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A difference between adult and childhood asthma was found in a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (January 2004). The study of 80 subjects with severe asthma found that the presence of inflammatory cells called eosinophils helps determine the differences between asthma patients.This finding adds to the growing data that, instead of a single disease, asthma is a group of syndromes with different origins and biologic characteristics. Such knowledge may lead to better diagnosis and treatment of people with asthma. Lead author Sally Wenzel, MD, said, "We found that patients whose asthma began in childhood were more frequently allergic than those whose asthma began as adults, while adult-onset asthma was associated with more rapid loss of lung function."