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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.

OPKO Health enters into definitive agreement to acquire Inspiro Medical

OPKO Health, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Inspiro Medical Ltd., an Israeli medical device company developing a new platform to deliver small molecule drugs such as corticosteroids and beta agonists or larger molecules to treat respiratory diseases. Inspiro's Inspiromatic is a "smart" easy-to-use dry powder inhaler with several advantages over existing devices. [More]

State highlights: Mass. can't ban painkiller, judge rules; Kan. and health care compact bill

A selection of health policy stories from Massachusetts, Kansas, Florida, Michigan, Connecticut, Maryland, Arizona, Hawaii, Missouri and Georgia. [More]

Allergist says people allergic to multiple trees may have tough allergy this spring

The polar vortex may be on its way out, but it's certainly leaving its footprints behind. As spring rolls in, people allergic to multiple trees may have a tough allergy season - a consequence of the cold winter, says Mark Dykewicz, M.D., professor of allergy and immunology at Saint Louis University. [More]

Professor from INRS receives NIH grant to explore biomedical potential in field of oncology

Professor Nicolas Doucet of the Centre INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier has just received a research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the amount of nearly US$600,000. The 5-year grant is to pursue cutting-edge research in the workings of tiny proteins called RNases and to explore their biomedical potential in the field of oncology as well as in inflammation and asthma. [More]
Researchers develop more accurate tool for diagnosing even mild cases of asthma

Researchers develop more accurate tool for diagnosing even mild cases of asthma

Using just a single drop of blood, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has developed a faster, cheaper and more accurate tool for diagnosing even mild cases of asthma. [More]

Scientists identify enzyme that could be a useful target in treating asthma, cancer

In experiments with mice, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists have identified an enzyme involved in the regulation of immune system T cells that could be a useful target in treating asthma and boosting the effects of certain cancer therapies. [More]
Multiple genomic data could help improve studies of association between genes and disease

Multiple genomic data could help improve studies of association between genes and disease

The difference between merely throwing around buzzwords like "personalized medicine" and "big data" and delivering on their medical promise is in the details of developing methods for analyzing and interpreting genomic data. In a pair of new papers, Brown University epidemiologist Yen-Tsung Huang and colleagues show how integrating different kinds of genomic data could improve studies of the association between genes and disease. [More]
Access provides update on new formulation of anti-inflammatory drug amlexanox

Access provides update on new formulation of anti-inflammatory drug amlexanox

ACCESS PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. (OTCBB: ACCP) provided an update on a new formulation of the anti-inflammatory drug amlexanox, called LexaGard™, for the treatment of inflammatory and ulcerative conditions of the esophagus. [More]

USPTO grants patent for low-cost dry powder inhaler to Hovione

Hovione announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted a patent for a capsule-based, low-cost dry powder inhaler (DPI) to Hovione. This happened less than three years after the patent was filed and after just one Office Action - unusual speed for an inhaler application. [More]

Cincinnati Children's Hospital doc suggests tips to combat allergy symptoms

One of the problems that parents may have during the springtime is deciphering whether their children's sneezing is due to a cold or allergies. [More]
State highlights: 'Balance billing' protection in N.Y.; L.A. nursing home complaint backlog

State highlights: 'Balance billing' protection in N.Y.; L.A. nursing home complaint backlog

Hospital patients in New York are the latest in the nation to gain legal protection against unexpected bills from doctors who won't accept their insurance. [More]

Food allergies are closely linked to spring allergies, says allergist

The Midwest's high tree pollen count is primarily birch and oak, bad news for carrot, celery and almond lovers. "It's healthy if certain foods make your mouth water but it is unhealthy if foods make your nose run or your gums and throat itch," says Joseph Leija, MD, allergist who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official allergy count for the Midwest. [More]

First Edition: April 7, 2014

Today's headlines include stories about the next round of health law challenges the Obama administration faces as well as the new Medicare Advantage rates scheduled to be announced today. [More]

New insights provide novel therapeutic approach against cancer

A major discovery that brings a new drug target to the increasingly exciting landscape of cancer immunotherapy was published yesterday by researchers from La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and their collaborators from other institutes. [More]

New "3D" method could reduce the need for animal testing

To determine whether new medicines are safe and effective for humans, researchers must first test them in animals, which is costly and time-consuming, as well as ethically challenging. [More]
Study finds that stress can make allergies worse

Study finds that stress can make allergies worse

Stress doesn't cause allergies, but easing your mind might mean less allergy flare-ups this spring. According to a study published in the April issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergy sufferers with persistent stress experience more allergy flares. [More]
FDA approves ORALAIR sublingual allergy immunotherapy tablet

FDA approves ORALAIR sublingual allergy immunotherapy tablet

GREER Laboratories, Inc., a leading developer and provider of allergy immunotherapy products and services, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved ORALAIR (Sweet Vernal, Orchard, Perennial Rye, Timothy and Kentucky Blue Grass Mixed Pollens Allergen Extract) sublingual allergy immunotherapy tablet. [More]

Magellan Health Services enters into agreement to acquire CDMI

Magellan Health Services, Inc. today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire CDMI, LLC, a privately-held company that provides a range of clinical consulting programs and negotiates and administers drug rebates for managed care organizations (MCO) and other customers. [More]
Mechanical circulatory assist device may have untapped potential in heart surgery patients, say physicians

Mechanical circulatory assist device may have untapped potential in heart surgery patients, say physicians

The most frequently used mechanical circulatory assist device in the world may have untapped potential, physicians say. [More]
Research roundup: Distance from a transplant center; Medicaid prenatal care; metastasis of email; profiting from Medicare Advantage

Research roundup: Distance from a transplant center; Medicaid prenatal care; metastasis of email; profiting from Medicare Advantage

Centralization of specialized health care services such as organ transplantation and bariatric surgery is advocated to improve quality, increase efficiency, and reduce cost. [More]