Hopkins research may bring 'sigh' of relief to asthmatics

August 04, 2000

For several years, researchers have known that deep breaths benefit the lungs of healthy individuals by pushing open narrowed airways. Now, Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that deep breaths also provide protection by preventing airways from closing in the first place. The findings may lead to a real sigh of relief and new treatments for asthmatics.

"Understanding the protective effects of sighing may give us therapeutic options for asthmatics in the future," says Alkis Togias, M.D., an associate professor of clinical immunology and principal investigator of the study, which appears in the August issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.

For years, scientists have used the drug methacholine to study asthma because it narrows airways and causes wheezing in asthmatics, but not in healthy people. Then, in 1995, Hopkins researchers discovered that if people with healthy lung function took only shallow breaths before inhaling the drug, their lungs behaved more like those belonging to asthmatics, and breathing was difficult. With further study, the researchers found that deep breaths help open airways after they close.

To investigate whether deep breathing might bestow other protective effects, Togias and his colleagues exposed nine healthy volunteers and eight asthmatics to methacholine. At first, the volunteers were asked not to inhale deeply for 20 minutes before taking the drug. Then, the investigators gauged airway openness by having the volunteers breathe into a tube and measuring the speed and quantity of air exhaled. The test was then repeated, but this time the volunteers were instructed to take five deep breaths before inhaling the drug.

While breathing deeply did not affect airway openness in asthmatics, it reduced the adverse effects of methacholine in healthy individuals by 85 percent. "Before this study, we knew that deep breaths helped open airways after they closed," says Togias. "Now we know that deep breaths protect the airways from closing in the first place."

The scientists speculate that deep breaths may stretch lung tissue, which then causes the release of a protective chemical that keeps airways open. "If we could figure out what that substance was, perhaps we could provide it to asthmatics via a drug," says Togias.
For more information about asthma and allergy research at Johns Hopkins, visit http://www.hopkins-allergy.org.

Other authors of the study are Trisevgeni Kapsali, M.D., Solbert Permutt, M.D., Beth Laube, Ph.D., and Nicola Scichilone, M.D., from Johns Hopkins School ofMedicine. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions' news releases are available on an EMBARGOED basis on EurekAlert at http://www.eurekalert.org
Newswise at http://www.newswise.com
and from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs' direct e-mail news release service. To enroll, call 410-955-4288 or send e-mail to bsimpkins@jhmi.edu.

On a POST-EMBARGOED basis find them at http://hopkins.med.jhu.edu
Quadnet at http://www.quad-net.com
and ScienceDaily at http://www.sciencedaily.com.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Related Drug Articles from Brightsurf:

New drug that can prevent the drug resistance and adverse effects
A research team in Korea is garnering attention for having developed an anticancer drug that could potentially prevent drug resistance.

Potent drug supply drop, not domestic drug policies, likely behind 2018 OD death downturn
The slight decline in drug overdose deaths in 2018 coincides with Chinese regulations on the powerful opioid carfentanil, rather than the result of domestic U.S. efforts to curb the epidemic, a new analysis reveals.

Old drug standards delay new drug approvals
The more information the FDA has about existing drugs, the longer it takes to OK new ones for the same conditions.

What drug companies spend to bring a new drug to market
Researchers estimated the cost to bring 63 new drugs or biologics to market between 2009 and 2018 using publicly available data on research and development expenditures for these medicines.

New flu drug drives drug resistance in influenza viruses
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers examined the effects of baloxavir treatment on influenza virus samples collected from patients before and after treatment.

Cause of drug resistance in a drug resistance in intestinal tumors identified
Researchers clarify mechanisms that allow hard-to-treat cancers to develop, and have identified strategies that could lead to new therapies.

AI could offer warnings about serious side effects of drug-drug interactions
Researchers at Penn State have developed a machine learning system that may be able to warn doctors and patients about possible negative side effects that might occur when drugs are mixed.

Charcoal-based drug delivery system improves efficacy of common herpes drug
A study led by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago has found that combining acyclovir -- a commonly prescribed topical herpes medication -- with particles of activated carbon improves efficacy of the drug.

Candida auris is a new drug-resistant fungus emerging globally and in the US early detection is key to controlling spread of deadly drug-resistant fungus
Early identification of Candida auris, a potentially deadly fungus that causes bloodstream and intra-abdominal infections, is the key to controlling its spread.

Arming drug hunters, chemists design new reaction for drug discovery
Colorado State University organic chemists have forged a powerful new tool for drug hunters -- a simple, elegantly designed chemical reaction that could fling open an underexplored wing of biologically relevant chemistry.

Read More: Drug News and Drug Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.