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

 

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>

Culture: RNZB Showcases NZ Artists With Two World Premieres

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s mixed bill Salute - Remembering WW1 which opens on 22 May will showcase the talents of New Zealand artists working at the top of their field. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news