This volume of "Agents and Actions Supplements" provided a challenge to the editors, the authors and the publisher. It was our aim to complete the book in advance of the lectures to be given at the "International Symposium on Asthma and Allergic Diseases in Childhood", in Berne, Switzerland, on March 25th-27th, 1993. This symposium commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Swiss Association of Parents of Asthmatic and Allergic Children. The incidence of asthma and allergies generally is on the increase and demands everyone's attention, including that of physicians, researchers, allied health professionals and parents. There have been no recent breakthroughs in our understanding of asthma pathogenesis or treatment. However, forms of treatment, pathogenetic insights and public awareness are undergoing rapid changes as our knowledge of atopic diseases increases. For this reason we chose the title "Update on Childhood Asthma". The purpose of the papers is to summarize recent research results, to provide an update on the current approach to therapeutic interventions and to alert readers to the psychosomatic aspects of asthma. Whether the state of knowledge has already changed while you are holding this book in your hands is not so much dependent on a delay in publishing but on the speed of appearance of new research results. Fortunately, our ambitious target to edit the proceedings in advance of the conference has been successful. This was only possible because of the timely submission of papers, the speed of publication and the enthusiasm of the editors.
Etiology of Childhood Asthma.- Consequences of unbalanced protease in the lung: Protease involvement in destruction and local defense mechanisms of the lung.- The "wheezy infant" - Diagnosis, epidemiology and management.- Psychosomatic symptoms in asthmatic children and adolescents.- Pulmonary Function Testing in Childhood.- Assessment of functional abnormalities in infants and children with lung disease.- A new method for assessing flow-volume measurements by means of a simple isoflow electronic pocket device (IfloPen (TM)).- The interruptor technique - A renaissance of a non-invasive approach for lung function testing in infants and children.- The lung clearance index (LCI) as an estimate of ventilation inequalities in patients with cystic fibrosis.- Epidemiology of Childhood Asthma.- Prevalence of childhood asthma: Facts, tendencies and interpretations.- Changing pattern of asthmatic symptoms during childhood - different diseases?.- Immunology and Airway Inflammation in Childhood Asthma.- Airway inflammation, bronchial reactivity and asthma.- A specific feedback by anti-IgE autoantibodies on the cytokine network in allergy.- Immuno-allergologic aspects of childhood asthma.- Prevention and Prophylaxis of Allergies and Asthma.- Mechanisms of airway inflammation which may be amenable to prophylaxis.- The risks and benefits of inhaled antiinflammatory therapy in children.- Treatment of Childhood Asthma.- The beta-2-agonist perplexity: pro and contra sympathometic drugs in childhood asthma.- The use of inhaled steroids in young children.- Comparison of different inhalation scheduls to control childhood asthma.