Asthma is a chronic lung disorder of enormous public health importance that affects 10 to 12% of the population and disproportionately affects children, minorities, and persons of lower socioeconomic status.
It is the most frequent cause of pediatric emergency room use and hospital admission and is the leading cause of school absences.
The economic costs of asthma are estimated at more than $12 billion/year.
Despite improvements in diagnosis and management, and an increased understanding of the epidemiology, immunology, and biology of the disease, asthma prevalence, morbidity, and mortality have progressively increased over the past 15 years.
In response to the increased prevalence of asthma, NIEHS has developed several research programs. Click on the headings or subheadings below to go to a detailed description of the program.
New methodologies for assessing allergen exposures:
Pathogenesis & Mechanisms:The Respiratory Biology Program
Asthma Genetics:The Environmental Genome Project