Study Aims to Curb Asthma Over-Medication

NBC published an article covering new research currently being carried out by Dr. John Mastronarde and his team at the Ohio State Medical Center. The study aims to find the optimal amount of medication for each asthma patient. This research is essential in the asthma medication space due to over-medication creating unnecessary costs and health hazards. The study will examine combinations of inhalers and medicines to find the most effective dose levels at various situations.

“With 26 million Americans taking asthma medicines at a cost of $150 million a day, a new study seeks to determine how to change the fact that many of those patients are taking too much medicine.

Dr. John Mastronarde and his colleagues at Ohio State University Medical Center are researching how to get patients on the lowest dose of asthma medicine possible.

He said the drugs can cost patients between $3 and $500 per month.

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Kids with asthma and allergies could benefit from owning a dog.


Rachel Starr, 7, of Boston gets some help from her dog, Violet as she tries to build an igloo on the Boston Common on December 15, 2013. (Jessica Rinaldi For The Boston Globe) (Taken from the Boston Globe)

The Boston Globe recently published an article on their blog covering a study that researched potential health benefits from having a dog at home. Results showed that a specific bacteria, carried by dogs, has a positive effect on immune systems in young children. Thus, it becomes less likely that they will develop allergies and asthma.

The study examined mice exposed to dust from a dog-free home and from a dog owners house. The later were less susceptible to developing reactions from common allergens. The research, currently in early stages, could potentially provide a new method in coping with asthma and allergies.

“While allergies to pet dander certainly keep many families from owning dogs, it turns out having man’s best friend as a pet might actually protect babies from developing allergies and asthma in the first place. A new study conducted with mice could explain the reason why: dust from homes with dogs has a higher amount of beneficial bacteria. This helps establish a balanced immune system in a child that’s less likely to attack harmless allergens.

Previous research suggests that the establishment of certain gut bacteria in the intestinal tracts of newborns could affect their development of asthma later in childhood. Certain harmful bacteria associated with the use of antibiotics, for example, were found by European researchers to increase a child’s risk of asthma, while living with a dog or cat in the house was found in other studies to decrease the risk.

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A perspective on improving adherence in the one third to one half of Americans who don’t take their medication as directed

Learning how to deal with patient non-adherence is one of the most difficult tasks assigned to a medical professional. Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum and Dr. William H. Shrank conveyed their perspectives on the subject in their recent article featured in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The article discusses issues associated with medication adherence and their ideas on how to combat non-adherence. Development in the adherence  industry is critical to addressing the estimated 100 to 290 billion dollar annual cost burdened by the U.S Government. Accountable Care Organizations are also discussed in the article as a way to provide more efficient healthcare methods at lower prices.

“A new patient with an abnormal electrocardiogram comes to your office. He is 53, smokes, and has hypertension and hyperlipidemia. Though he comes for preoperative risk evaluation, he needs more than ‘medical clearance’ — he needs a primary doctor. Given his risk factors and hesitance to change his lifestyle, you recommend aspirin, a statin, and an antihypertensive. When he doesn’t show up for his stress test, you call him, and he says he doesn’t understand what the fuss is all about — he feels fine. ‘Why don’t you wait until something is wrong with me to give me these medications?’ he asks, launching into a litany of justifications for not taking them: cost, nuisance, potential side effects, not wanting to put anything ‘unnatural’ in his body, and lack of perceived benefit. You attempt to educate him about his risk, but he says, ‘No disrespect to you, Doctor, but I’ve just never been a pill person. But,’ he adds, ‘if something were to happen, you would still take care of me, right?’”

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