To coincide with the European Respiratory Society meeting in Barcelona, which starts on September 18th, The Lancet's September 4 issue highlights asthma in four review articles. The articles cover areas of asthma care in vulnerable populations, areas that are in desperate need of attention as the incidence rises and patients with asthma are living longer.
Gibson et al. (Lancet 2010, Vol 376:803-813) discuss the complexity and lack of research on management of elderly patients with asthma, noting that their age and comorbidities exclude them from most clinical trials. Bush and Saglani (Lancet 2010, Vol. 376:814-825) hit the other age-related knowledge gap; that is, pediatric asthma patients, especially those with severe, refractory asthma. They comment that this population faces the same obstacles to clinical research that elderly patients with asthma have. Moreover, clinical trials in this age group are needed to understand medical needs in young children.
Busse et al. (Lancet 2010, Vol 376:826-834) discuss the need for better understanding of the mechanisms by which respiratory viruses increase risk of asthma as well as increase susceptibility asthma exacerbation in order to more effectively manage and prevent asthma. Finally, Lambrecht and Hammad (Lancet 2010, Vol. 376:835-843) review the state of knowledge about dendritic cells and their collusion with airway epithelium that results in allergic sensitization and asthma.
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