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Program could help teens control asthma
Date:3/8/2010

vidually tailored to each student's asthma condition based on previously provided information about how the student already deals with the disease.

"The program really comes alive for them," Dr. Tingen said. "It may ask a question, for instance, about how they can best remember to take their medication, maybe by placing it next to their cell phone at night. The next time they log in to the program, DJ Puffman will ask how that strategy is working for them."

In each group, teens receive four computerized asthma management sessions that are accessed on computers at school. Users also can problem solve asthma-management issues and hear educational information on the disease.

The program has already proven useful in other populations. Teens in inner-city Detroit, where it was originally tested, made 50 percent fewer visits to emergency departments, required 50 percent fewer hospitalizations and had 60 percent fewer school absences.

The disease, which affects more than 300 million people worldwide, is a chronic inflammation that causes a temporary narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs. Those narrowings commonly called asthma attacks cause more than 4,000 deaths each year in the United States alone, according to the American Lung Association.

If the program proves to be successful with rural Georgia teens, Puff City could be one way to lessen the burden of a disease that is the third most expensive to Georgia taxpayers.

"We are hoping that this is a program that can be easily disseminated world-wide at a relatively low cost," Dr. Tingen said.


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Contact: Jennifer Hilliard
jhilliard@mcg.edu
706-721-8604
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

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