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Collaborative Success Stories: An Air of Success

University of Missouri researchers have discovered a way to diagnose asthma before symptoms appear.

One in 12 Americans is estimated to have asthma. If uncontrolled, the disease hinders quality of life and may become life-threatening. Luckily, an early diagnosis can reduce the length of time it takes to control the disease. Now, MU researchers have uncovered a method for early detection in children.

Peter Konig and colleagues in the School of Medicine examined data on 2,300 children who were given a spirometry test, which measures airflow in different parts of the lungs. The test is available in two formats, one that gauges airflow in small airways and another that assesses large airways. Physicians most commonly test the large airways; however, Konig and his team found that asthma could be detected earlier in small airways—showing up even before symptoms such as coughing or wheezing begin.

“This could mean a big difference in catching the disease before serious health problems start,” says Konig. “That means treatment starts earlier and results from the treatment are better.” The team is now working to determine if the test could lead to early detection of cystic fibrosis.

Dr. Peter Konig is a professor emeritus of child health in the School of Medicine.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine