Bitter tasting substances can help with asthma attack on March 09, 2013

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The sudden onset of an asthma attack can be a frightening event. Asthmatics often experience a severe shortness of breath combined with coughing or wheezing and a tightening sensation in their lungs and chest. If you suffer from asthma, there is a chronic state of inflammation in your lungs. When this inflammation is paired with constriction of the airwaves and muscles in the chest, it is important to seek immediate relief, either via a bronchodilator or emergency medical care.
 
When your body experiences one form of inflammation or another, it is typically in response to something your body regards or perceives as foreign or harmful. With sufferers of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the inflammation may appear for seemingly no reason and last for far too long. These unexpected occurrences can be harmful.
 
Additionally, airway constriction, also known as bronchoconstriction, may accompany an onset of inflammation. The combination of bronchoconstriction with an onset of inflammation can further limit your airway function making it just that much harder to breathe.
 
It is bronchoconstriction (and how to mitigate it) that researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) have been researching lately. And their findings may be both surprising and welcome among the asthma and COPD communities.
 
The new study, focusing on the effects of bitter foods on our physiology, was conducted by an interdisciplinary team of scientists from UMMS and was published this week in the open access journal PLOS Biology. The team claims their research represents an important step forward in gaining an understanding of how certain substances that are responsible for making some foods bitter in taste can also play a part in helping to reverse the contraction of airway cells. The reversal of bronchoconstriction is known as bronchodilation.
 
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