New test developed in Sheffield could save lives

Harvey Hewat, 9, who is treated at The Children's Hospital for asthma.
Harvey Hewat, 9, who is treated at The Children's Hospital for asthma.
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Researchers from Sheffield Children’s Hospital have created a new test for a potentially life-threatening condition.

People with a variety of conditions - including asthma, atrhritis and cancer - are set to benefit from the adrenal suppression research.

Adrenal suppression is caused when prescribed steroids inhibit the body’s ability to naturally produce the steroid hormone cortisol, which during times of illness and stress can be fatal.

The study, led by Dr Charlotte Elder and Dr Neil Wright from the hospital sought to work towards finding an effective way to test children for the condition.

Thanks to two grants from The Children’s Hospital Charity totalling £102,000, the team was able to test a nasal spray which stimulates a response to a synthetic hormone.

Dr Elder said: “The previous test is expensive, time-consuming and unpleasant for the patient. With further work, we hope that children and adults will have a simpler, non-invasive test they may even be able to perform at their GP’s or home.

“We can establish which children are at risk of adrenal suppression, which can reduce the worry for some, while allowing us to target and help those who need extra monitoring.”