Asthma Allergy Centre Research Group
Asthma Allergy Centre Research Group is actively engaged in clinical research involving areas
such as asthma, chronic sinus problems, and back flow of nasal secretion into tear ducts during
In recent years we have made several important discoveries.
We and our colleagues at Kaiser Permanente have discovered one kind of asthma that was
previously unknown. In some asthmatic patients, the asthma usually started with a cold or sinus
infection, and the asthma episodes, which can be mild or very severe requiring hospitalizations,
lasted for a few months to many years. The asthma then gradually became milder and finally
recovered. However, after an asthma-free period of a few months to several years, another
prolonged episode occurred again following another cold or sinus infection. The research results
were published in a medical journal CHEST.
We and our colleagues at Kaiser Permanente also have investigated the accuracy of the
diagnosis of asthma. In a group of patients who were referred to us for the diagnosis and
management of their difficult to control asthma symptoms, we found that 20% of them did not
have asthma. So, many diseases can mimic asthma and present to us with diagnostic and
management difficulty. The research results were presented at the Annual Meeting of the
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and appeared in the Journal of Allergy
and Clinical Immunology.
In March 2006, we presented a research result that was previously unknown at the Annual
Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at Miami Beach, Florida.
We found that the tear duct is not a one-way duct just to drain tears into nose, as it has always
been assumed. We discovered that in over 50% of subjects, the fluorescent eye solution that
was instilled into their nose appeared in the eyes when the nose was blown. The research found
that there is a back flow of nasal secretion into eyes through tear ducts when a person blows
his or her nose. The research results also appeared in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
In clinical practice, we have "cured" many patients' chronic or recurrent red, itchy eyes,
particularly with crusty eyelashes at arising when they stopped blowing their nose. They were
asked not to blow nose, instead sniff backward. Nasal snot may also be removed with buffer
In March 2008, we reported two research papers at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma
and Immunology Annual Meeting of the advance for the medical treatment of chronic sinus
problem. We utilized topical nasal decongestant, such as Afrin, 2 times a day for several
months. This would make sinus openings stay opened all the time similar to sinus surgery. We
use nasal steroids along with the topical nasal decongestant to prevent to often feared
"rebound" effects of topical nasal decongestants. With added buffered salty saline nasal
irrigation and low dose "macrolide" (like azithromycin) along with the topical nasal
decongestant/nasal steroids. With in an average of 4 months, we are able to heal the sinus
symptoms in about 50% of patients, and another 38% became very mild, with only minor thin
mucus drainage remains.
The major feature of chronic sinus problem is the inflammation of the linings of the sinuses,
not "pus pocket" as it was thought many years ago.
The low dose "macrolide" has anti-inflammatory effects on sinus linings, which helps nasal
steroids and the salty buffered saline irrigation help the sinuses to ventilate and heal.
We also found that about 7.5% of the patients with chronic sinus problem have immunity
defects. The immunity defects contributed to the treatment failure and the recurrence of
chronic sinus problem once it was heal.