Letter: Many avenues in asthma research

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From Ms Melinda Letts

Sir: Anyone reading Liz Hunt's article (Magazine: "Wheeze", 14 October) might have mistakenly thought that the number of people dying from asthma is increasing and that much of this is due to the drug treatments they receive. It is not as simple as this. Indeed, there has been a slight downward trend in mortality rates over the last three years.

Hunt's article claimed that asthma research was focusing on pollution and other environmental issues to the exclusion of much else. The media may give pollution a high priority but research projects are far more concerned with the impact of drug therapies. Indeed, the National Asthma Task Force is conducting a major study looking at just the question Hunt says journalists have overlooked.

The debate around beta-agonist treatments is just one of many and highlights how much we still have to learn about asthma. Until we have a cure for asthma, people must work in partnership with their doctors to manage their asthma effectively.

Yours faithfully,

Melinda Letts

Chief Executive

National Asthma Campaign

London, N1