Teenagers driving trial of mobile-based asthma support

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Southampton’s Breathing Retraining for Asthma Trial of Home Exercises for Teenagers (BREATHE4T) study is assessing the use of an online tool to help teenagers better manage their asthma.

Southampton teenagers with asthma are collaborating with researchers to build a mobile-ready website aimed at giving others like them access to breathing ‘retraining’ exercises they can do anywhere to improve symptoms and quality of life. 

Asthma care

Asthma affects people of all ages, causing breathing difficulties including potentially life-threatening ‘asthma attacks’ (sudden worsening of symptoms).

The UK has one of the highest rates of asthma in Europe, with 5.4 million people currently receiving treatment; 1.1 million of whom are children and teenagers.

There is no cure for asthma, and while research has given us new treatment options and exercises for managing symptoms, making sure asthmatics are aware of these and able to take advantage of them remains a challenge – particularly amongst teenagers.

To tackle this, the BREATHE4T study aims to create a mobile-friendly website carrying information on how breathing retraining exercises help and how they can be built into daily life.

Developed by GPs, physiotherapists, psychologists and patients, the exercises have already shown strong benefits for adults when provided in DVD format – BREATHE4T aims to translate this into an online format tailored to teenage audiences.

For teenagers, with teenagers

Already 24 teenagers and parents are working with the study team to tailor the length and nature of the breathing retraining exercises for their peers, and a panel of teenagers and parents are helping design the website to be engaging and accessible for 12-17 year olds.

This development stage is planned to run until 30 July 2020, with the team keen to hear from anyone who’d like to be part of the project. The aim is to then take the website into a trial involving 300-400 teenagers to assess the effects on their symptoms and quality of life.

Get involved

If you’d like to get involved in the study, please contact Stephanie Easton at S.E.Easton@soton.ac.uk.

Posted on Friday 7 February 2020