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Monitoring exhaled nitric oxide does not help manage asthma
Date:9/19/2008

A new study shows that monitoring levels of exhaled nitric oxide in adolescents with asthma and adjusting treatment accordingly does not improve the course of their disease.

The study was conducted by the Inner City Asthma Consortium (ICAC), which is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Sept. 20 issue of The Lancet reports the ICAC findings.

Approximately 550 adolescents in 10 cities across the United States participated in the study. It was designed to examine whether in addition to treating asthma based on national guidelines developed at NIH, measurements of exhaled nitric oxide would allow even better control of the disease. This was the largest study to date testing exhaled nitric oxide as a biomarker for asthma management.

Asthma is a chronic disorder of the airways that affects approximately 9 percent of children under age 17 in the United States. The causes of asthma are still unknown, but allergens, air pollution and infections can provoke its symptoms, which include wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. Asthma symptoms occur when the tissues of the lungs become inflamed and the muscles in the airways contract, making breathing difficult. One measurable marker of asthma-related inflammation is high levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the breath; it is known that the higher the exhaled NO, the greater the inflammation of the lungs. Equipment is now available to easily measure exhaled NO. Widely used asthma treatments, such as inhaled corticosteroids, reduce both lung inflammation and exhaled NO. Exhaled NO would potentially be a good biomarkera measurable feature of a disease that indicates its severityof asthma inflammation.

"A biomarker of airway inflammation could be a useful clinical tool for gauging medical needs and clinical responses in asthma patients," says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director
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Contact: Julie Wu
wujuli@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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