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21st April 2017, 12:15pm
Understanding the science of asthma
Understanding the science of asthma A free public lecture will examine the underlying science behind asthma – a condition that affects one in 11 people in the UK and costs the NHS billions of pounds every year but which largely remains a mystery to scientists, doctors and sufferers.

On World Asthma Day – Tuesday 2nd May 2017 – Dr Neil Holden, a scientist specialising in asthma research at the University of Lincoln, UK, will explore The Science of Asthma.

His talk, taking place from 5.30pm on the University’s Brayford Pool Campus, will examine the underlying science behind asthma, particularly focusing on its three common aspects: inflammation, tightening of the airways, and changes to the structure of the lungs.

The Science of Asthma is free to attend but places are limited and should be booked online in advance.

Dr Holden said: “Almost everyone knows someone who suffers from asthma. At least 5.4 million people in the UK receive treatment to try and control the symptoms, yet very few people understand exactly what causes these symptoms. Asthma isn’t just a minor ailment, it can be extremely serious and deaths caused by asthma in Lincolnshire in 2016 were at a 10-year high.”

Based in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln, Dr Holden is carrying out pioneering research that examines the causes of and treatments for asthma. Despite being such a common condition, it is an extremely complicated disease, with individual cases reacting to different triggers and responding differently to medication.

“The research we are doing here at Lincoln aims to better understand the condition, and also how asthma medications work,” Dr Holden explained. “Corticosteroids are one of the main medications used to treat people with asthma. These drugs were approved several decades ago and while we know they are extremely effective anti-inflammatories, we don’t understand all of the mechanisms that make them work.

“My research looks at how asthma medications affect the human immune system, and how these mechanisms change when asthmatics have viral lung infections. If we can understand how asthma medications work, we may in the future be able to replicate this with new treatments, but without some of the negative side effects caused by current drugs.”

Dr Holden previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry for leading research-based biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, before moving into academia and pursuing his research at the University of Lincoln.

His talk will be accessible to all and will explain how members of the public can get involved and contribute to his research.

To book your free place, visit the event website.

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