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How asthmatics can better control their disease

This is Science Today. About 20 million people in this country have asthma and in 2007, the direct and indirect costs of treating the disease were $19.7 billion dollars. Susan Janson, a clinical pulmonary specialist at the University of California, San Francisco found that asthma self-management intervention programs greatly improve disease control and drug adherence.

Janson:           By the end of that intervention period, the intervention asthmatics were nine times better; nine-fold increase in adherence compared to the control. And by the end of this study by six months, even though we did no more teaching, we just watched everybody in the observation period, they were still more than three-fold greater. So, they retained the teaching.

Narrator:        The self-management intervention included individualized instruction on correct use of inhalers and how to reduce allergen exposure. 

Janson:           By focusing on control and trying to keep the asthma under control - giving the patient more independence and more empowerment to manage the disease themselves.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.