Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Changing Face of Severe Asthma: Boys in Childhood and Women as Adults

14.10.2003


Almost two out of three children with severe asthma are boys. But women account for more than two out of three adults with severe asthma. And no one really knows why. Those are some of the most striking results of a cross-sectional study of severe asthma by researchers from National Jewish Medical and Research Center being published in the October issue of the journal Chest. The research team, led by Joseph Spahn, M.D., also found that children with severe asthma had surprisingly good airflow in and out of their lungs, which could lead to misdiagnosis and undertreatment of seriously ill patients.



"Our findings highlight many of the significant differences between severe asthma in children and adults," said Dr. Spahn. "We hope they will spur further research that can lead to a better understanding and better treatment of this disease."

People with severe asthma, whose asthma remains uncontrolled in spite of high doses of medication, represent 5 percent to 10 percent of the estimated 20 million asthma patients in the United States. But they are important in terms of suffering, medical costs and difficulty finding effective treatments. Dr. Spahn and his colleagues examined a variety of demographic and biological data for 275 patients with severe asthma who had been referred to National Jewish.


Physicians have suspected that severe asthma differs considerably from childhood to adulthood, and indeed that turned out to be the case. The greatest difference was the male-to-female ratio. Males accounted for 62% of the patients under age 18. But 68% of the severe asthma patients over 18 were female. A similar situation has been noted in mild and moderate asthma, but not in patients with severe asthma.

"There has been speculation that a woman’s hormones or possibly a difference in the size of male and female lungs play a role in this changing pattern of asthma prevalence, but no one really knows for sure why it occurs," said Dr. Spahn. "If we could learn why, we might gain valuable insight that could help us better treat all our asthma patients."

Dr. Spahn and his colleagues also found that children with severe asthma have deceptively good lung function. The amount of air a person can exhale in a second, known as forced expiratory volume in one second or FEV1, is one of the primary measures used to diagnose and categorize a patient’s asthma. Patients are deemed to have severe asthma when their FEV1 is less than 60 percent of the average value for healthy people of their size and age.

The adults in Spahn’s study had an average FEV1 that was 57 percent of the healthy average. Children in the study, however, averaged an FEV1 of 74 percent of the healthy average, with many exceeding 90 percent. Although other symptoms, such as medication use and history of asthma attacks, clearly put them in the severe category, the FEV1 results alone would have indicated that more than 40 percent had mild asthma and only 28 percent severe disease.

"The good news is that children have significantly less impaired lung function than do adults with asthma," said Dr. Spahn. "The bad news is that existing guidelines do not reflect this fact, and physicians may be mistakenly reassured by normal or near normal lung function readings in their pediatric patients. As a result, they may fail to appreciate the severity of their patients’ asthma and undertreat them."

The study also indicates that patients whose asthma began in childhood rapidly lose lung function through adolescence then level off to a more moderate decline as they reach adulthood. Patients whose asthma began in adulthood, however, lose lung function almost immediately.

"Child-onset and adult-onset asthma may be two distinct forms of the disease, one that is slowly progressive over time and another that is associated with significant loss of lung function very shortly after onset," said Dr. Spahn.

William Allstetter | National Jewish News
Further information:
http://www.nationaljewish.org/news/severe_asthma.html

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>