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Using rare diseases as models for biobehavioral research: Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis

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Biobehavioral science explores links between biological, psychosocial, and behavioral factors and health. Maintaining positive health outcomes over time and across a variety of populations and settings requires understanding interactions among biological, behavioral, and social risk factors as well as other variables that influence behavior. Some barriers to biobehavioral research are related to performing biobehavioral research along the natural history of an illness, limitations in existing methodologies to assess the biological impact of behavior, the unknowns relating to impact of behavior on biology, and lack of valid and reliable biobehavioral methods to assess outcomes. A rare disease, such as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) can be used as a model of biobehavioral research. ABPA complicates asthma and cystic fibrosis. It is a hypersensitivity reaction to Aspergillus fumigatus in most cases. ABPA can be classified into five stages: acute, remission, exacerbation, steroid-dependent asthma, and fibrotic or end stage. Because of its rarity, there can be delays in diagnosis. Treatment has used oral corticosteroids and antifungal agents in addition to management of asthma or cystic fibrosis. The National Institute of Nursing Research held an invitational 2-day working group meeting on July 15–16, 2004 with biobehavioral, biological, and immunologic science experts to examine current knowledge of biobehavioral research and to provide recommendations for additional research. The focus was on biobehavioral methods of measurement and analysis with interdisciplinary/biobehavioral approaches. This article is an outcome of this meeting.
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Keywords: ABPA; aspergillosis; biobehavioral; disease model; interdisciplinary; natural history; prevalence; staging; susceptibility; treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Allergy–Immunology, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 2: College of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada 3: Department of Community Health Systems, University of California, San Francisco, California 4: Office of Extramural Programs, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Publication date: 2007-07-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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