WHAT: May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month and experts from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) are available to discuss current asthma research focused on treatment, causes and comorbidities of this condition that affects more than 24 million people in the United States, including more than six million children.
NHLBI funded researchers have made significant progress in targeting treatments to specific asthma patients. James Kiley, Ph.D., director of the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases is available for interviews on the findings and implications of these studies.
Severe asthma and frequent exacerbations
A study conducted by the NHLBI's Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP) identified several factors associated with exacerbation prone asthma (EPA), including levels of blood eosinophil, a type of white blood cell, body mass index, and bronchodilator responsiveness. Asthma exacerbations are common, severe events that can be life-threatening and accelerate loss of lung function. The results of the study suggest that EPA could be identified with distinctive clinical characteristics and this may lead to tailored prevention strategies for patients.
Individualized therapy for frequent asthma in children
An NHLBI-funded clinical trial found that assessing sensitivity to airborne pollutants and checking the levels of eosinophil through a blood test helps in selecting treatment for children younger than five who need to be treated daily for asthma. This is a challenging population to treat without a definite asthma diagnosis and given the risks of inhaled steroids for children’s growth.
How steroids affect bronchial microbiome in people with asthma
An NHLBI AsthmaNet trial identified differences in the bronchial microbiome, the bacteria found in the airways of healthy people, those with allergies but no asthma, and people with mild asthma. These are associated with immunological and clinical characteristics of the disease. In the people with asthma, the bronchial microbiome were altered by using inhaled steroids, a common treatment. These findings may offer new targets for treatment or identify patients most likely to respond to specific treatments.
Young children with mild, persistent asthma can tolerate acetaminophen
In an NHLBI-funded study of children with mild, persistent asthma, scientists found that, contrary to what some prior reports suggested, acetaminophen was tolerated just as well as ibuprofen without worsening of asthma.
WHO: James Kiley, Ph.D., Director, Division of Lung Diseases, NHLBI, NIH