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Spit Test to Help Children's Asthma Treatment

Update Date: Jan 14, 2013 02:51 AM EST

For many parents wondering why their child's inhaler does not seem to help their asthma, here's the reason.

According to a recent study conducted by the Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the University of Dundee, one in seven children have been found to be resistant to Salmeterol. It is a regular ingredient of Seretide and Servent inhalers, also popularly known as the purple and green inhalers. These inhalers are prescribed to children whose asthma has become resistant to the normally used blue inhalers.

The researchers have found that by performing a simple spit test, they are able to identify those who are resistant to Salmeterol. It is mainly used in an inhaler to loosen up the air passage to enable a smoother air flow. This resistance has been traced back to gene mutation. A study was conducted with 62 children, all of whom were identified to have the mutation within them.

At the onset of the study, half the children were given the normal course of treatment and the other half was treated with Montelukast, used in asthma manteneance, instead. This gave encouraging results as the health of the children noticeably improved after the change in the treatment course.

The research results were published in the journal Clinical Science.

 "For almost every clinical outcome we were looking at we found that Salmeterol either wasn't working or was working very poorly. Montelukast was much better. We've shown for the first time that personalized medicine can work in the field of childhood asthma," Professor Somnath Mukhopadhyay told BBC News.

He also said that the spit test is, for the moment, unavailable with the GPs,. It is expected to cost around £15. He also emphasized on the importance of target-specific drugs by saying that it was "unacceptable" to give drugs without first checking its affectivity.

The study has come as a boon to many children who are suffering from this type of asthma and can look forward to breathing a sigh of relief, literally.

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