Taking the Bite out of COPD
By Jack Lucentini

In dry medical jargon, it's called an exacerbation. For the patients, it's a frightening, wrenching assault on the body that some liken to drowning. It happens to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, and consists of a rapid or sudden worsening of the condition's symptoms: shortness of breath, cough, and mucus buildup. Gerard Criner, professor of medicine of Temple University School of Medicine, has an idea to ease the burden - not through any new treatments as such, but by means of handheld computers or cell phones.

An exacerbation is "the equivalent of a heart attack for people who have COPD," Criner says. Most patients, however, fail to call their doctors as signs...

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