Asthma: March 2007 Archives

Baking Soda Helps Kids During Severe Asthma Attack


An intravenous infusion of a solution of sodium bicarbonate -- better known as baking soda -- reduces respiratory distress and excessive acidity of body fluids in children with a life-threatening asthma flare-up, according to a report from the Netherlands.

High blood acidity, or acidosis, causes the heart to contract less strongly, reduces the effectiveness of beta-agonist bronchodilators used to treat asthma, and may stimulate rapid, shallow breathing, Dr. Corinne M. P. Buysse and her colleagues point out in the medical journal Chest.

They explain that treatment with sodium bicarbonate has been shown to relieve bronchial spasm and restore the response to bronchodilators. However, doctors have avoided the use of intravenous sodium bicarbonate for fear of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.

Gene find could be end of the asthma inhaler


inhalerScientists have identified a gene that could lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of asthma, with tablets replacing steroid inhalers.

As a result of work carried out at Dundee University, researchers believe that drugs currently used to treat diabetes could be adapted to control acute asthma attacks.

Until now asthma treatments have been dominated by steroid therapies which can often have serious side effects.

What Is Known About Asthma In Africa?

asthmaA study led by Adnan Custovic from the University of Manchester analyzing two surveys ten years apart (1993 and 2003) among 9-16 yr old schoolchildren attending urban and rural schools in Ghana showed that the prevalence of both exercise-induced bronchospasm and atopy had approximately doubled over the period.

A related essay puts this survey into context through a discussion of the epidemiology of asthma in Africa.

Citation: Addo-Yobo EOD, Woodcock A, Allotey A, Baffoe-Bonnie B, Strachan D, et al. (2007) Exercise-induced bronchospasm and atopy in Ghana: Two surveys ten years apart. PLoS Med 4(2): e70.