Pediatric Asthma Research Gets NIH Grant Funding

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded universities about $28 million in grants to study pediatric asthma triggers.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded universities about $28 million in grants to study pediatric asthma triggers.

Thanks to the grants, researchers will be able to develop wearable and non-wearable sensors that track pediatric environmental exposures and physiological signals, activity, or behavior in a natural environment. The researchers will also develop informatics platforms to gather data from the sensors.

NIH hopes the research will lead to new insights on environmental effects on asthma.

The University of Utah is planning to use its grant to create an air quality sensor to place in children’s backpacks, Deseret News reported. This sensor could measure the levels of irritants like aerosol spray, which can help patients figure out the cause of an asthma attack.

“Whatever happens indoors is going to contribute quite a bit to your exposure,” Neal Patwari, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Utah, told Deseret News. “The devices will monitor what’s going on right around you and send the data to information systems so researchers can eventually analyze it. They also may give you immediate feedback so you can take action to limit your exposure.”

The Pediatric Research using Integrated Sensor Monitoring Systems (PRISMS) program announced the following grant winners in September:

PRISMS Data and Software Coordination and Integration Center

University of Southern California, $5.25 million, 4 years

PRISMS Informatics Platform-Federated Integration Platform

University of Utah, $5.53 million, 4 years

The Los Angeles PRISMS Center: The Biomedical REAl-Time Health Evaluation Platform

University of California, Los Angeles, $6.09 million, 4 years

A Wearable Monitor for Pediatric Asthma: Developing Environmental and Breath Sensors Linked to Spirometry

University of California, Davis, $1.45 million, 4 years

Development of the Total Exposure Monitoring Unit for Pediatric Asthma

University of Washington, $1.76 million, 4 years

Ambulatory Sensor Arrays for Real-Life Monitoring of Pediatric Patients with Asthma

George Washington University, $2.02 million, 4 years

Monitoring Particulate, PAH, Allergen and Microbial Exposures in Asthmatic Kids

Columbia University, $1.98 million, 4 years

A Personal Exposure and Response Monitoring System for Pediatric Asthma Study

Arizona State University, $1.96 million, 4 years

A Wearable Asthma Trigger Monitoring System with Integrated Physiological Monitor

University of Maryland Baltimore County, $1.96 million, 4 years

One in 11 children have asthma, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The average annual cost to treat a child with asthma in 2009 was $1039, and the condition led to 10.5 million missed school days in 2008.

Among children, boys are more likely to have asthma than girls. But among adults, the opposite is true.

Black children are 2 times more likely to have asthma as white children, according to the CDC.