Time of day affects test results for asthma, researchers find

December 8, 2017, University of Manchester
Credit: University of Manchester

New research presented today (Friday 8th December) at the British Thoracic Society Winter Meeting shows the human body clock significantly impacts on sample results used to diagnose and treat asthma when taken at different times of the day. This may have implications for how asthma is diagnosed and treated in the future.

Dr Hannah Durrington, Senior Clinical Lecturer at The University of Manchester, who has led the research, funded by Asthma UK, will explain that test results from an patient taken in the morning differ from those taken from the same patient in the afternoon.

Dr Durrington's research team analysed blood, mucus coughed up from the lungs and the breath of ten moderately severe asthmatics and ten healthy volunteers at different times of the day.

The asthmatic volunteers, as researchers had expected, displayed greater narrowing of their airways in the early hours of the morning than in the afternoon and this corresponded with a change in inflammatory cells - or eosinophils, measured in their sputum. Sputum eosinophil levels can be used to guide in severe asthma patients.

The research also showed that sputum eosinophil levels can vary considerably between the morning and afternoon. They were higher in the morning, lower in the afternoon.

The University of Manchester is home to the largest biological timing research community in Europe. Dr Durrington also provides an asthma clinic at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).

Dr Durrington explains:

"These research results are really exciting but at an early stage – our aim was to understand a bit more about how the body clock affects the biochemistry of a person with asthma. We are pleased because our work should help with the accurate diagnosis and treatment of asthma in the future.

"It is really important to stress that this is ongoing scientific work – and no asthma patient should make any adjustment to their treatment regime without consulting their doctor. We are now planning a large randomised clinical trial which we hope in the future will point towards an indication about the optimum time of day for asthma treatments to be taken.

"We feel it may also have important implications on other lung conditions, as well as outside respiratory medicine. It also points towards opportunities for more personalised treatment for in the future. In the same way that measuring glucose levels in diabetes allows adjustment of insulin dosing, we may see asthmatics monitoring their biomarker chemicals during the day, to help inform optimum treatment times."

Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, adds:

"People's body clocks are incredibly powerful. This research, which we are proud to help fund, shows that for the 5.4 million people in the UK who have asthma, the results of an asthma test could differ depending on the time of day the test took place. While this research is at a very early stage, it could have a significant impact on when people with asthma are tested at some stage in the future. We look forward to seeing the results of the next stage of the team's research in this area."

Explore further: Maternal uncontrolled asthma ups risk of asthma in offspring

Related Stories

Maternal uncontrolled asthma ups risk of asthma in offspring

July 17, 2017
(HealthDay)—Children whose mothers have uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy are at increased risk of developing the disease at a young age, according to a study published online July 13 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical ...

New breathing test could help prevent asthma attacks in children

June 28, 2017
Researchers at the University of Aberdeen will study whether using an asthma breathing test can help prevent asthma attacks in children.

Nasal, pharyngeal EPX levels linked to sputum eosinophilia

December 16, 2015
(HealthDay)—For individual patients with poorly-controlled asthma, nasal and pharyngeal eosinophil peroxidase (EPX) levels are strongly associated with the eosinophil percentage of induced sputum, according to a study published ...

Asthma in many adolescents is not an allergic disease

January 13, 2016
New research indicates that asthma in many adolescents is not likely to involve inflammation of the airways and therefore should not be considered an allergic disease.

Study brings hope of a new treatment for asthma sufferers

March 1, 2017
Improved treatments for people with severe asthma are a 'step closer' after a research team led by the University of Leicester identified a breakthrough in the cause of airway narrowing.

New model IDs inflammatory asthma without sputum

January 4, 2017
(HealthDay)—A new prediction model identifies eosinophilic asthma without the need for sputum induction, according to a study published online Dec. 28 in Allergy.

Recommended for you

Nicotine mimics may have therapeutic effect on inflammatory diseases

July 12, 2018
Stanford researchers discovered that a receptor that binds to nicotine and to clusters of beta-amyloid molecules is found on certain types of immune cells that can act as suppressors and regulators of the immune system.

Study shows BPA risk factor for inflammatory bowel disease

July 5, 2018
A recent study in a preclinical model of inflammatory bowel disease shows dietary exposure to bisphenol-A, or BPA, found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, can increase mortality and worsen its symptoms.

Mid- to late-life increases in marker of chronic inflammation tied to dementia

July 2, 2018
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have added to evidence that rising and chronic inflammation as measured by a biomarker in the blood in middle and late age are linked to visible structural changes in the brains of people with ...

Research team diagnoses asthma with nasal brush test

June 11, 2018
Mount Sinai researchers have identified a genetic biomarker of asthma that can be tested for using a simple nasal brush and basic follow-up data analysis. This inexpensive diagnostic test can accurately identify mild to moderate ...

Eosinophilic esophagitis may be due to missing protein

June 7, 2018
Scientists have discovered that the absence of a specific protein in cells lining the esophagus may cause inflammation and tissue damage in people with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). EoE affects as many as 150,000 people ...

Mouse study links triclosan, a common antimicrobial, to colonic inflammation

May 30, 2018
A large research team led by senior author Guodong Zhang at the University of Massachusetts Amherst reports that the antimicrobial ingredient triclosan, found in hand soaps and toothpastes among other products, could have ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.