Nitric oxide biomarker senses risk of childhood asthma

Asthma runs in my family as a part of genetic disorder, where in most of the male members of the family suffer from Asthma, right from childhood.  Detection of Asthma is difficult, especially in children, unless you can hear wheezing sound while breathing either by ear or through stethoscope.  A study which is in press in the European Respiratory Journal brings good news for early detection of Asthma in children.

The study was conducted at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, revealed that elevated levels of nitric oxide (FeNO) are associated with increased risk for developing asthma.  The study revealed that even the children with no parental history of Asthma show higher FeNO levels associated with risk of developing asthma.

Why does FeNO level correlate to asthma risk?
Nitric oxide is a gas that is produced by the cells that line the inner wall of the lung’s airways.  Thus, it is expected that FeNo can be a useful biomarker of the inflammatory process that occurs in the lungs prior to asthma onset.


What were main conclusions of the study?

  • Children with the highest levels of FeNO were more than twice as likely to...

    develop asthma compared to those with the lowest levels.
  • Higher levels of FeNO were linked with development of asthma most often in children whose parents had no history of the disease

Tracy Bastain, a doctoral student in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine and the lead author of the study said “We believe this is the first study to demonstrate the predictive value of FeNO for identifying children who are at risk for developing asthma,”

The statement from Tracy suggests that researchers will be able to define a level (a number), of FeNO above which chances of developing risk are higher.  The new research would help physicians and parents to develop strategies to avoid or tackle asthma in children.  Hopefully, one day a handheld device can be made to detect FeNO and people have it in their medicine cabinet like thermometers.

Source: Medicalnewstoday 


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