University of Iowa researchers say they’re making headway with an experimental procedure that could eventually spell the end of suffering for anyone with asthma. One in five Iowans have some degree of asthma. The linings of our airways are filled with muscles that constrict during an attack, making it hard or almost impossible to breathe. U-of-I internal medicine professor Dr. Geoff McLennan says the treatment is considered somewhat revolutionary, as for the first time, instead of using some sort of medication for asthma, they’re using a physical therapy which is applying heat to the airway wall. Dr. McLennan says the heat heats up the airway wall and partially destroys the smooth muscle in the wall. He says “If that smooth muscle is partially destroyed, it cannot constrict and therefore the asthma should be controlled and may in fact disappear.” McLennan explains the basics of how the procedure works. McLennan says the patient is heavily sedated and they go down into the lung using an endoscope, the heat is applied into the air tubes. He says it’s not something the patient feels and afterwards there’s no pain. Volunteers between ages 18 and 70 are needed who have moderately severe asthma for the experimental therapy. There is no charge for the procedure and patients are compensated for their time. They’ll have to be able to go to Iowa City and will keep diaries of their asthmatic symptoms. For more details, call 866-400-AIR2.
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