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Asthma deaths increasing.

In an analysis of national health data, R. Michael Sly of Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., has found that the death rate from asthma has increased since 1977. While there were 0.8 asthma deaths per 100,000 people in the United States in 1977, this figure rose to 1.4 in 1982 and to an estimated 1.6 in 1984, he reported at the recent International Congress on Allergology and Clinical immunology held in Washington, D.C.

Revisions in asthma definitions may account for some but not all of the increase, Sly says. Paradoxically, the availability of better drugs may have led to a more casual attitude toward severe asthma and thus to less careful treatment by both physicians and patients, he says.

Robert C. Strunk of the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver and co-workers recently found that 21 severely asthmatic children who died were psychologically less well-adjusted to their condition than were other children with the same degree of illness; the nationwide increase in asthma deaths, at least among children, could be due to the same unknown factor that seems to be pushing up the adolescent suicide rate, he hypothesizes.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 4, 1986
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