- Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases releases COPD educational DVD
- Novocastrian's generosity to improve health care
- Region to benefit from asthma research partnership
- Newcastle wins health research funding
- International collaborations
- Antibiotic treatment targets difficult asthma
- Cold virus and asthma
- Asthma management in pregnancy
Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases releases educational DVD
Living with COPD: A patient education DVD
Research conducted within the Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases has identified a gap in the delivery of person centred education for older people with asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 1. To fill this gap the priority research centre has developed an interactive DVD to support patients to better manage their COPD. The DVD is presented in chapters which were chosen based on the prevalence of the clinical problems identified in older people with COPD 2. A project team was convened involving leading content experts. Each expert presents a chapter in the DVD, including:
- An overview of COPD
- Flare ups
- Inhaled medications
- Exercise and pulmonary rehabilitation
- Eating well
- Stopping smoking
This resource has been audience tested with clinicians and patients and both groups rated the quality of the DVD highly and considered it to be a patient friendly resource. After watching the DVD, patients stated they felt more able to manage their disease, more motivated to exercise, and more able to manage their breathlessness. All clinicians said they would recommend it to patients. The DVD can be a valuable addition to clinical practice and COPD patient education.
To obtain copies of this DVD resource please click this link to download the order form.
- The Use of Qualitative Interviews to Gain Insight into Older People with COPD and Asthma. Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand; 2008; Melbourne. Respirology.
- McDonald VM, Simpson JL, Higgins I, Gibson PG. Multidimensional Assessment of Older People with Asthma & COPD: Clinical Management and Health Status. Age Ageing 2011;40(1):42-49.
We are well underway with organising this years Newcastle Asthma Meeting (NAMe2010), sponsored by AstraZeneca, which will be on the 14-15th of October.
We will have 3 prestigious invited speakers:
- Professor Nicholas Lukacs, Professor of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School.
- Professor Gerard Cox, Professor of Respirology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
- Professor John Upham, School of Medicine, University of Queensland.
Focus & Talks
The meeting is designed to highlight and provide an overview of areas of importance in asthma and airways research and to develop new and strengthen ongoing collaborations in an informal setting. Talks will largely be presented by post-doctoral fellows and senior PhD scholars to highlight the research that is being conducted at the coal-face. Talks will be grouped into topics, which will be introduced by more senior researchers. Participants are encouraged to interact with any potential collaborator(s) both basic scientists and clinicians whenever possible. Talks are designed for speakers to discuss the kind of work they do, so that the potential for collaboration is highlighted and time will be allowed (5 minutes) for questions/discussion.
Novocastrian's generosity to improve health care
A proud Novocastrian, Mr Don Barker, has generously funded two PhD scholarships to provide career opportunities for two Hunter researchers working on projects that will improve the health of local people.
The University of Newcastle Foundation in conjunction with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) last night awarded two $14,000 Barker Scholarships to clinical researchers Vanessa McDonald and Isobel Hubbard.
Region to benefit from asthma research partnership
The Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) and Xstrata Coal will today announce a significant research partnership which will improve the care of people with asthma in the Hunter and beyond.
Xstrata Coal has committed $300,000 to HMRI for a three-year study to investigate a newly recognised type of asthma which accounts for 50 per cent of asthma cases.
The HMRI Xstrata Coal Asthma Research Fellow, Dr Katie Baines from the University of Newcastle, will examine blood and sputum samples from people with non-eosinophilic asthma, to identify the role that genes play in the development and treatment of the condition. This kind of asthma does not respond well to common asthma treatment.
Newcastle wins health research funding
Two postdoctoral researchers at the University of Newcastle have secured more than half a million dollars to progress their research into combating asthma and uncovering the mystery behind losing a sense of balance.
Dr Kelly Asquith and Dr Brett Graham from the Faculty of Health have each been awarded a $274,000 Training Postgraduate Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Dr Asquith will focus on new treatment strategies for asthma sufferers and other related allergic disorders such as allergic rhinitis.
"The current understanding of the development of asthma is fairly basic and little has been accomplished by way of targeted intervention," Dr Asquith said.
"Treatment relies on broad spectrum anti-inflammatory agents which are often ineffective so new strategies are needed to help combat the disease.
"My research will investigate the therapeutic potential of targeting a common receptor protein called beta c - which controls allergic inflammation - and assess its potential to reduce or eliminate asthma attacks."
Dr Asquith's research is one of many projects being undertaken by the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Viruses, Infections/Immunity, Viruses and Asthma (VIVA) Research Program.
Dr Graham's research will investigate what occurs when our sense of balance is disrupted, a problem of particular importance to the elderly.
"Our sense of balance is controlled by the vestibular system in the inner ear and when it is disrupted we experience symptoms such as a loss of balance, dizziness and nausea," Dr Graham said.
"We already know that it is a major contributing factor associated with falls in the elderly yet little is known about the underlying mechanisms responsible for vestibular dysfunction.
"My studies will progress our understanding of balance processing mechanisms in the brain and assist in taking the first steps towards identifying treatment strategies to combat balance problems."
Dr Graham conducts his research within the University's Priority Research Centre for Brain and Mental Health in collaboration with the HMRI Brain and Mental Health Program.
Associate Professor Jeroen Douwes from Massey University, New Zealand, spent a week in Newcastle during February 2008 working on a collaborative project with Dr Jodie Simpson. The collaboration was funded by the SMPH Research Grant Success Initiative. The study is aimed at developing better therapy for airway inflammation in asthma and COP, and the co-investigators will prepare and submit a funding application through HMRC for the 2008 round.
Antibiotic treatment targets difficult asthma
Hunter researchers have shown that a commonly available antibiotic can improve the quality of life of patients with difficult asthma, and may also generate significant health care savings.
Results of a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, a top international journal, indicate that macrolide antibiotics could prove a successful therapy in conjunction with current asthma treatment.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Viruses, Infections/Immunity, Vaccines and Asthma (VIVA) Research Program.
Cold virus and asthma
A Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) study has identified why asthmatics are more susceptible to the effects of the common cold which could lead to new treatments for acute asthma and health care savings.
Results of a study by researcher Dr Peter Wark from John Hunter Hospital and colleagues in the United Kingdom which have been published in the journal Nature Medicine, showed that cells which line the airways of people with asthma are more susceptible to infection with the cold virus.
Researchers found that asthmatic airway cells and immune cells responded poorly to infection with the cold virus. Participants who recorded the greatest worsening of asthma showing increased inflammation, lower lung function and were deficient in the release of antiviral proteins (interferons) in response to infection.
"Our research indicates that asthmatics have a deficient early immune response to cold which is directly related to the worsening of their asthma" said Dr Wark.
"These findings open up possibilities for numerous new therapeutic targets to either correct this defect or minimise it to reduce the severity of acute virus asthma."
Asthma management in pregnancy
Hunter research informs new guidelines for asthma management in pregnancy. The Asthma Foundation of NSW will today release new health guidelines for the management of asthma during pregnancy based on research conducted by University of Newcastle researchers through the Hunter Medical Research Institute.
The new health information will educate pregnant women and health professionals about the dangers of women not taking their prescribed asthma medication during pregnancy.
Researchers from the University of Newcastle, Associate Professor Vicki Clifton and Port Waratah Coal Services Fellow Dr Vanessa Murphy, showed that many pregnant women with asthma are not taking their asthma medications during pregnancy, which poses health risks for their unborn babies.
"If the mother's asthma is not properly managed, health risks to her baby include low birth weight, preterm delivery and pre-eclampsia," said Associate Professor Clifton. "Pregnant women need to know that it will be safe for them to take their prescribed asthma medication during pregnancy."