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The exercise conundrum

UC Irvine Health
The Pediatric Exercise and Genomics Research Center helps children like Olivia Perales gain the stamina to fulfill her dream of being a school cheerleader.

Does exercise prevent or trigger asthma attacks in children and teens?

Scientists with the UC Irvine Health Pediatric Exercise and Genomic Research Center (PERC) are trying to solve one of the great paradoxes of pediatric medicine.

Children with asthma who are physically fit have better controlled asthma than those who are not. Yet, most children with asthma will, at some point, experience a wheezing episode that seems to be triggered by exercise.

What is it about physical activity that it can both cause and protect against asthmatic episodes?

PERC has established the Fitness for Asthmatic Children and Teens (FACT) program to explore answers to this question.

FACT is a state-of-the-art research study that delves into this question at the cellular level. We are observing how the immune system responds to exercise with changes in gene expression. We are then targeting those changes that are unique to asthmatics. The knowledge will help us develop therapies that can prevent asthmatic attacks in children, allowing them to engage fully in physical activity.

View a video to see how the FACT program is giving Olivia more options for her life ›