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Breathing Easier

University of Missouri-Kansas City research has allowed 27-year-old David Pamperin to live life more freely.

Asthma is part of Pamperin’s everyday routine. Inhalers are his constant companion — attacks tend to occur every other day — and cost him hundreds of dollars every few months. So earlier this year when he read an ad for a medicine-free asthma research trial at UMKC, he signed right up.

“I guess you’d call me a severe case,” the FedEx delivery driver said. He’s missed work when his wheezing became unbearable, and has landed in the emergency room. “You really can’t do anything else when you have to concentrate on breathing.”

Asthma is a common lung disease that makes breathing difficult for millions of Americans, both young and old. In 2011, it was estimated that 25.9 million Americans had asthma, including 7.1 million children.

Pamperin made four months of weekly visits to UMKC, one of 18 American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Centers in the U.S. Jackson County has high rates of asthma nationwide, leading to increased medication use and hospitalizations. Jackson County has one of the highest rates of asthma-related emergency room visits among children under 15 years old in Missouri, with preschool children, ages 1 to 4, significantly exceeding the overall state rates.