Monday August 26, 2019

Researchers Find Multiple Genes to Blame for Risk of Asthma, Eczema

All three diseases arise through a complex association among several genes and also with environmental and lifestyle factors, researchers said

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Researchers have found a total of 141 regions in our genetic material that largely explain the genetic risk underlying asthma, hay fever and eczema. As many as 41 of the genes identified have not previously been linked to an elevated risk for these diseases.

The study, published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, shows that the risk of developing asthma, hay fever or eczema is affected by genes, environment and lifestyle factors.

It was also noted that many patients diagnosed with one of these diseases also develop the other two at some stage in life.

“The findings are helping us to reach a greater understanding of why certain individuals are at higher risk of developing asthma and allergies and we hope the results will be put to use both in clinical diagnostics and in drug development,” said study lead author Weronica Ek from Uppsala University.

For the study, researchers analysed self-reported data from 350,000 participants. Millions of gene positions were tested for their effect on people’s risk of being diagnosed with asthma, hay fever and eczema.

Shame, Guilt, Asthma
It is not just respiratory symptoms or a feeling of tiredness that asthma sufferers have to face daily, many of them even have to deal with shame and a sense of guilt using inhalers at work. Pixabay

The 41 new genetic finds were also tested in an independent group of individuals comprising 110,000 people.

This testing verified that most of these new genetic variants have an effect on the individual’s risk of developing disease.

The study showed that a large number of the genes identified entail a raised risk for all three diseases. This, in turn, shows that the elevated risk of suffering from allergy when asthma is diagnosed or the elevated risk of asthma when allergy is diagnosed, seems to be largely due to genetic factors.

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The study was also able to identify several genes that boost the risk of one of these diseases in relation to the others, which demonstrates that a number of more disease-specific effects also exist.

All three diseases arise through a complex association among several genes and also with environmental and lifestyle factors, researchers said. (IANS)

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Children with Mild Asthma can Effectively Manage Condition by Using Two Inhalers

Patients in the group that used both inhalers as needed used about one-fourth the steroid dose of the group that inhaled a prescribed daily amount

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Children, Mild, Asthma
The steroid inhaler lowers inflammation and the bronchodilator, also known as a rescue inhaler, relaxes the airway during an asthma attack to quickly make breathing easier, according to the study published. Pixabay

Researchers have found that children with mild asthma can effectively manage the condition by using their two inhalers — one a steroid and the other a bronchodilator — when symptoms occur.

The steroid inhaler lowers inflammation and the bronchodilator, also known as a rescue inhaler, relaxes the airway during an asthma attack to quickly make breathing easier, according to the study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

“Patients in the group that used both inhalers as needed used about one-fourth the steroid dose of the group that inhaled a prescribed daily amount. We also were pleased to see that the patients and families felt that they had more ownership over their asthma management when practicing as-needed treatment,” said study first author Kaharu Sumino, Associate Professor at the Washington University.

The researchers found that this approach reduced the amount of steroid medication the children took monthly by almost 75 per cent.

Children, Mild, Asthma
Researchers have found that children with mild asthma can effectively manage the condition by using their two inhalers — one a steroid and the other a bronchodilator — when symptoms occur. Pixabay

The study included 206 African American children six to 17 years of age with mild asthma that was adequately controlled with asthma controller steroid medication. The patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups.

Each participant in one group was advised to take a dose from an inhaler containing the steroid beclomethasone as needed when symptoms arose, along with the rescue bronchodilator albuterol.

Each participant in the second group was advised to take a specific inhaled dose of the steroid beclomethasone daily, regardless of symptoms, plus the rescue bronchodilator as needed in response to symptoms.oo

At the end of the one-year study, the researchers found no differences between groups in surveys of how well the patients’ asthma was controlled, as well as no differences in breathing tests that measure lung function.

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However, the group taking daily beclomethasone, an inhaled corticosteroid, used more of the medication per month than those in the symptom-based group.

On average, children in the daily-use group used 1,961 micrograms per month, while the symptom-based group used 526 micrograms per month, cutting the amount of this medication by almost three-fourths. The reduced amount is desirable, according to the investigators, because steroids have side effects that include stunted growth. (IANS)