Scientists have staggered on a prospective new treatment for delayed asthma attacks which can arise several hours after exposure to allergens. A team from Imperial College London found that blocking sensory nerve functions stopped a late asthmatic response in mice and rats. Around half of people with asthma experience delayed symptoms. The aid Asthma says the research could help the understanding of asthma.
Researchers say the late asthmatic response happens because the allergen generates sensory nerves in the airways. These nerves then set off a chain reaction which causes the release of neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which causes the airways to narrow. If these findings translate to humans, it will mean that drugs called anticholinergics which block acetylcholine could be used to treat asthma patients who suffer from delayed attacks.
These attacks can often happen at night, three to eight hours after the sufferer comes into contact with grass pollen or house dust mites and etc. At present, steroids are the main treatments for asthma but they are not effective for all patients.