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Research Finding Could Revolutionize Asthma Treatment
Date:2/26/2009

Use of Beta Blockers May Have Long-Term Benefits

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Asthma Foundation announced a research breakthrough suggesting that, contrary to popular belief, drugs commonly used to treat high blood pressure may also bring relief to many asthma sufferers.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090226/SF75648)

Dean Smith, Executive Director of the American Asthma Foundation (AAF), said, "Drugs known as beta blockers have long been used to treat high blood pressure. However, they have historically been forbidden for patients with asthma, because they may make the symptoms worse. Now, however, results from a research study funded by the American Asthma Foundation suggest that, over the long run, asthma may well improve with low daily doses of beta blockers."

The findings were published January 26, 2009 on www.pnas.org, the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, a prestigious scientific journal. The lead investigator, Dr. Richard Bond, and his colleagues demonstrated the absence of asthma-like symptoms in laboratory mice that do not have the very receptor that is inhibited by beta blockers. This finding was in agreement with earlier studies by Bond and his colleagues showing that low doses of beta blockers improved asthma in mice.

Expanding on his description of Dr. Bond's findings, Mr. Smith comments, "Dr. Bond's research has used an approach he calls 'paradoxical pharmacology,' which simply means that patients may be treated with medicines that may initially worsen symptoms, but over the long run may lead to overall health improvement." Dr. Bond's studies led to a small clinical trial of beta blockers with humans, and a second huma
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SOURCE American Asthma Foundation
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