Significant advance in treating asthma

Treating the underlying cause of asthma rather than its symptoms appears to be more effective at reducing severe asthma attacks, according to new research reported in The Lancet. Asthma is known to be associated with increased numbers of microscopic cells called eosinophils, in the airway. These can be detected by a simple sputum test and their numbers rise several weeks before an asthma attack. A study of 74 patients with moderate to severe asthma were randomly placed into two groups. One was treated conventionally, the other using the sputum test with their medication regulated in response to changes in eosinophil numbers. The results showed that the sputum test group had fewer severe attacks and hospitalisations than the conventional treatment group.