Research: MARK,

Listed in Issue 172


MARK,  Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, 770 Welch Road, Ste 350, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA. review (56 references) nonmedical treatment approaches to asthma in children.


Asthma in children and young adults is a complex disease with many different phenotypic expressions. Diagnosis is often made based on history and lung function including measuring airway reversibility.


However, in children younger than 6 years of age, the diagnosis is more difficult because many children wheeze in the first 4-6 years of life, especially with viral infections. For those children, asthma treatment is often started empirically. Those who go on to develop chronic asthma most likely have a genetic predisposition and exposure to various environmental factors resulting in chronic inflammation of the lower respiratory tract. There are established national guidelines for diagnosing and treating asthma in children and adults.


For persistent asthma, it is recommended that medications be taken on a regular basis after identifying and avoiding environmental triggers. Because many factors play a role in developing asthma in children, many nonmedical approaches to asthma and asthma-like conditions have been promoted even when the diagnosis is at times uncertain. The nonmedical approaches and therapies are often referred to as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This review will discuss the conventional therapies recommended for children with asthma in addition to CAM therapies, some of which have supporting scientific evidence.


Integrating conventional and CAM therapies can prove to be an effective way to treat paediatric asthma, a common and chronic childhood lung disorder. A case is provided to illustrate how such an integrative approach was used in the successful treatment of a child with moderate persistent asthma. [References: 56]


Mark JD. Nutrition in Clinical Practice 24(5): 578-88. Oct-Nov 2009. Pediatric asthma: an integrative approach to care. [Review] [56 refs].

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