Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Understanding mechanisms of common colds: a new approach to help control asthma attacks

In an article published today (27 February) in the journal "Allergy", experts in the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA²LEN) suggest that respiratory infections are a main trigger of asthma attacks. Scientists now need to understand the differences between the response to a common cold and air pollution in asthmatics compared with non-asthmatics patients with a view to figure out mechanisms of asthma exacerbations.

“Understanding the mechanism that allows non-asthmatics to deal with the common cold could constitute a new approach to help prevent and control asthma attacks,” says Dr. Papadopoulos lead author of the publication (1) and chairman of the recent GA²LEN workshop on asthma and rhinitis exacerbations (2).

The review paper presents evidence showing that most asthma attacks follow common colds and other respiratory infections. In some cases, the common cold is the unique precursor of wheezing and associated symptoms, particularly among children.

“Over the years, chronic asthma has become treatable,” says Dr Papadopoulos. “But prevention of acute (and sometimes lethal) attacks remains very difficult – and it is these attacks that cause the pain and anxiety that make asthma so difficult to live with.”

New studies demonstrate that allergens and air pollution, such as car fumes and tobacco smoke, appear to complicate the asthmatic’s reaction to viruses and prompt stronger and more immediate asthma attacks.

An increase of nitric oxide (NO2) in the air contaminated by car fumes leads to more hospital admissions according to the APHEA project (Air pollution on Health: European Approach). Children exposed to increased levels of NO2 also suffer more from sore throats, colds and are more absent from school.

Triggers in the air

The article suggests that irritants in the air, such as car fumes, tobacco smoke and aeroallergens - exacerbate asthma attacks. According to the 15 city APHEA project (Air pollution on Health: European Approach), hospital admissions increase by 2.6% in the hour following a 50 µg/m3 increase of nitric oxide (NO2) in environmental air contaminated by car fumes.

When asthmatic children are exposed both to a virus and to NO2, infection rates are increased and the severity of the asthma symptoms are greater the higher exposure to this pollutant.

These findings are consistent with infection studies among those who smoke. Smokers have an increased risk of more frequent common colds, and their condition lasts longer. Children with colds who are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) face an increased risk of wheezing and hospitalization due to asthma.

Data shows that exposure to an allergen can exaggerate the irritant effect of a virus infection in asthmatics. The paper cites a study in which patients with mild rhinitis (hay fever) and/or asthma were experimentally infected with the rhinovirus (virus causing the common cold) and then exposed to an allergen. The result was stronger reactions and a higher risk of late asthmatic responses.

Studying the outbreak and evolution of a common cold in asthmatics is an important tool for investigating the process leading to an asthma attack. In both asthmatics and non-asthmatics, a respiratory infection damages the cells on the surface of the airways and prompts reactions in the immune and the nervous system. Dr. Papadopoulos and his colleagues say that understanding the differences in the response may be important.

“Healthy adults have a fast and efficient mechanism to clear the invading pathogen associated with the common cold,” says Dr. Papadopoulos. “By following infected asthmatic individuals, we may be able to identify how that mechanism differs from a non-asthmatic reaction. This would help us understand how to prevent the hyper-responsive reactions that lead to asthma attacks.”

Noélie Auvergne | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>