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Asthma Pioneer

The quest to finding out who an asthma pioneer is not an easy feet. I  was recently was thinking about who discovered asthma and how did we get where we are in 2018. Before my diagnosis, I knew very little about asthma, other than a few of my friends had it, I actually had a very good friend growing up who had super severe asthma and while we were close, all I really knew was that she was in the hospital often and  took funny looking inhalers. As kids and teens, we had very few conversations about her asthma. She was simply sick a lot. What I now know is that there are so many elements to her asthma and I wish we had those conversations. We have not stayed in touch much as adults and I had heard in university she may have had a potentially fatal attack.

Who are “Asthma Pioneers”

I have been told that there are Asthma Pioneers” who have been in the respiratory center that I am part of. Webster dictionary defines pioneers as: “a person or group that originates or helps open up a new line of thought or activity or a new method or technical development.”4 I have also heard this in a few lectures that I have listened to, yes, I am the ultimate asthma nerd who sometimes watches lectures in asthma . Interestingly, googling Asthma Pioneers does not produce a lot of results. Some results for new medication or alternative treatment and then I saw the name of Dr. Freddy Hargreave. Bingo! I found a pioneer and I knew the name, I had seen him walk the halls of my clinic. I am not sure if I have ever said more than hello and I mostly recognized him because he wore sandals, shorts, and tall socks even in the Canadian winter. He certainly had legendary status around the clinic for his brilliant work but also because he truly and deeply cared for his patients from what I can gather. In gathering more information about him, I thought I would share some fun facts.

He was part of the development of the methacholine challenge, a gold standard for determining airway hyperresponsiveness and asthma.1, 3 He was part of the development of a methodology for sputum induction and the measurement of inflammatory cells in asthma.2 This led to the identification of – persistent eosinophilic airway inflammation in the absence of asthma. He trained some of the world leading asthma specialists, some of them are leading researchers in 20 countries. He was highly regarded by his patients.

Who are the asthma pioneers that you admire or what to know more about?

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  1. O’Byrne, P., & Nair, P. (2011). Frederick E Hargreave. Canadian Respiratory Journal : Journal of the Canadian Thoracic Society, 18(4), 193.
  2. Juniper  EF, Frith  PA, Hargreave  FE Airway responsiveness to histamine and methacholine: relationship to minimum treatment to control symptoms of asthma. Thorax 1981;36:575–9. Citation classic  paper , that provide that treatment and   airway hyppereactivity Clin Allergy. 1977 May;7(3):235-43.
  3. Bronchial reactivity to inhaled histamine: a method and clinical survey.Cockcroft DW, Killian DN, Mellon JJ, Hargreave FE.