Top Asthma Research Studies

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Asthma research studies can help improve treatment by giving researchers greater understanding into the causes and triggers of asthma. These studies include some important foundational medical research as well as new studies still underway.

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The Asthma Clinical Research Network (ACRN)

For 20 years, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Asthma Clinical Research Network (ACRN) conducted multiple controlled clinical trials for treating people with asthma. The goal was to study new and existing treatments for asthma. The research uncovered key observations about inhaled corticosteriods (ICS) and other common asthma medications.

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A hundred years of asthma research

This “centennial history of research” in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology in 2005 chronicles the various paradigms of asthma pathogenesis that have been proposed, adopted, and revised as asthma research advances. These paradigms include bronchoconstrictor, nervous system, allergic, cellular mediator, inflammatory, Th2-style inflammatory, innate immune, and genetic. The authors conclude that as a complex disease, models of asthma have become more complex over time.

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Recent studies that have advanced asthma treatment

This review highlights eighteen months of studies from 2015 to 2016 that have had impact on asthma treatment. They have advanced scientific understanding of the link between the immune system and asthma—specifically, between the innate immune response and type II acquired immune responses in asthma. Advances in treating allergy to improve asthma outcomes, better drug delivery, research into the causes of severe asthma, and new information in treating childhood asthma are notable.

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Our evolving understanding of asthma

Asthma is now understood to be a complex disease with different sets of symptoms, histories, and varied responses to treatments. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to asthma that works. Seminal discoveries in asthma that have led to our current understanding of asthma subgroups or phenotypes, as researchers call them.

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How do beliefs about asthma affect us?

If you have asthma, your understanding of asthma control and risks can affect the long-term prognosis for your disease. The Asthma General Awareness and Perceptions II (Asthma GAP II) study looked at the “beliefs and behaviors of asthma patients and their physicians.” They found that most patients believed short-acting medications could be taken daily, and many thought that controller medications could be taken less than daily if symptoms decreased.

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Vitamin D and asthma

While previous studies had shown that supplementing with vitamin D reduces the number of asthma exacerbations that need steroids, this meta-analysis of nearly 500 studies published in The Lancet in November 2017 confirms that this benefit happens across patient subgroups.

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Children exposed to pet and pest allergens

A study funded by NIH found that children who were exposed to high levels of pet or pest allergens during infancy are actually at lower risk of developing asthma by age 7. Other studies have found that lowering allergen exposure in the home helps improve asthma symptoms, but these results suggest that exposure early in life may have a preventive effect.

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Asthma capitals report

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America releases an annual report that ranks the top 100 metropolitan cities that “are the most challenging to live in with asthma.” This Asthma Capitals 2018 Report ranks the cities based on asthma prevalence, asthma-related ER visits, and mortality from asthma, as well as risk factors including smoking laws, pollen, air quality, and poverty.

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Who can AFFORD asthma?

The AFFORD study stands for: Asthma in Families Facing Out-Of-Pocket Requirements with Deductibles. As you might have guessed, this study’s goal is to look at and better understand the experiences families have with asthma care, health insurance and their expenses. They are looking specifically at how different types of health insurance plans might affect how people make decisions about medical care. This is an ongoing study funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).