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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Good Ventilation May Help Asthmatics

Published December 16, 2009 9:50 AM by Vern Enge
Working home ventilation systems that dehumidify air while circulating it may help asthmatics sleep better at night, according to research reported from the United Kingdom.

Beginning with a theory that dehumidified air would lower concentrations of dust mites, which trigger asthma symptoms, Neil C. Thomson, MD, and colleagues from the University of Glasgow, measured the breathing patterns of a small group of asthmatics, 119 volunteers in all.

Homes of participants were retrofitted with humidity-lowering ventilation systems. In addition carpets were steam cleaned and mattress covers and bedding were replaced to eliminate dust mites.

Half of the homes used ventilation systems that actively exchanged indoor and outdoor air. The other half did not have operating circulation fans.

As the study progressed, researchers discovered no differences in dust mite concentrations between the homes with circulating air and those without.

Additional morning breathing tests every quarter showed there were no differences among the participants.

However, evening breathing tests were much improved in those living in the homes with circulating air; those living in homes with stagnant air showed a worsened breathing system.

Differences were attributed to partially reduced humidity in homes with circulating air. But it is also possible the differences were the result of the overall improved air quality in the homes with the circulating air, Thomson noted in an email to Reuters Health.



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