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1.  Psychological Factors in Asthma 
Asthma has long been considered a condition in which psychological factors have a role. As in many illnesses, psychological variables may affect outcome in asthma via their effects on treatment adherence and symptom reporting. Emerging evidence suggests that the relation between asthma and psychological factors may be more complex than that, however. Central cognitive processes may influence not only the interpretation of asthma symptoms but also the manifestation of measurable changes in immune and physiologic markers of asthma. Furthermore, asthma and major depressive disorder share several risk factors and have similar patterns of dysregulation in key biologic systems, including the neuroendocrine stress response, cytokines, and neuropeptides. Despite the evidence that depression is common in people with asthma and exerts a negative impact on outcome, few treatment studies have examined whether improving symptoms of depression do, in fact, result in better control of asthma symptoms or improved quality of life in patients with asthma.
PMCID: PMC2869336  PMID: 20525122
asthma; depression; pathophysiology; treatment
2.  Multifactorial intervention for children with asthma and overweight (Mikado): study design of a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:494.
In children, the prevalence’s of both obesity and asthma are disconcertingly high. Asthmatic children with obesity are characterised by less asthma control and a high need for asthma medication. As the obese asthmatic child is becoming more common in the clinical setting and the disease burden of the asthma-obesity phenotype is high, there is an increasing need for effective treatment in these children. In adults, weight reduction resulted in improved lung function, better asthma control and less need for asthma medication. In children this is hardly studied. The Mikado study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a long term multifactorial weight reduction intervention, on asthma characteristics in children with asthma and a high body weight.
The Mikado study is a two-armed, randomised controlled trial. In total, 104 participants will be recruited via online questionnaires, pulmonary paediatricians, the youth department of the Municipal Health Services and cohorts of existing studies. All participants will be aged 6–16 years, will have current asthma, a Body Mass Index in the overweight or obesity range, and no serious comorbidities (such as diabetes, heart diseases). Participants in the intervention arm will receive a multifactorial intervention of 18 months consisting of sessions concerning sports, parental involvement, individual counselling and lifestyle advices including dietary advices and cognitive behavioural therapy. The control group will receive usual care. The primary outcome variables will include Forced Expiratory Volume in one second and Body Mass Index - Standard Deviation Score. Secondary outcomes will include other lung function parameters (including dynamic and static lung function parameters), asthma control, asthma-specific quality of life, use of asthma medication and markers of systemic inflammation and airway inflammation.
In this randomised controlled trial we will study the potential of a multifactorial weight reduction intervention to improve asthma-related outcome measures in asthmatic children with overweight. Moreover, it will provide information about the underlying mechanisms in the relationship between asthma and a high body weight in children. These findings can contribute to optimal management programs and better clinical guidelines for children with asthma and overweight.
Trial registration NCT00998413
PMCID: PMC3682864  PMID: 23692648
Asthmatic; BMI; Child; Obesity; Paediatric; Weight loss
3.  Gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with asthma 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2000;82(2):131-135.
AIMS—Minor gastrointestinal abnormalities have been reported in children with asthma, but the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in these children has not been studied.
METHODS—75 children with bronchial asthma and an age and sex matched control group were recruited. Parents completed a questionnaire on gastrointestinal symptoms and on asthma. Weight and height were measured; a clinical evaluation of asthma was undertaken and skin prick tests were performed.
RESULTS—Children with asthma had a significantly greater frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly diarrhoea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, than did controls. Gastrointestinal symptoms were slightly more common in children with atopic symptoms other than asthma, or with positive skin prick tests to foods. There was no association between current gastrointestinal symptoms and medications or attacks of asthma.
CONCLUSIONS—The occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms appears to be common in children with asthma. These symptoms might be caused by an atopic gastroenteropathy, which might play a part in the pathogenesis of asthma in some cases.

PMCID: PMC1718218  PMID: 10648366
4.  Sleep and psychological disturbance in nocturnal asthma 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1998;78(5):413-419.
Subjective and objective sleep disturbance was studied in children with nocturnal asthma. Relations between such disturbance and daytime psychological function were also explored, including possible changes in learning and behaviour associated with improvements in nocturnal asthma and sleep. Assessments included home polysomnography, parental questionnaires concerning sleep disturbance, behaviour, and mood and cognitive testing. Compared with matched controls, children with asthma had significantly more disturbed sleep, tended to have more psychological problems, and they performed less well on some tests of memory and concentration. In general, improvement of nocturnal asthma symptoms by changes in treatment was followed by improvement in sleep and psychological function in subsequent weeks. The effects of asthma on sleep and the possible psychological consequences are important aspects of overall care.

PMCID: PMC1717552  PMID: 9659086
5.  Factors associated with patient visits to the emergency department for asthma therapy 
Acute asthma attacks remain a frequent cause of emergency department (ED) visits and hospital admission. Many factors encourage patients to seek asthma treatment at the emergency department. These factors may be related to the patient himself or to a health system that hinders asthma control. The aim of this study was to identify the main factors that lead to the frequent admission of asthmatic patients to the ED.
A cross-sectional survey of all the patients who visited the emergency room with bronchial asthma attacks over a 9-month period was undertaken at two major academic hospitals. The following data were collected: demographic data, asthma control in the preceding month, where and by whom the patients were treated, whether the patient received education about asthma or its medication and the patients’ reasons for visiting the ED.
Four hundred fifty (N = 450) patients were recruited, 39.1% of whom were males with a mean age of 42.3 ± 16.7. The mean duration of asthma was 155.90 ± 127.13 weeks. Approximately half of the patients did not receive any information about bronchial asthma as a disease, and 40.7% did not receive any education regarding how to use asthma medication. Asthma was not controlled or partially controlled in the majority (97.7%) of the patients preceding the admission to ED. The majority of the patients visited the ED to receive a bronchodilator by nebuliser (86.7%) and to obtain oxygen (75.1%). Moreover, 20.9% of the patients believed that the ED managed them faster than the clinic, and 21.1% claimed that their symptoms were severe enough that they could not wait for a clinic visit. No education about asthma and uncontrolled asthma are the major factors leading to frequent ED visits (three or more visits/year), p-value = 0.0145 and p-value = 0.0003, respectively. Asthma control also exhibited a significant relationship with inhaled corticosteroid ICS use (p-value =0.0401) and education about asthma (p-value =0.0117).
This study demonstrates that many avoidable risk factors lead to uncontrolled asthma and frequent ED visits.
PMCID: PMC3534524  PMID: 23244616
Asthma; Control; Inhaled cortisone; Emergency department
6.  Antiasthmatic Role of “Pentapala -04” a Herbal Formulation Against Ova Albumin and Aluminium HydroxideInduced LungDamage in Rats 
Ancient Science of Life  2005;24(3):134-142.
Bronchial asthma is a clinical syndrome characterized by proximal dysphasia and wheeze due to increased resistance to the flow of air through the narrowed bronchi. Asthma has become the most common chronic disease in the world and epidemiological studies suggest that its prevalence, severity and mortality are rising at a time when mortality from other common treatable conditions is falling. The reasons for the above statistics are environmental factors such as increased exposure to allergens and atmospheric pollutants. Antiasthmatic treatment includes corticosteroids, which are very effective in the treatment of asthma. But corticosteroids are costly and if given systemically, have many severe adverse effects. Hence, the present research work involves the use of a herbal compound formulation Pentapala -04 prepared from five medicinal plants namely, Adhatoda vasica Need, Ocimum sanctum Linn, Coleus aromaticus Benth, Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn and Alpiania galangal Sw.
The effect of “Pentapala-04” on ova albumin and aluminium hydroxide induced lung damage in albino wistar rats was investigated. The rats were divided into three groups of four animals each. Group I, II and III serves as control, toxic and post treatment group respectively. Our results showed that their was increased level of lipid peroxidation and secreased level of antioxidants in toxic group animals. But the levels of antioxidant enzymes were restored in post-treated groups of animals, which might be due to the ability of “ability of “Pentapala-04 to scavenge the reactive oxygen species.
PMCID: PMC3330933  PMID: 22557168
Ova albumin; alumininum hydroxide; Pentapala-04
7.  Motives of former interns in general practice for speciality-choice − Results of a cross-sectional study among graduates 2007 to 2012 
Background: The influence of a final-year elective internship in general practice (IGP) on motives affecting graduates’ choice of specialty is the object of great public interest, yet still insufficiently evaluated. Longitudinal studies show the influence of numerous motives (e.g. work-life balance), but not following the IGP experience itself. Thus, we performed a cross-sectional questionnaire study of all graduates who completed the IGP in Saxony-Anhalt during 2007-2012 regarding their motives for choosing a speciality.
Method: A standardized questionnaire was sent to 109 former interns in general practice. The questionnaire contained 29 items addressing three topics (personal attitudes, concept of personal and professional life, motives for speciality choice) and used single-choice and multiple-choice answers, as well as Likert scales. Correlation analysis was carried out by means of Kendall's tau.
Results: The questionnaire reached 97 former interns, of which 45 (46%) responded. In the overall ranking of motives for speciality choice, family (71%), leisure time (66%) and job opportunities (48%) rated as more important than income (36%), mentoring (20%), status or scientific work (20%). Only 29% of the respondents stated that their speciality choice was changed by the IGP. If the speciality choice was already established before the IGP, the influence of the IGP on speciality choice was significantly low (r=-.5; p<.01). However, if the IGP had an influence on speciality choice, it was correlated with a new perception of general practice (r=.36; p<.01). This new perception was associated with a positive influence of the medical teacher during the IGP.
Conclusion: The final-year IGP is an opportunity to change the perception of general practice in students who are still undecided. This can lead to different speciality choices in a subgroup. Personal attitudes and concepts of personal life and career were also important factors affecting speciality choice. The aspects of the positive influence exerted by medical teachers on those students who are still undecided during the IGP should be carefully evaluated.
PMCID: PMC3935161  PMID: 24575153
California Medicine  1950;73(5):421-424.
Bronchial asthma in children may be difficult to diagnose. Education of the parents regarding allergic conditions, specifically bronchial asthma, is exceedingly important in order to assure satisfactory treatment and clinical results.
Chest symptoms of unexplained origin in early life should immediately arouse suspicion of allergic disease. Other causes of asthmatic symptoms must be borne in mind and excluded before a positive diagnosis of bronchial asthma is established.
Of the many factors to be considered in investigating a child with asthma, a comprehensive history is most essential. The climate to which the patient is exposed and the psychic influences must be taken into account. Physical examination, x-ray films and laboratory procedures should be carefully executed. Skin testing, especially with food allergens, should not be relied upon to give all the information in allergic disease. Some form of diet trial, such as elimination diets, should be used if sensitivity to food is suspected.
PMCID: PMC1520620  PMID: 14778012
9.  451 The Relationship Between Emotional Cognition and the Symptom Gap in Patients with Bronchial Asthma: the Effects of Alexithymia and Empathy 
When symptoms are poorly controlled, patients with bronchial asthma may show a symptom gap: a cognitive divergence between the true severity of symptoms and the severity evaluated by the patients themselves. The aim of this study was to determine which factors (emotional cognition of the self and others) are associated with this symptom gap.
Forty-two patients with bronchial asthma, who were found with the Comprehensive Asthma Inventory (a bronchial asthma symptom questionnaire) to have psychosocial factors associated with a deep concern about the onset of asthma attacks, were studied by means of validated scales for alexithymia (the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20) and for empathy (the Interpersonal Reactivity Index: IRI) and questions about how patients evaluate the severity of asthma.
Of the patients, 42.5% showed a cognitive divergence regarding asthma symptoms. The scores for “perspective taking” on the IRI were significantly higher in patients who felt symptoms were less severe than they actually than in patients who felt symptoms were more severe than they actually were. No association was found between alexithymia and the symptom gap.
The results show that empathy, the ability to understand the emotions of others, is associated with a symptom gap in patients with bronchial asthma and that high scores for “perspective taking” on the IRI may indicate problems of treatment and symptom control in asthma.
PMCID: PMC3512663
10.  AB 86. Validation of a questionnaire for the assessment of bronchial hyperresponsiveness in a Greek population 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2012;4(Suppl 1):AB86.
The assessment of bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is considered essential for determining asthma diagnosis and asthma control. Recently a specific-condition questionnaire was developed on this purpose for asthma patients in primary care practice (Riemersa et al., 2009). The aim of the present study is to validate the BHR questionnaire in a Greek population.
Patients and methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted at the Asthma Outpatient clinic of the Pulmonary Department, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Inclusion criteria were males and females, age 14 to 75, with recent history of asthma symptoms and without any other known respiratory/systemic disease that might affect BHR. During patient assessment, translated copies of the BHR questionnaire (BHRQ) were delivered to eligible subjects who had given informed consent. The gold standard method selected to validate the BHRQ was the mannitol challenge test.
Sixty-two patients in total (21 males and 41 females) were recruited: mean age 34±14.9 years, mean total score of the questionnaire 54.39±40.88 years and mean subscores for symptoms and stimuli 28.29±19.97 and 26.10±24.07 years respectively. During mannitol challenge subjects showed a mean fall of FEV1 of 13.41±6.97% from baseline and a mean provocative dose of mannitol, PD15 of 373.11±240.92 mg. Spearman’s rank correlations among variables have shown significant positive correlations among all score variables and negative correlations among the scores and the mannitol test variables. Construct validity was assessed with principal component analysis and managed to identify one underlying factor that explains 42.4% of the variance. The reliability of the questionnaire, as estimated with Cronbach’s alpha, was 0.957, which is considered to be a very good reliability regarding the internal consistency of the questionnaire items. Receiver Operating Curve (ROC) analysis has determined a cut off value of 26 of the total score for BHR response with sensitivity of 78.6% and specificity of 55%.
It is the first time that a BHR questionnaire was validated in a Greek population and it has been shown to be a usable and valid tool for assessing BHR in primary care practice.
PMCID: PMC3537360
11.  Survey of the Situation of Infertile Women Seeking In Vitro Fertilization Treatment in China 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:179098.
Background. In previous studies, people's knowledge of reproductive health and infertile women's psychological states was surveyed in several countries. However, there has been limited information concerning the psychological states of infertile women seeking treatment and the outcomes of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in China. Methods. Infertile women were asked to complete short questionnaires on the day that their oocytes were retrieved; these questionnaires covered the durations of their infertility, levels of education, sources of pressure, and psychological states. Data concerning IVF outcomes were provided by embryologists and clinicians. The correlations between the duration of infertility and educational level, psychological state and education level, and psychological state and outcome of IVF were analyzed in the cohort study. Results. The duration of infertility in more than half of the females was longer than 5 years. Compared with less-educated women, women with higher levels of education sought treatment earlier and their rates of depressive symptoms were lower. There is an association between negative emotions and outcome of IVF. Conclusions. The survey of the situations of infertile women seeking IVF treatment in China indicates the importance of popularizing knowledge concerning reproductive health. Improving medical conditions, reducing the costs of treatment, and developing social culture will aid in relieving the stress of infertile women and improving assisted reproductive treatment.
PMCID: PMC3866877  PMID: 24369006
12.  Attack context: an important mediator of the relationship between psychological status and asthma outcomes 
Thorax  2002;57(3):217-221.
Background: The importance of psychosocial variables in asthma is increasingly recognised, although attempts to relate these to asthma outcomes often produce only weak relationships. This study aimed to identify whether such relationships might be obscured by the effects of recent asthma experience on psychological status.
Methods: An adult community sample of 37 patients who had suffered a recent attack of asthma and 37 with stable asthma were given measures of panic fear and control confidence. The relationship with subsequent emergency service use was examined using two way ANOVA and correlational analyses. Covariate influences (psychiatric morbidity, age, sex, treatment level, asthma duration, social status) were considered.
Results: Control confidence predicted emergency service use in different ways for recent attack and stable asthma patients. This interaction was highly significant (F(1,69) = 10.32, p<0.005) with high confidence relating to an increased risk of an attack in the recent attack group and low confidence relating to increased risk for the stable asthma group. There was also an interaction between panic fear and attack context (F(1,69) = 11.05, p<0.005) with low panic fear resulting in more attacks for recent attack cases.
Conclusions: Attack context (having a recent attack) is an important mediator of psychological status. Strong cognitive/affective responses to attacks may motivate improved self-care and this represents a window of opportunity for self-care interventions. Weak cognitive/affective responses to attacks may reflect denial and require different intervention approaches. For those with recently stable asthma the relationships are qualitatively and quantitatively different, and the implications for intervention are also discussed.
PMCID: PMC1746269  PMID: 11867824
13.  Recurrent accident and emergency department attendance for acute asthma in children. 
Thorax  1989;44(8):620-626.
Asthmatic children aged over 5 years making repeated visits to the accident and emergency department of a children's hospital were compared prospectively, on the basis of a clinical questionnaire and pulmonary function tests, with a control group of outpatients with asthma to find the reasons for their repeated attendance. Recurrent attenders (n = 145) had more severe asthma than control subjects (n = 118), with greater airway obstruction at rest (FEV1 79% v 85% predicted) and bronchial lability (47% v 38%). Significantly more of the "emergency" group used pressurised aerosols and fewer dry powder inhalers to administer bronchodilators. There were no differences in prophylactic treatment. Seventy one per cent of parents in the emergency group had feared that their child would die during an attack, compared with 56% of control subjects. Eighty one per cent of children were self referred to the accident and emergency department. Most parents had found hospital to be the quickest means of obtaining treatment in an emergency. There were no differences between the two groups in parents' knowledge about asthma, home conditions, or social disadvantage. Although children who repeatedly attend hospital accident and emergency departments for treatment of acute attacks have more severe asthma than controls and show some deficiencies in treatment, the major determinant of attendance appeared to be the parents' conviction that appropriate treatment could not be obtained elsewhere.
PMCID: PMC461987  PMID: 2799741
14.  Risk factors for accident and emergency (A&E) attendance for asthma in inner city children 
Thorax  2007;62(10):855-860.
Inner city children make heavy use of accident and emergency (A&E) services for asthma. Developing strategies to reduce this requires a better understanding of the risk factors.
A case‐control study was carried out of children with asthma living in south‐east London: 1018 children who attended A&E for asthma over 1 year and 394 children who had not attended A&E for asthma over the previous year. The main risk factors were socioeconomic status, home environment, routine asthma management and parents' psychological responses to and beliefs about the treatment of asthma attacks.
A&E attendance was more common in children living in poorer households. No associations were found with home environment or with measures of routine asthma care. Children who had attended outpatients were much more likely to attend A&E (odds ratio (OR) 13.17, 95% CI 7.13 to 24.33). Other risk factors included having a parent who reported feeling alone (OR 2.58, 95% CI 1.71 to 3.87) or panic or fear (OR 2.62. 95% CI 1.75 to 3.93) when the child's asthma was worse; and parental belief that the child would be seen more quickly in A&E than at the GP surgery (OR 2.48, 95% CI 1.62 to 3.79). Parental confidence in the GP's ability to treat asthma attacks reduced the risk of attending A&E (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.54).
There is no evidence that passive smoking, damp homes or poor routine asthma care explains heavy inner city use of A&E in children with asthma. Reducing A&E use is unlikely to be achieved by improving these, but identifying appropriate settings for treating children with asthma attacks and communicating these effectively may do so.
PMCID: PMC2094271  PMID: 17456503
15.  The Effect of Passive Smoking on Asthma Symptoms, Atopy, and Airway Hyperresponsiveness in Schoolchildren 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2004;19(2):214-217.
Passive smoking is a major cause of respiratory morbidity, and is associated with increased bronchial responsiveness in children. To evaluate the effect of smoking by a parent on asthma symptoms, atopy, and airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), we conducted a cross-sectional survey of 503 schoolchildren that involved questionnaires, spirometry, allergy testing, and a bronchial challenge test. If the PC20 methacholine was less than 16 mg/mL, the subject was considered to have AHR. The prevalence of a parent who smoked was 68.7%. The prevalence of AHR was 45.0%. The sensitization rate to common inhalant allergens was 32.6%. Nasal symptoms such as rhinorrhea, sneezing, nasal itching, and nasal obstruction were present in 42.7%. Asthma symptoms such as cough and wheezing were present in 55.4%. The asthma symptoms were significantly more prevalent in children who had a parent who smoked than in those whose parents did not. The nasal symptoms, atopy, and AHR did not differ according to whether a parent smoked. In a multiple logistic regression model, the asthma symptoms and atopy were independently associated with AHR, when adjusted for confounding variables. Passive smoking contributed to asthma symptoms in schoolchildren and was not an independent risk factor of airway hyperresponsiveness in an epidemiological survey.
PMCID: PMC2822301  PMID: 15082893
Tobacco Smoke Pollution; Bronchial Asthma; Bronchial Hyperreactivity; Child
16.  Respiratory symptoms questionnaire for asthma epidemiology: validity and reproducibility. 
Thorax  1993;48(3):214-219.
BACKGROUND: There is a need for a new respiratory symptoms questionnaire for use in epidemiological research in asthma. METHOD: A questionnaire was designed following a pilot study in 78 subjects. It contains nine questions on symptoms such as wheeze and difficulty with breathing in defined circumstances such as exercise and sleep. It was completed by 211 adults and validated by comparison with a self reported history of asthma and with bronchial hyperresponsiveness to histamine. Its short term reproducibility was measured by three repeat administrations over two weeks. RESULTS: Subjects with asthma (n = 33), particularly those having had an asthma attack in the last year (n = 23), were more likely to report any symptom and to report a greater number of symptoms than those without asthma. The same relationship was found for bronchial hyperresponsiveness and symptoms. Either two or more, or three or more, symptoms appeared to be good indices of self reported asthma and bronchial hyperresponsiveness, or both, with a high sensitivity (65-91%) and specificity (85-96%). Reproducibility was good, with few subjects changing the number of symptoms reported by more than one symptom and none by more than four symptoms. The results compared favourably with those from questions on phlegm production from the MRC questionnaire and were better than those reported for the MRC wheeze questions. CONCLUSIONS: The questionnaire will be useful for epidemiological research on asthma and could form part of a new standardised questionnaire with wide applications.
PMCID: PMC464356  PMID: 8497818
17.  Quality of asthma management in an urban community in Delhi, India 
Background & objectives:
High prevalence and poor control of asthma make its management a major public health issue worldwide, especially in developing countries. Optimum review of asthma management in the community is essential to improve asthma control. This study was conducted to investigate the quality of asthma management, knowledge about asthma and quality of life of asthma patients referred to a public tertiary care chest hospital in Delhi.
Diagnosis of asthma was confirmed by symptoms and reversible spirometry in 50 referred patients on their first visit. Patients were interviewed using three questionnaires on quality of asthma management before visiting referral hospital, asthma knowledge and asthma quality of life (AQLQ). Correlation amongst quality of treatment, asthma quality of life, and asthma knowledge was also determined.
Findings revealed that only 60 per cent of patients were informed about their disease, and 10 per cent had undergone lung function tests previously. Only 44 per cent of patients were prescribed inhalers. None were provided with any educational material. Patients had poor knowledge of aetiology, pathophysiology, medication and how to assess the severity of their asthma. The mean scores in AQLQ indicated a moderate degree of impairment in quality of life.
Interpretations & conclusions:
This study provides evidence of unsatisfactory asthma management and patient-doctor interaction as patients had limited knowledge of asthma disease, its management and had poor quality of life as measured by a standardized questionnaire. Thus, there is need to implement suitable interventions to improve asthma management according to standard treatment guidelines in the community.
PMCID: PMC3336849  PMID: 22446860
Asthma; asthma knowledge; asthma management; India; quality of life
18.  A review of anti-IgE monoclonal antibody (omalizumab) as add on therapy for severe allergic (IgE-mediated) asthma 
Bronchial asthma is recognized as a highly prevalent health problem in the developed and developing world with significant social and economic consequences. Increased asthma severity is not only associated with enhanced recurrent hospitalization and mortality but also with higher social costs. The pathogenetic background of allergic-atopic bronchial asthma is characterized by airway inflammation with infiltration of several cells (mast cells, basophils, eosinophils, monocytes, and T-helper (Th)2 lymphocytes). However, in atopic asthma the trigger factors for acute attacks and chronic worsening of bronchial inflammation are aeroallergens released by pollens, dermatophagoides, and pets, which are able to induce an immune response by interaction with IgE antibodies. Currently anti-inflammatory treatments are effective for most asthma patients, but there are asthmatic subjects whose disease is not completely controlled by inhaled or systemic corticosteroids and who account for a significant portion of the healthcare costs of asthma. A novel therapeutic approach to asthma and other allergic respiratory diseases involves interference in the action of IgE, and this antibody has been viewed as a target for novel immunological drug development in asthma. Omalizumab is a humanized recombinant monoclonal anti-IgE antibody approved for treatment of moderate to severe IgE-mediated (allergic) asthma. This non-anaphylactogenic anti-IgE antibody inhibits IgE functions, blocking free serum IgE and inhibiting their binding to cellular receptors. By reducing serum IgE levels and IgE receptor expression on inflammatory cells in the context of allergic cascade, omalizumab represents a new class of mast cells stabilizing drugs; it is a novel approach to the treatment of atopic asthma. Omalizumab therapy is well tolerated and significantly improves symptoms and disease control, reducing asthma exacerbations and the need to use high dosage of inhaled corticosteroids. Moreover, omalizumab improves quality of life of patients with severe persistent allergic asthma which is inadequately controlled by currently available asthma medications. In conclusion omalizumab may fulfil an important need in patients with moderate to severe asthma.
PMCID: PMC2374942  PMID: 18472983
airway hyper-reactivity; asthma; allergic respiratory diseases; atopic respiratory diseases; anti-IgE therapy; hypersensitivity; monoclonal anti-IgE antibody; omalizumab
19.  Analysis of the relation between level of asthma control and depression and anxiety 
Frequent co-existence of bronchial asthma and depression or anxiety is an unquestioned phenomenon. In contrast, little is known about the relationship between the degree of asthma control and the prevalence of depression and anxiety. The aim of this study was to determine the potential relationship between the degree of asthma control and the prevalence of depression and anxiety.
This study included a group of 128 randomly selected asthmatic individuals with various degree of asthma control. The study was based on a questionnaire survey, using the following tools: the Asthma Control Test, Beck Depression Inventory, and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) – X-1 and X-2 questionnaires. All the questionnaires were completed during a single follow-up visit at the clinic.
The occurrence of depression and its severity significantly correlated with the degree of asthma control. Individuals with depression were characterized by a significantly lower degree of asthma control compared to depression-free individuals (p<0.001). The degree of asthma control decreased significantly with increasing severity of depression (R=−0.367; p<0.001). No significant correlation was observed between the degree of asthma control and the levels of trait anxiety (R=−0.095; p=0.295) and state anxiety (R=−0.093; p=0.308).
The prevalence of depression and its severity significantly correlate with the degree of asthma control. Large, standardized multicenter studies of the relationship between the degree of asthma control and the prevalence of depression and other psychopathological symptoms are needed. Furthermore, it seems reasonable to introduce the screening of asthmatics for mental disorders.
PMCID: PMC3560746  PMID: 22367130
bronchial asthma; asthma test control; depression; anxiety
20.  BRONCHIAL ASTHMA—Patterns of Morbidity and Mortality in the United States, 1951-1959 
California Medicine  1962;96(3):196-200.
On a nationwide basis, bronchial asthma occurs at the rate of 23 cases per 1,000 population. Young males develop bronchial asthma more readily and more severely than young females. Males dying from asthma outnumber females 2 to 1.
Eight per cent of the asthmatic persons in the United States have not sought medical attention for this condition. Repeated attacks of severe bronchial asthma increase the likelihood of premature death.
Approximately 6,000 deaths due to asthma occur annually in the United States, with a seasonal increase during the winter months. The estimated fatality rate of asthma in the general population is 1.5 deaths per 1,000 asthmatics.
PMCID: PMC1574986  PMID: 14477594
21.  Asthma in the Elderly: Current Understanding and Future Research Needs 
Asthma in the elderly (AIE) is under diagnosed and under treated and there is a paucity of knowledge. The National Institute on Aging convened this workshop to identify what is known, what gaps in knowledge remain and suggest research directions needed to improve the understanding and care of AIE. Asthma presenting at an advanced age often has similar clinical and physiologic consequences as seen with younger individuals but co-morbid illnesses and the psychosocial effects of aging may affect the diagnosis, clinical presentation and care of asthma in this population. At least two phenotypes exist among elderly asthma; those with long-standing asthma have more severe airflow limitation and less complete reversibility than those with late-onset asthma. Many challenges exist in the recognition and treatment of asthma in the elderly. Furthermore, the pathophysiological mechanisms of AIE are likely to be different from those seen in young asthmatics and these differences may influence the clinical course and outcomes of asthma in this population.
PMCID: PMC3164961  PMID: 21872730
Aging; airway; allergy; asthma; elderly; immune mechanisms; immunosenescence
22.  Persistent pain in a community-based sample of children and adolescents: Sex differences in psychological constructs 
The prevalence of persistent and recurrent pain among children and adolescents has important economic, social and psychological repercussions. The impact of chronic pain in children extends beyond the affected individuals – more than one-third of parents of children with pain report clinically significant levels of stress and depression. Although many pain-related psychological factors have been examined in chronic pediatric pain populations, much of that research involved clinical samples. Community-based research, however, is necessary to uncover the way pain is experienced by youth, regardless of whether treatment is sought or is available. This study aimed to ascertain the lifetime prevalence of pediatric pain in a Canadian community-based sample, and to explore age and sex differences in children who report persistent pain and those who do not with respect to several constructs believed to play important roles in the development and maintenance of persistent pain.
Very few studies have investigated the psychological factors associated with the pain experiences of children and adolescents in community samples.
To examine the lifetime prevalence of, and psychological variables associated with, persistent pain in a community sample of children and adolescents, and to explore differences according to sex, age and pain history.
Participants completed the Childhood Anxiety Sensitivity Index (CASI), the Child Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale (CPASS), the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children-10 (MASC-10), the Pain Catastrophizing Scale for Children (PCS-C) and a pain history questionnaire that assessed chronicity and pain frequency. After research ethics board approval, informed consent/assent was obtained from 1022 individuals recruited to participate in a study conducted at the Ontario Science Centre (Toronto, Ontario).
Of the 1006 participants (54% female, mean [± SD] age 11.6±2.7 years) who provided complete data, 27% reported having experienced pain that lasted for three months or longer. A 2×2×2 (pain history, age and sex) multivariate ANOVA was conducted, with the total scores on the CASI, the CPASS, the MASC-10 and the PCS-C as dependent variables. Girls with a history of persistent pain expressed higher levels of anxiety sensitivity (P<0.001) and pain catastrophizing (P<0.001) than both girls without a pain history and boys regardless of pain history. This same pattern of results was found for anxiety and pain anxiety in the older, but not the younger, age group.
Boys and girls appear to differ in terms of how age and pain history relate to the expression of pain-related psychological variables. Given the prevalence of persistent pain found in the study, more research is needed regarding the developmental implications of persistent pain in childhood and adolescence.
PMCID: PMC3206778  PMID: 22059200
Children; Persistent pain; Psychosocial factors; Sex differences
23.  Allergic Diseases in Preschoolers Are Associated With Psychological and Behavioural Problems 
The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between three major allergic diseases, asthma, allergic rhinitis (AR), and atopic dermatitis (AD), and psychological and behavioural problems in preschoolers based on a community survey.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a modified International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire to determine the prevalence of symptoms and diagnosed allergic diseases, and a Korean version of the Child Behaviour Checklist to assess internalizing, externalizing, and sleep problems among 780 preschoolers. Five-hundred and seventy-five preschoolers with valid data were included in this study.
The prevalence of lifetime diagnosis and treatment in the past 12 months was 8.7% and 4.4% for asthma, 24.4% and 19.2% for AR, and 35.1% and 16.6% for AD, respectively. Scores for internalizing and sleep problems were significantly higher in those diagnosed with AR. Preschoolers who had been treated for AD in the past 12 months had higher attention problem and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder scores. Sleep problems were more severe in moderate to severe AD compared to control and mild AD groups, categorised according to SCOring index of AD. The severity of sleep problems correlated positively with the percentage of eosinophils in peripheral blood.
Psychological and behavioural problems differed among the three major allergic diseases, weaker association for asthma and stronger association for AR and AD. The results of this study may lead to the identification of potential underlying shared mechanisms common to allergic diseases and psychological and behavioural problems.
PMCID: PMC3756179  PMID: 24003389
Preschool child; psychometrics; asthma; allergic rhinitis; atopic dermatitis
24.  Asthma in preschool children: prevalence and risk factors 
Thorax  2001;56(8):589-595.
BACKGROUND—The prevalence of asthma in children has increased in many countries over recent years. To plan effective interventions to reverse this trend we need a better understanding of the risk factors for asthma in early life. This study was undertaken to measure the prevalence of, and risk factors for, asthma in preschool children.
METHODS—Parents of children aged 3-5 years living in two cities (Lismore, n=383; Wagga Wagga, n=591) in New South Wales, Australia were surveyed by questionnaire to ascertain the presence of asthma and various proposed risk factors for asthma in their children. Recent asthma was defined as ever having been diagnosed with asthma and having cough or wheeze in the last 12 months and having used an asthma medication in the last 12 months. Atopy was measured by skin prick tests to six common allergens.
RESULTS—The prevalence of recent asthma was 22% in Lismore and 18% in Wagga Wagga. Factors which increased the risk of recent asthma were: atopy (odds ratio (OR) 2.35, 95% CI 1.49 to 3.72), having a parent with a history of asthma (OR 2.05, 95% CI 1.34 to 3.16), having had a serious respiratory infection in the first 2 years of life (OR 1.93, 95% CI 1.25 to 2.99), and a high dietary intake of polyunsaturated fats (OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.15 to 3.60). Breast feeding (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.74) and having three or more older siblings (OR 0.16, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.71) decreased the risk of recent asthma.
CONCLUSIONS—Of the factors tested, those that have the greatest potential to be modified to reduce the risk of asthma are breast feeding and consumption of polyunsaturated fats.

PMCID: PMC1746115  PMID: 11462059
25.  How to achieve better outcome in treatment of asthma in general practice. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1993;307(6914):1261-1263.
The symptoms of many asthmatic patients are poorly controlled, and there are several reasons why this may be so. Doctors fail to find out about symptoms that asthmatic patients are experiencing. Doctors wrongly assume that regular use of bronchodilators in small doses is satisfactory treatment for asthma and that taking high doses of bronchodilator in an asthma attack may be dangerous. Doctors think that inhaled steroids may be dangerous and are reluctant to use them in effective doses. Doctors do not check that patients can use their inhalers properly and do not make enough use of large volume spacers, the best available method for giving inhaled asthma treatment. Doctors undermine patients' confidence in advice on treatment by failing to ensure that consistent advice is given and often make the management of asthma more troublesome for the patient than the symptoms of asthma.
PMCID: PMC1679378  PMID: 8281061

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