Asthma in inner city children: recent insights

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Children living in US inner cities experience disparate burdens of asthma, especially in severity, impairment, exacerbations, and morbidity. Investigations seeking to better understand the factors and mechanisms underlying asthma prevalence, severity, and exacerbation in children living in these communities can lead to interventions that can narrow asthma disparities and potentially benefit all children with asthma. This update will focus on recent (i.e. late 2016–2017) advances in the understanding of asthma in US inner city children.

Recent findings

Studies published in the past year expand understanding of asthma prevalence, severity, exacerbation, and the outcomes of guidelines-based management of these at-risk children, including: asthma phenotypes in US inner city children that are severe and difficult-to-control; key environmental determinants and mechanisms underlying asthma severity and exacerbations (e.g. allergy-mediated exacerbation susceptibility to rhinovirus); the importance of schools as a place for provocative exposures (e.g. mouse allergen, nitrogen dioxide) as well as a place where asthma care and outcomes can be improved; and the development and validation of clinically useful indices for gauging asthma severity and predicting exacerbations.

Summary

These recent studies provide a trove of actionable findings that can improve asthma care and outcomes for these at-risk children.

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