Spit test could identify asthma8th January 2013
Researchers have said a saliva test could help to show which severely asthmatic children are taking the incorrect medication for their condition.
Many thousands of children in the UK use salmeterol inhalers, even though one in seven will not respond to the drug.
The study, carried out by scientists at the University of Dundee and the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, looked at 62 children and found a test could shown which children did not respond to treatment.
Seretide and Servent inhalers - which come in purple and green colours - are used by asthmatics to relax passageways in the lungs.
If a child needs more than a blue inhaler to treat their asthma, they are usually prescribed a salmeterol inhaler.
However some children have mutations in their genetic code which means the receptors in their lungs are a different shape and the drug will not work for them.
The team divided a group of 62 children who had the mutation into two groups and gave one salmeterol and the other a different drug called montelukast.
Professor Somnath Mukhopadhyay said: "For almost every clinical outcome we were looking at we found that salmeterol either wasn't working or was working very poorly. Montelukast was very much better."
"We've shown for the first time that personalised medicine can work in the field of childhood asthma."
He added that the saliva test would cost around £15 and could be given at a GP's surgery.
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Wednesday 9th January 2013 @ 13:15
This could make a huge difference for children with asthma, and cut costs for healthcare too.
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Title: Spit test could identify asthma
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 23460
Date Added: 8th Jan 2013