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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.
Scientists identify four new genes associated with severe food allergy

Scientists identify four new genes associated with severe food allergy

Scientists have identified four new genes associated with the severe food allergy eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). Because the genes appear to have roles in other allergic diseases and in inflammation, the findings may point toward potential new treatments for EoE. [More]
UEA researcher awarded NIHR grant to reduce avoidable asthma deaths in the UK

UEA researcher awarded NIHR grant to reduce avoidable asthma deaths in the UK

Leading researcher Dr. Andrew Wilson from the University of East Anglia has been awarded £1.7million in funding from the National Institute for Health Research, enabling the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research to identify people most at risk of an asthma attack in order to reduce the high number of avoidable asthma deaths. [More]
Type 3 interferons and T helper 2 cells: an interview with Grant Gallagher, Managing Director, HUMIGEN

Type 3 interferons and T helper 2 cells: an interview with Grant Gallagher, Managing Director, HUMIGEN

The type 3 interferons - usually called the “lambda” interferons, or “IFNL” - are the most recently identified IFNs. We (myself and Sergei Kotenko) originally identified the receptor and then the three ligands (IFNL1,2,3; very recently a fourth, IFNL4, was discovered); the key paper was published in 2003. [More]
Asthma associated with higher risk of heart attack or stroke

Asthma associated with higher risk of heart attack or stroke

Asthma that requires daily medication is associated with a significantly higher risk of heart attack or stroke, according to a new study from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. [More]
Three Johns Hopkins hospitals recognized as Top Performer on Key Quality Measures

Three Johns Hopkins hospitals recognized as Top Performer on Key Quality Measures

Three Johns Hopkins Medicine hospitals are recipients of The Joint Commission’s 2013 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures award. The Top Performer program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, stroke, venous thromboembolism (VTE) and perinatal care, as well as for inpatient psychiatric services and immunizations. [More]
Concordia Healthcare reports record revenues of 147% in third quarter 2014

Concordia Healthcare reports record revenues of 147% in third quarter 2014

Concordia Healthcare Corp. ("Concordia" or the "Company"), a diverse healthcare company focused on legacy pharmaceutical products, orphan drugs, and medical devices for the diabetic population, today announced its financial and operational results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2014. [More]
Salivary mucins protect teeth from cariogenic bacterium

Salivary mucins protect teeth from cariogenic bacterium

Salivary mucins, key components of mucus, actively protect the teeth from the cariogenic bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, according to research published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The research suggests that bolstering native defenses might be a better way to fight dental caries than relying on exogenous materials, such as sealants and fluoride treatment, says first author Erica Shapiro Frenkel, of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. [More]
Regeneron, Sanofi report positive results from dupilumab Phase 2b study in patients with asthma

Regeneron, Sanofi report positive results from dupilumab Phase 2b study in patients with asthma

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi today announced positive results from the interim analysis of a dose-ranging Phase 2b study of dupilumab in adult patients with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe asthma. Dupilumab is an investigational therapy blocking IL-4 and IL-13, two cytokines required for the Th2 immune response. [More]
UW SMPH awarded $70 million grant to continue work on Inner-City Asthma Consortium

UW SMPH awarded $70 million grant to continue work on Inner-City Asthma Consortium

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health a seven-year, $70 million grant for its continuing work on the Inner-City Asthma Consortium (ICAC) -- a nationwide clinical research network to evaluate and develop promising new immune-based treatments. [More]
LSTM receives research grants to develop Experimental Human Pneumococcal Carriage model

LSTM receives research grants to develop Experimental Human Pneumococcal Carriage model

Respiratory specialists at Liverpool School Tropical Medicine (LSTM) have been awarded two substantial research grants to further develop and utilise their Experimental Human Pneumococcal Carriage (EHPC) model. [More]
LSTM awarded research grants to develop Experimental Human Pneumococcal Carriage model

LSTM awarded research grants to develop Experimental Human Pneumococcal Carriage model

Respiratory specialists at Liverpool School Tropical Medicine have been awarded two substantial research grants to further develop and utilise their Experimental Human Pneumococcal Carriage (EHPC) model. [More]
Exposure to indoor air pollution affects children's lungs

Exposure to indoor air pollution affects children's lungs

Children with asthma and hay fever often struggle with their breathing. Add secondhand smoke, kerosene and biomass fuel to the mix and allergy and asthma symptoms increase. [More]
New algorithm could help determine how to treat patients having difficulty breathing

New algorithm could help determine how to treat patients having difficulty breathing

Paramedics respond to a 911 call to find an elderly patient who's having difficulty breathing. Anxious and disoriented, the patient has trouble remembering all the medications he's taking, and with his shortness of breath, speaking is difficult. Is he suffering from acute emphysema or heart failure? The symptoms look the same, but initiating the wrong treatment regimen will increase the patient's risk of severe complications. [More]
Asthma patients using behavioral therapy can improve lung health over the long-term

Asthma patients using behavioral therapy can improve lung health over the long-term

Asthma patients taught to habitually resist the urge to take deep breaths when experiencing symptoms were rewarded with fewer symptoms and healthier lung function, according to a new study from Southern Methodist University, Dallas. [More]
Medical illness common in bipolar disorder

Medical illness common in bipolar disorder

Patients with bipolar disorder have high rates of medical illness, which often exceeds the levels observed in patients with unipolar depression, show results of a UK-based study. [More]
UCLA study: Asthma harms more than just the lungs, may be more harmful than previously thought

UCLA study: Asthma harms more than just the lungs, may be more harmful than previously thought

Asthma may be more harmful than was previously thought, according to UCLA researchers who found that genetic damage is present in circulating, or peripheral, blood. Doctors previously thought that the genetic damage it caused was limited to the lungs. [More]
Study: Tonsil removal for children with sleep apnea decreases asthma severity

Study: Tonsil removal for children with sleep apnea decreases asthma severity

Surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids in children suffering from sleep apnea is associated with decreased asthma severity, according to the first large study of the connection, published in the journal PLOS Medicine. [More]
Rigel Pharmaceuticals reports net loss of $20.9 million for third quarter of 2014

Rigel Pharmaceuticals reports net loss of $20.9 million for third quarter of 2014

Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today reported financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2014. [More]
Epicure project: an interview with Frédéric Cren

Epicure project: an interview with Frédéric Cren

Epicure is a project led by Inventiva and Institut Curie that aims to deliver pre-clinical candidates on two novel epigenetic targets that have been selected due to their potential to activate immune responses against cancer cells. In addition one of these two targets has potential in respiratory indications such as asthma or COPD. [More]

Combination therapy beneficial for COPD patients

Research published in JAMA supports the use of a combination of long-acting β-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [More]