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Deep Brain Stimulation Treatments for Asthma?

Asthma research is ongoing, with scientists and doctors looking for new treatments that might improve lung function for asthma patients. Drug-free options would be wonderful for most asthma patients. One recent study took a look at Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and lung function. This is interesting, as some regions in our brain work to keep our breathing and heart beats regular and stable. The DBS research on lung function actually had some promising results.

What is Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)?
DBS is a surgical procedure that involves placing a “brain pacemaker” into the brain. The “brain pacemaker” sends out electrical impulses directly to specific parts of the brain. This procedure is sometimes used for patients who have chronic pain, Parkinson’s, and major depression.

DBS and Lung Function Research
In a study, recently published in the journal Neurosurgery, scientists studied 37 patients who had already had DBS implanted for other conditions. Each of these patients took spirometry tests. Patients were tested randomly: 3 times with DBS turned on, and 3 times with DBS turned off. The results were actually promising. The scientists found when the periaqueductal gray matter (PAG) and the subthalamic nucleus were stimulated, the patients’ peak flow increased by up to 14 percent. When speaking of a peak flow improving by 14 percent, that’s quite a big change for the better. Scientists then tried stimulating other areas of the brain, but found this was no successful in raising the patients’ lung function.

Further studies are needed in order to determine if DBS could produce better lung function improvement, and if this treatment would be safe for asthmatics. One note, DBS is reversible; that is, no permanent changes are made to the brain during the time the “brain pacemaker” is working. Once the DBS is removed, the brain goes back to its natural state.

Helping Asthma Research
Promising research, such as this DBS study, is going on all the time. However, money is needed for continued research to find new treatments for asthma. A big part of research money comes from people like you and I, who make donations to asthma charities such as these:

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
American Lung Association
National Jewish Health

I have no affiliation with these organizations, though I have personally benefited from the asthma program at National Jewish. These organizations accept donations on their websites where you can even support specific programs. Each of these organizations also offers help and advice on estate planning and charitable gift annuities. Along with asthma research, these organizations support education and more. You can make donations from $1 on up. Please consider making a donation for asthma research. Your donation will not only help others, but it might just save your own life or the life of a loved one.

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This content was written by Sherry Vacik. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Sherry Vacik for details.

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