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Asthma Study Shows Alarming Results among Children

Pharmacy Professors, Students Assist in Fight Against a Costly Chronic Health Problem

The alarming results of an asthma study conducted by researchers at Duquesne University and Allegheny General Hospital showed that a majority of inner-city children diagnosed with asthma had poor control of the disease and many other young potential asthmatics were found to be undiagnosed or untreated. These findings were presented at the Feb. 28 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting in New Orleans.Dr. Jennifer Padden, assistant professor of pharmacy practice in Duquesne’s Mylan School of Pharmacy, and Dr. Nicole Marcotullio, assistant professor in the Mylan School, screened 69 children enrolled in an after-school church program in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. They and sixth-year student pharmacists measured height, weight and lung function, and evaluated the children for the presence of asthma and its control.

Collaborating with Dr. David Skoner, Dr. Deborah Gentile and Jennifer Koehrsen of Allegheny General Hospital’s Division of Allergy and Immunology, they found:

  • Asthma was poorly controlled in 82 percent of the children known to have the disease.
  • Nearly half of the children with no asthma diagnoses failed the asthma screening test, indicating the need for further evaluation and possible treatment.
  • About half of the students involved were either overweight or obese, pointing to another significant problem in this at-risk population.

The study illustrates that community-based interventions, such as asthma camps, are crucial in improving health outcomes for these at-risk, inner-city youngsters, said Padden, a pediatric pharmacist, who is planning a series of camps for this spring and summer.

“Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in children,” Padden said. “A better understanding of the disease state and proper treatment has been shown to reduce the chance of hospitalizations and emergency visits due to asthma. “

Additionally, she said, the condition can have a negative domino effect on the health risks of these children. “Many children who suffer undiagnosed and undertreated asthma self-select not to play ball or to stay active. This can lead to other health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure. “

All of these areas will be addressed at the upcoming asthma camps, with details to be available soon.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.