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Concept: Peak flow meter


BACKGROUND: Enhancing athletic performance is a great desire among the athletes, coaches and researchers. Mint is one of the most famous natural herbs used for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antioxidant, and vasoconstrictor effects. Even though inhaling mint aroma in athletes has been investigated, there were no significant effects on the exercise performance. METHODS: Twelve healthy male students every day consumed one 500 ml bottle of mineral water, containing 0.05 ml peppermint essential oil for ten days. Blood pressure, heart rate, and spirometry parameters including forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow rate (PEF), and peak inspiratory flow (PIF) were determined one day before, and after the supplementation period. Participants underwent a treadmill-based exercise test with metabolic gas analysis and ventilation measurement using the Bruce protocol. RESULTS: The FVC (4.57 +/- 0.90 vs. 4.79 +/- 0.84; p < 0.001), PEF (8.50 +/- 0.94 vs. 8.87 +/- 0.92; p < 0.01), and PIF (5.71 +/- 1.16 vs. 6.58 +/-1.08; p < 0.005) significantly changed after ten days of supplementation. Exercise performance evaluated by time to exhaustion (664.5 +/- 114.2 vs. 830.2 +/- 129.8 s), work (78.34 +/-32.84 vs. 118.7 +/- 47.38 KJ), and power (114.3 +/- 24.24 vs. 139.4 +/- 27.80 KW) significantly increased (p < 0.001). In addition, the results of respiratory gas analysis exhibited significant differences in VO2 (2.74 +/- 0.40 vs. 3.03 +/- 0.351 L/min; p < 0.001), and VCO2 (3.08 +/- 0.47 vs. 3.73 +/- 0.518 L/min; p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The results of the experiment support the effectiveness of peppermint essential oil on the exercise performance, gas analysis, spirometry parameters, blood pressure, and respiratory rate in the young male students. Relaxation of bronchial smooth muscles, increase in the ventilation and brain oxygen concentration, and decrease in the blood lactate level are the most plausible explanations.

Concepts: Asthma, Atherosclerosis, Respiratory physiology, Medical signs, Spirometry, Exercise physiology, Vital capacity, Peak flow meter


Pre-clinical data demonstrate a pivotal role for interleukin (IL)-13 in the development and maintenance of asthma. This study assessed the effects of tralokinumab, an investigational human IL-13-neutralising immunoglobulin G4 monoclonal antibody, in adults with moderate-to-severe uncontrolled asthma despite controller therapies. 194 subjects were randomised to receive tralokinumab (150, 300 or 600 mg) or placebo subcutaneously every 2 weeks. Primary end-point was change from baseline in mean Asthma Control Questionnaire score (ACQ-6; ACQ mean of six individual item scores) at week 13 comparing placebo and combined tralokinumab dose groups. Secondary end-points included pre-bronchodilator lung function, rescue β(2)-agonist use and safety. Numerical end-points are reported as mean±sd. At week 13, change from baseline in ACQ-6 was -0.76±1.04 for tralokinumab versus -0.61±0.90 for placebo (p=0.375). Increases from baseline in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) were 0.21±0.38 L versus 0.06±0.48 L (p=0.072), with a dose-response observed across the tralokinumab doses tested. β(2)-agonist use (puffs per day) was decreased for tralokinumab -0.68±1.45 versus placebo -0.10±1.49 (p=0.020). The increase in FEV(1) following tralokinumab treatment remained evident 12 weeks after the final dose. Safety profile was acceptable with no serious adverse events related to tralokinumab. No improvement in ACQ-6 was observed, although tralokinumab treatment was associated with improved lung function.

Concepts: Immune system, Pulmonology, Asthma, Lung, Respiratory physiology, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Spirometry, Peak flow meter


Asthma is associated with increased levels of eosinophils in tissues, body fluids, and bone marrow. Elevated levels of eosinophil-derived neurotoxin (EDN) and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) have been noted in asthma patients. Higher levels of EDN and ECP are also associated with exacerbated asthmatic conditions. Thus, EDN, along with ECP, may aid the diagnosis and monitoring of asthma. Several groups have suggested that EDN is more useful than ECP in evaluating disease severity. This may partially be because of the recoverability of EDN (not sticky, 100% recovery rate), as ECP is a sticky and more highly charged protein. In terms of clinical utility, EDN level is a more accurate biomarker than ECP when analyzing the underlying pathophysiology of asthma. As a monitoring tool, EDN has shown good results in children with asthma as well as other allergic diseases. In children too young to fully participate in lung function tests, EDN levels may be useful as an alter native measurement of eosinophilic inflammation. EDN can also be used in adult patients and in multiple specimen types (e.g., serum, sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and nasal lavage fluid). These results are repeatable and reproducible. In conclusion, EDN may be a novel biomarker for the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of asthma/allergic disease.

Concepts: Immune system, Pulmonology, Asthma, Allergy, Bronchoalveolar lavage, Spirometry, Peak flow meter, Eosinophil granulocyte


In the present study we investigated the effectiveness of a 3-month breathing exercise program in patients with mild-to-moderate asthma, as assessed from spirometric indices. The study group consisted of 28 asthma patients (mean age of 43 years). The physiotherapy program consisted of 45-min exercise sessions, performed twice a week for 3 months. We measured the flow-volume indices (FEV(1), FVC, PEF, MEF(50)) before and after the exercise sessions at the beginning and end of the physiotherapy program. In addition, the patients measured their personal best peak expiratory flow (PEF). We found no significant changes in spirometric indices before and after an exercise session either at the beginning or end of the physiotherapy program, although there was a tendency for lower values after the exercise sessions at both beginning and end of the physiotherapy program. There was a significant decrease in PEF after an exercise session at the beginning of the physiotherapy program; this decrease lost significance after completion of the physiotherapy program. However, PEF values were greater both before and after the exercise sessions at the end of the physiotherapy program compared with the corresponding sessions before the program. We conclude that the breathing exercise program employed in the study failed to appreciably improve lung function in asthmatic patients. However, there was no asthma exacerbations observed during the conduction of breathing exercise program, which underscores the need for pulmonary rehabilitation in asthma treatment.

Concepts: Asthma, Lung, Obesity, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Spirometry, Bronchus, Peak flow meter, Respiratory therapy


Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are marketed as safer alternatives to tobacco cigarettes and have shown to reduce their consumption. Here we report for the first time the effects of e-cigs on subjective and objective asthma parameters as well as tolerability in asthmatic smokers who quit or reduced their tobacco consumption by switching to these products. We retrospectively reviewed changes in spirometry data, airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR), asthma exacerbations and subjective asthma control in smoking asthmatics who switched to regular e-cig use. Measurements were taken prior to switching (baseline) and at two consecutive visits (Follow-up/1 at 6 (±1) and Follow-up/2 at 12 (±2) months). Eighteen smoking asthmatics (10 single users, eight dual users) were identified. Overall there were significant improvements in spirometry data, asthma control and AHR. These positive outcomes were noted in single and dual users. Reduction in exacerbation rates was reported, but was not significant. No severe adverse events were noted. This small retrospective study indicates that regular use of e-cigs to substitute smoking is associated with objective and subjective improvements in asthma outcomes. Considering that e-cig use is reportedly less harmful than conventional smoking and can lead to reduced cigarette consumption with subsequent improvements in asthma outcomes, this study shows that e-cigs can be a valid option for asthmatic patients who cannot quit smoking by other methods.

Concepts: Asthma, Smoking, Tobacco, Cigarette, Nicotine, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Electronic cigarette, Peak flow meter


Low birth weight and rapid infant growth in early infancy are associated with increased risk of childhood asthma, but little is known about the role of postinfancy growth in asthmatic children.

Concepts: Childbirth, Asthma, Lung, Childhood, Pediatrics, Spirometry, Peak flow meter, Toddler


Although ambient air pollution has been linked to reduced lung function in healthy children, longitudinal analyses of pollution effects in asthmatic patients are lacking.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Asthma, Lung, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Pollution, National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Air pollution, Peak flow meter


Asthma that starts in adulthood differs from childhood-onset asthma in that it is often non-atopic, more severe and associated with a faster decline in lung function. Understanding of the underlying mechanism of adult-onset asthma and identification of specific phenotypes may further our understanding of pathophysiology and treatment response, leading to better targeting of both existing and new approaches for personalised management. Pivotal studies in past years have led to sustained progress in many areas, ranging from risk factors for development, identification of different phenotypes, and introduction of new therapies. This review highlights and discusses literature on adult-onset asthma, with special focus on the differences from childhood-onset asthma, risk factors for development, phenotypes of adult-onset asthma and new approaches for personalised management.

Concepts: Asthma, Lung, Management, Difference, Spirometry, Specific Identification, Peak flow meter



BACKGROUND: Asthma is becoming increasingly prevalent among children in China. Poor parent knowledge and attitudes often contribute to inappropriate management practices, leading to deficiencies in the care process We aimed to document the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of parents of children with asthma and analyze how knowledge and attitudes relate to practices. Our secondary objective was to identify the factors associated with parent KAP scores. METHODS: A KAP questionnaire was distributed to parents caring for 2960 children (0–14 years) diagnosed with asthma for at least 3 months from China’s 29 provinces. A 50-item questionnaire was devised for this cross-sectional survey based on a comprehensive review of the subject. Questionnaires were scored on 30 items regarding parent asthma-related KAP, with one point for every correct response and a possible range of 0–13 for knowledge, 0–7 for attitudes and 0–10 for practices. Higher scores indicated better KAP. Chi-squared tests and logistic regression were used to identify factors associated with practices and combined KAP scores. RESULTS: The response rate was 83.95% (2485/2960). Only 18.31% (455/2485) of parents correctly answered >= 60% of the knowledge questions (mean = 5.69). Most (89.85%; 2226/2485) gave positive responses to >= 60% of the attitude questions (mean = 5.23) while 67.89% (1687/2485) correctly answered >= 60% of the practices questions (mean = 6.19). Knowledge and attitudes were positively associated with pulmonary function testing, regular physician visits, monitoring with a peak flow meter and the Children’s Asthma Control Test questionnaire, avoidance of asthma triggers, using an inhaled beta2 receptor agonist and adherence to medication regimen (p <= 0.05). Attitudes were also associated with allergen testing. In logistic regression analysis, high KAP scores (dichotomized by a cut-off score of 18) were positively associated with food allergy, rhinitis, physician visits, frequency of visits and parent education (p < 0.05, OR > 1). CONCLUSIONS: Generally, the parents' KAP were poor. A gap between recommended and actual practice was observed, which may be related to inadequate knowledge about and poor attitudes toward childhood asthma. Improving knowledge and attitudes may encourage better practices among parents of children with asthma.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Asthma, Allergy, Receptor antagonist, Spirometry, Statistical survey, Peak flow meter