World Asthma Day 2022 – Closing gaps in asthma care: our work with children and young people
This World Asthma Day, we are reflecting on our work with children and young people over the last year and closing the gap for this group of people with asthma
Understanding the gaps
A great deal of work in the Centre has highlighted the gaps for children with asthma, particularly those living in poorer communities.
A study highlighted that children from more deprived neighbourhoods in England represent the majority of asthma admissions, invasive ventilation and deaths in paediatric intensive care units.
A video from Professor Monica Lakhanpaul emphasised that the pandemic had further implications on children and young people living in poverty with asthma. Difficulties include living in housing with mould on the walls that is damp and cold because families can’t afford to heat them. These environments affect the lungs and can trigger asthma.
Additionally, a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine found that children with poorly controlled asthma are three to six times more likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19 than those without the condition. The researchers advise that 5 to 17-year-olds with poorly controlled asthma should be considered for vaccination to reduce the risk of infection and the spread of Covid-19 in schools and households.
We’ve had publications from studies which focused on children and young people.
Two papers based on the X4A trial: eXercise for Asthma with Commando Joe’s examined the effectiveness of six months of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on adolescents with and without asthma. The studies found that HIIT may be an effective tool for increasing peak aerobic fitness and preventing an increase in BMI in adolescents, irrespective of asthma. They also show that adolescents with controlled, mild asthma do not demonstrate any obvious differences in stiffness of their arteries compared to their healthy peers.
A further study showed that electronic reminders and financial incentives are acceptable to adolescents with asthma. Participants in the study said that the intervention helped them remember to take their medication, and increased their motivation. A pilot randomised control trial based on this study is being taken forward by Centre PhD student, Jasmine Hine.
Projects and studies
This year, we’ve welcomed a range of affiliate projects and launched studies which focus on children and young people with asthma, some of which are open to recruitment.
An extension of the Children’s Health in London and Luton (CHILL), this study is focusing on the impact of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone on brain development in school children.
This project is taking the evidence from a previous adult breathing retraining intervention to create an age-appropriate intervention for young people with asthma.
The UK has more deaths from asthma in children and young people than any other developed health country. This study aims to identify current asthma management and the risk factors, develop a care bundle that could be used to reduce the risk of death in children and young people.
The TAILOR study aims to understand if 3 biomarker tests can predict preschool aged children’s responses to inhaled corticosteroids as a treatment for wheezing so children are given these drugs only when effective. This study is open to recruitment.
PhD student, Grace Lewis, based at University of Leeds is leading a study into indoor asthma triggers and how children and young people and their families can make decisions about how to avoid those triggers. This study is now open to recruitment for children between 11 and 16 and their parents/carers.
We are hoping that the work in the Centre will help to close some of the gaps for children and young people.