published this week shows that women working long hours for many years are at increased risk of developing life-threatening illnesses. Diabetes, cancer, heart trouble and arthritis were three times more common among women who worked an average of 60 hours or more per week for 30 years compared with women working fewer hours. [More]
New survey shows how patients use social media to gain better understanding of health condition

New survey shows how patients use social media to gain better understanding of health condition

A new survey from Health Union of more than 2,200 people with chronic health conditions and their caregivers illustrates how patients use online health information to better understand their health condition, learn about symptoms and treatment, and share experiences with other patients living with the same health condition. [More]
Long work hours may triple risk of life-threatening illnesses in women

Long work hours may triple risk of life-threatening illnesses in women

Women who put in long hours for the bulk of their careers may pay a steep price: life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. [More]
Primary care-based program can help improve assessment and treatment of asthma in children

Primary care-based program can help improve assessment and treatment of asthma in children

An innovative primary care-based asthma program improves identification of poorly controlled asthma among children and enhances treatment plans, compared to care provided during routine office visits, according to research published in the current edition of the Journal of Asthma. [More]
Young cancer survivors more likely to be current cigarette smokers

Young cancer survivors more likely to be current cigarette smokers

Researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have found that cancer survivors who were diagnosed at adolescent and young adult ages are more likely to be current cigarette smokers than people who have not had cancer. The findings of this study are currently available in Cancer. [More]
Early-life peanut consumption feasible and nutritionally safe for children, study finds

Early-life peanut consumption feasible and nutritionally safe for children, study finds

Introducing peanut-containing foods during infancy as a peanut allergy prevention strategy does not compromise the duration of breastfeeding or affect children's growth and nutritional intakes, new findings show. [More]
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