Friday Links – Groundbreaking Severe Asthma Treatment, ALA’s State of the Air 2010

Site Redesign! Monday Morning! Be There! (I mean here)
For real this time.

Asthma Mom will be down all day Sunday for the big rollover, and you’ll see the beautiful, brand-new design and expanded navigation and content bright and early Monday morning. Maybe even Sunday night, but no promises. Related, I am slowly driving myself crazy with retagging, reorganizing, recategorizing, re-all-kinds-of-stuff to get the navigation and display working right.

Frickin’ Laser Beams! For Your Lungs!
Okay, not really laser beams, but that’s totally what I keep picturing with this new asthma treatment:

In a science fiction-like therapy called “bronchial thermoplasty” that I’ve written about before, doctors use radio waves through a bronchoscope to burn off the smooth muscle fiber that blocks severe patients’ airways, reducing the number and severity of flares. The FDA has just approved it for patients that don’t respond well to the regular medications, and as a device rather than a pharmaceutical, it’s the first treatment of its kind.

American Lung Association Releases State of the Air 2010
Check out your regional air and the United States’ best and worst places. In the top-10 most polluted slots for ozone and short/long-term particle pollution: California cities, primarily, but Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Houston, and Salt Lake City all appear, too.

As for cities with the cleanest air, it’s a mixed bag.

Asthma is a popular symbol on the Internet this week. Consider:

Burden of High Asthma Rates, Severity in New England
In this article on New England, the region with the highest number of asthma diagnoses in the country, Stephen Smith writes,

Asthma is in many ways a metaphor for the nation’s health system, a chronic illness that should be relatively easy to tame in most patients. Instead, economic, social, and environmental forces combine to make it a persistent hardship for many.

Slate’s Using Asthma as a Metaphor, Too
In Darshak Sanghavi’s article on another kind of health reform, bundling payments, I read this:

To illustrate the big challenges, and also a practical way forward, let’s consider asthma in children. A leading cause of misery, the disease accounts for one in six pediatric emergency room visits and is the most common cause of inpatient hospitalizations in many urban areas. And yet, most experts agree, asthma is eminently treatable and most of these hospitalizations are preventable.


Asthma’s complicated but treatable? Who knew?

I kid.

While the difficulty and heartbreak of attaining good control in children are not news to anybody here, I’m surprised and happy to see more press and more accurate portrayals of the struggle lately. But I wonder why asthma’s popping up on the radar now.

Maybe because World Asthma Day’s next week?

15 responses to “Friday Links – Groundbreaking Severe Asthma Treatment, ALA’s State of the Air 2010”

  1. kerri says:

    Haha at laser beams for your lungs! Yeahhh! I can’t wait till Bronchial Thermoplasty really gets rolling and we get to hear about some results with the treatment.

  2. Sara C. says:

    Hey look…I’m a statistic! I saw the tease of the high rates of asthma in NE (New England, not Nebraska) on the news, however, I was not physically capable of staying up to watch it (and it was on a station that competes with the station my husband works for.) I was going to look for the story online…but hey, you found it for me…one more reason that Amy ROCKS.

    I too, look forward to hearing about results with real life treatment of the Bronchial Thermoplasty. It seems like it could be life changing to so many people.

  3. Sarah says:

    Bronchial thermoplasty is cooool. I’m definitely not “severe” enough to be a candidate – from what I understand, it’s more of a last ditch, the-drugs-don’t-work-so-lets-try-frying-your-lungs type of thing – but it’s still pretty neat.

  4. Amy says:

    Kerri–I don’t love that movie franchise, but I love love LOVE that character.

    Sara C.–I thought about you guys when I read it! The mid-South is pretty bad for allergic asthmatics, but I had no idea overall asthma rates were so high in your region.

    Sarah–I’m excited about long-term prospects of thermoplasty, too. My kid isn’t that bad off when it comes to meds and side effects, but I’m loving the idea of more future non-drug treatments. Hopefully this’ll pave the way.

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