The WCA-2016 Board wishes you Happy Holidays and a productive & prosperous New Year!

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Monday, 21 December 2015 23:26

Sickle cell disease: wheeze or asthma?

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Wednesday, 09 December 2015 12:17
  • 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

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Tuesday, 01 December 2015 13:19
Marcello Cottini, Carlo Lombardi,Claudio Micheletto

DOI: 10.1186/s40733-015-0013-3


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

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Thursday, 12 November 2015 14:56

Call for Abstracts

Deadline November 30, 2015

Dear Participant,

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:

For further details on abstracts & the online submission please click here:

The school environment and asthma in childhood

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Wednesday, 11 November 2015 13:29
Marissa Hauptman and Wanda Phipatanakul


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

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Wednesday, 21 October 2015 11:08


Marques C, Costa R, Costa G, da Silva T, Teixeira T, de Andrade E, Galvão A, Carneiro V, Figueiredo C

Asthma Research and Practice 2015, 1 :10 


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.

 Full Text | PDF

“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

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Tuesday, 13 October 2015 14:33
Open Access

Rebecca Normansell* and Emma Welsh

  • *Corresponding author: Rebecca Normansell This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Author Affiliations

For all author emails, please log on.



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.

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Vocal cord dysfunction: a review

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Sunday, 11 October 2015 20:49
Open Access

Neha M. Dunn1*Rohit K. Katial2 and Flavia C. L. Hoyte2

  • *Corresponding author: Neha M Dunn This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Author Affiliations


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.

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Allergic rhinitis: the “Ghost Diagnosis” in patients with asthma

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Friday, 18 September 2015 19:47
Open Access

Maureen Egan and Supinda Bunyavanich


Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a common comorbidity of asthma that contributes to asthma severity. Although over 80 % of asthmatics have AR, the condition is frequently underdiagnosed in subjects with asthma. AR itself is also a highly prevalent condition, affecting 10-30 % of adults and up to 40 % of children. AR has been associated with both increased risk of asthma development and asthma severity. The exact mechanisms underlying these relationships have yet to be fully elucidated, but evidence supports a role for allergen sensitization. Compared to those with asthma alone, patients with comorbid AR and asthma have greater use of health care resources, including visits to the general practitioner, emergency department and hospitalizations. Pharmacological treatment of AR reduces this health care burden. Immunotherapy for AR improves both asthma and rhinitis symptoms in addition to preventing future allergen sensitizations and asthma development. Appropriate recognition, diagnosis and treatment of AR can significantly reduce asthma morbidity and improve quality of life.

Psychological aspects in asthma: do psychological factors affect asthma management?

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Friday, 18 September 2015 19:37
Open Access

Ilaria Baiardini*Francesca SicuroFrancesco BalbiGiorgio Walter Canonica and Fulvio Braido


Despite the regular treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) or ICS plus long-acting beta2-agonists, permits to control de majority of asthmatics, a significant proportion of patients does not respond to this treatment.

This review was aimed to explore the role of psychological factors associated to the unsuccessful fulfilment of optimal levels of asthma control, especially in patients suffering from severe asthma. The results of a Medline search were 5510 articles addressed to different psychological key concepts, constructs and variables. This review will highlight how some selected psychological factors may have a burden on asthma management. Evidences are now available about the link between asthma (in terms of severity and control), some psychological aspects (subjective perception, alexithymia, coping style) and mental health (anxiety, depression). Taking into account this most probably bidirectional influence, a screening of mental symptoms and psychological aspects related to asthma, could lead to plan appropriate interventions to better control asthma and to improve the patient’s well-being.

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