NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

New breathing test for childhood asthma attacks studied by University of Aberdeen

Inhaler Image copyright PA

Researchers in Aberdeen are to investigate whether a new breathing test could reduce the risk of asthma attacks in children.

Hundreds of youngsters will take part in the study, which will use a breath test to monitor their nitric oxide levels to help guide their treatment.

About 500 children with asthma from 25 UK centres will be recruited for the research.

The new breath test has been devised after a review of 150 cases.

The researchers believe the range of nitric oxide (NO) levels in people with asthma is far wider than previously thought.

They have drawn up new recommendations for what constitutes a significant change in levels.

'Robust definition'

Half of the children to be studied will use the new breath test, to show whether measuring levels of nitric oxide levels in young people with asthma can help prevent attacks.

The other half will have their treatment guided only by their symptoms.

Dr Steve Turner said: "We've always known that nitric oxide levels were important but we didn't know just how wide the range of NO levels could be.

"We've analysed the data from previous studies and we think we've come up with a robust definition of what constitutes a significant change in NO level for an individual patient.

"This study will use our new definition of NO level changes, along with close monitoring of the amount of treatment each patient is using in order to accurately show if their asthma requires more or less medication."

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Medical Research Council (MRC) have funded the study.

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