Higher serum levels of periostin and the risk of exacerbations in moderate asthmatics
In asthma, exacerbations and poor disease control are linked to airway allergic inflammation. Serum periostin has been proposed as a systemic biomarker of eosinophilic inflammation. This pilot study aims at evaluating whether in patients with moderate asthma, higher baseline levels of serum periostin are associated with a greater risk of exacerbation.
Fifteen outpatients with moderate allergic asthma were recruited. Serum concentrations of periostin were assessed (ELISA) at baseline, and the frequency of asthma exacerbations was recorded during a one-year follow-up.
Patients (M/F: 10/5, mean age of 47.6 ± 11.0 years) had mean ACQ score of 5.5 ± 4.2 and FEV1%pred of 81.9 ± 21.7 %. Baseline serum levels of periostin did not correlate with lung function parameters, nor with the ACQ score (p ≥0.05 for all analyses). Five subjects (33 % of the study group) reported one or more exacerbations during the following year. Baseline serum levels of periostin were significantly higher in subjects who experienced one or more exacerbations during the one year period of follow-up, compared with subjects with no exacerbations: median serum periostin level was 4047 ng/ml (range: 2231 to 4889 ng/ml) and 222 ng/ml (range 28.2 to 1631 ng/ml) respectively; p = 0.001.
The findings of the present pilot study could form the basis for the design of larger studies aiming at developing strategies to identify asthmatic patients at risk for exacerbations.
The WEB-based Asthma Control: an intriguing connection or a dangerous hazard?
Carlo Lombardi, Giovanni Passalacqua and Giorgio Walter Canonica
Globally, an estimated 300 million people have asthma, presenting a considerable and increasing burden of disease for healthcare systems, families, and patients themselves. Despite two decades of guidelines, asthma seems to remain not optimally controlled in a substantial proportion of people. The achievement of asthma control is the result of the interaction among different variables concerning the disease pattern and patients’ and physicians’ knowledge and behavior. It is well known that adherence to treatment increases in parallel to patient education. There is now a growing interest in the use of digital information technologies to promote asthma control and improve outcomes. Mobile health, or mHealth, refers to mobile devices, medical sensors, and communication technologies that can enhance chronic disease care and monitoring. Aim of this review was to evaluate the web resources nowadays available and to analyze the published studies about the web-based instruments used to improve asthma knowledge, control asthma outcomes. In general, studies revealed that the technology is well accepted. Interactive asthma technology may be, in addition, of help in reaching populations difficult to reach, such as inner city populations. The number of tools and apps available continues to increase, and agencies such as the FDA, become involved in their regulation, thus the mHealth landscape will continue to evolve. Although asthma tools and apps have great potential to improve care for asthma, the proof of data reproducibility, the demonstration of effectiveness, and the privacy issues still represent the major technical problems.
KeywordsAsthma control Asthma knowledge Patient behavior Internet engines Social network Apps
Sickle cell disease: wheeze or asthma?
- Robyn T. Cohen, Elizabeth S. Klings and Robert C. Strunk
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is the most common life-limiting genetic disease among African Americans, affecting more than 100,000 people in the United States. Respiratory disorders in patients with sickle cell disease have been associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Associations between asthma and pain, acute chest syndrome (ACS), and even death have long been reported. More recently wheezing, even in the absence of an asthma diagnosis, has gained attention as a possible marker of SCD severity. Several challenges exist with regards to making the diagnosis of asthma in patients with SCD, including the high prevalence of wheezing, evidence of airway obstruction on pulmonary function testing, and/or airway hyperresponsiveness among patients with SCD. These features often occur in isolation, in the absence of other clinical criteria necessary for an asthma diagnosis. In this review we will summarize: 1) Our current understanding of the epidemiology of asthma, wheezing, airway obstruction, and airway responsiveness among patients with SCD; 2) The evidence supporting associations with SCD morbidity; 3) Our understanding of the pathophysiology of airway inflammation in SCD; 4) Current approaches to diagnosis and management of asthma in SCD; and 5) Future directions.
Table of Contents
Small airway dysfunction and bronchial asthma control : the state of the art
The official journal of Interasma
According to national and international guidelines, achieving and maintaining asthma control is a major goal of disease management. In closely controlled clinical trials, good asthma control can be achieved , with the medical treatments currently available, in the majority of patients , but large population-based studies suggest that a significant proportion of patients in real-life setting experience suboptimal levels of asthma control and report lifestyle limitations with a considerable burden on quality of life. Poor treatment adherence and persistence, failure to use inhalers correctly, heterogeneity of asthma phenotypes and associated co-morbidities are the main contributing factors to poor disease control. Now, it is widely accepted that peripheral airway dysfunction , already present in patients with mild asthma, is a key contributor of worse control. The aim of this paper is to investigate the association between small-airways dysfunction and asthma symptoms/control. We therefore performed a PubMed search using keywords : small airways; asthma (limits applied: Humans, English language) and selected papers with a study population of asthmatic patients, reporting measurement of small-airways parameters and clinical symptoms/control.
Keywords Small-airways disease Bronchial asthma Phenotypes Asthma control
XXIII WCA 2016 - Call for abstracts deadline
Call for Abstracts
Deadline November 30, 2015
As the deadline is fast approaching, we kindly invite you to submit an abstract, for the XXIII World Congress of Asthma / WCA-2016 in Madrid, by Monday November 30, 2015 at 23.59h (GMT).
To submit an abstract electronically please click here: www.wca-2016.com/submission.
For further details on abstracts & the online submission please click here: www.wca-2016.com/abstracts.
The school environment and asthma in childhood
In this article, we discuss the relationship between environmental exposures within the school environment and pediatric asthma morbidity. This article will conclude by reviewing novel school based asthma education and therapeutic programs and environmental interventions designed to help mitigate pediatric asthma morbidity.
Genetic and epigenetic studies of FOXP3 in asthma and allergy
Marques C, Costa R, Costa G, da Silva T, Teixeira T, de Andrade E, Galvão A, Carneiro V, Figueiredo C
Multiple factors interact to trigger allergic diseases, including individual genetic background and factors related to the environment such as exposure to allergens, air pollution and respiratory infections. The FOXP3 transcription factor is constitutively expressed in CD4 + CD25 + FOXP3 +regulatory T cells (Tregs) and is critical for the maintenance of immune homeostasis. For example, FOXP3 is responsible for the suppression of the Th2 response following exposure to allergens. Studies have shown that expression of the FOXP3 gene is reduced in patients with asthma and allergies compared to healthy controls. Therefore, the impairment of FOXP3 function caused by genetic polymorphisms and/or epigenetic mechanisms may be involved in the etiology of asthma and other allergic diseases. This review discusses some aspects of the role of FOXP3 in the development of asthma and allergy, with a particular emphasis on genetic and epigenetic factors.
“Asthma can take over your life but having the right support makes that easier to deal with.” Informing research priorities by exploring the barriers and facilitators to asthma control: a qualitative analysis of survey data
Involving patients and the public in research prioritisation is important. Cochrane Airways works with authors to produce systematic reviews of evidence related to chronic airways disease. Cochrane Airways has undertaken activities to identify research priorities, including workshops with stakeholders and consultation with experts. We present the findings of an online survey, designed to align our work with the priorities of people affected by asthma.
We promoted a survey comprising open-ended questions via social media to people affected by asthma. We compiled the free-text responses and conducted an exploratory thematic analysis to identify important barriers and facilitators to asthma control. We triangulated findings with other research prioritisation activities to produce new review questions.
We received 57 survey responses. Eight main themes emerged, most encompassing both facilitators and barriers: attitudes and knowledge; financial costs; environmental factors and triggers; healthcare systems; lifestyle factors; medication; self-care; and support. Barriers were more frequently mentioned than facilitators and many related to healthcare systems.
These findings offer valuable insights into the challenges faced by individuals affected by asthma in the UK, and possibly further afield. We developed a list of priority reviews based on what was said by people in this survey and at a workshop. This demonstrates the real impact that people affected by asthma have on the research agenda of Cochrane Airways. Over the next 2–3 years we will produce reviews that address some of these questions hopefully leading to health benefits.
Vocal cord dysfunction: a review
Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is a term that refers to inappropriate adduction of the vocal cords during inhalation and sometimes exhalation. It is a functional disorder that serves as an important mimicker of asthma. Vocal cord dysfunction can be difficult to treat as the condition is often underappreciated and misdiagnosed in clinical practice. Recognition of vocal cord dysfunction in patients with asthma-type symptoms is essential since missing this diagnosis can be a barrier to adequately treating patients with uncontrolled respiratory symptoms. Although symptoms often mimic asthma, the two conditions have certain distinct clinical features and demonstrate specific findings on diagnostic studies, which can serve to differentiate the two conditions. Moreover, management of vocal cord dysfunction should be directed at minimizing known triggers and initiating speech therapy, thereby minimizing use of unnecessary asthma medications. This review article describes key clinical features, important physical exam findings and commonly reported triggers in patients with vocal cord dysfunction. Additionally, this article discusses useful diagnostic studies to identify patients with vocal cord dysfunction and current management options for such patients.