New Discovery May Lead To Asthma Relief
Scientists have just a released a new study on Sunday that points to a novel way to open the lungs, one that offers asthma sufferers some real relief. Thats good news for the approximately 34.1 million Americans who have been diagnosed with asthma, according to the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology.
The groundbreaking research, published in the online journal Nature Medicine, could lead to the development of the first new class of asthma inhalers in 50 years, said Dr. Stephen B. Liggett, lead author of the study conducted at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. His team found that taste receptors in our lungs could provide an effective way to restore free breathing during attacks.
The scientists, who experimented with mice and human tissues, found that the receptors, similar to those on the tongue, responded to bitter substances by signaling constricted muscles in the lungs to relax, reopening tight airways in seconds. In fact, the airways expanded to 90% of their original volume three times as much as they do with the beta 2 agonist inhalants. Thats the kind used routinely by 31 million asthmatics.
Even though this new discovery doesnt lead to a cure, Dr. Norman H. Edelman, the chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, told the Baltimore Sun newspaper, it offers a totally new way of opening airways and thats exciting.
Ironically, this is sweet news for Asthmatics who may soon be able to take a deep breath just by inhaling -- something bitter.
Robin Westen writes about health for national magazines.
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