News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Funding puts asthma anomaly under scrutiny

July 29, 2014

Funding puts asthma anomaly under scrutiny

Health researchers at Massey University have been awarded nearly $1.2 million to identify an anomaly in one particular underlying cause of asthma in New Zealand.

The Health Research Council funding of $1,191,469 is for a three-year study into why some children with no signs of airway inflammation still suffer from asthma - a disease that affects an estimated one in four children and one in five adults in New Zealand.

It is commonly thought that inflammation of the airway causes asthma symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness. The study, led by Professor Jeroen Douwes from the Centre for Public Health Research at the College of Health, aims to solve the mystery of why that isn’t the reason for all asthma cases.

Fellow researcher Dr Collin Brooks says a network of nerves regulates the airways and these may be impaired in asthma, resulting in sensory and structural pathways in the airway not functioning properly without causing inflammation.

“This may lead to the airways being too constricted in general, more likely to constrict due to psychological influences, such as stress or being overly responsive to stimulation by normally innocuous things like cold air.”

The funding will test the hypothesis that neurogenic dysfunction is a key mechanism underlying childhood asthma, particularly in those who have no airway inflammation and for the 30 to 50 per cent for whom current asthma treatment is not effective.

Samples will be collected from the airways of 120 asthmatic as well as 60 non-asthmatic children and analysed for immune and neurogenic indicators.

Dr Brooks says if the Massey study shows neurogenic dysfunction is the key mechanism underlying asthma “it would get us away from the dogma that asthma is always an inflammatory disease and, therefore, should always be treated as an inflammatory disease.

“It would open up new options for improved asthma treatment particularly for patients who don’t seem to have airway inflammation and are less likely to respond to treatment targeting inflammation, such as inhaled corticosteroids.”

The study’s findings could lead to a radical shift in understanding the causes of asthma and identify innovative pathways for effective interventions for all asthmatics.

Professor Douwes described asthma as a major public health issue in New Zealand, which has one of the highest rates of the illness in the world.

‘It is the most common cause of childhood hospital admissions, causes considerable school and work absenteeism, reduces quality of life and increases stress. It is conservatively estimated to cost the economy $825 million a year.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Memorabilia: Te Papa Buys Peter Snell Singlet

Te Papa has purchased the singlet worn by Peter Snell at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics at an auction this morning at Cordy’s auction house in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Women At The Centre

In the first chapter of her epic History of New Zealand Women, Barbara Brookes places a version of the Māori creation story alongside that of the Pākehā colonists, setting the scene for how each society saw women. The contrast is startling. More>>

In Auckland Art Gallery: A Tour Of Duty

I had already started my journey through the exhibited collections when an audio announcement about a guided tour to embark shortly from the foyer was made, I decided to join in. Why not? More>>

Art: ‘Holiday’ Wins IHC Art Awards

An intricate embroidered cushion by Wellington artist Jo-Anne Tapiki has won the 2016 IHC Art Awards and $5000. Jo-Anne started working from IHC’s Arts on High studio in Lower Hutt 18 months ago and this is the first time she has entered the competition. More>>

‘Quasi’: Christchurch Art Gallery Reveals Rooftop Sculpture

Christchurch-born and internationally renowned artist Ronnie van Hout has had a huge hand in Christchurch Art Gallery's latest outdoor installation. More>>

Obituary: Last 28th Maori Battalion A Company Veteran Dies

Charlie Petera, the final surviving member of A-Company of the 28th Maori Battalion has died at his home in Ngataki, Northland last night surrounded by his whanau. He was 91 years old. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news