Researchers are hopeful of a breakthrough in asthma treatment due to a new discovery made – that lungs do actually have taste buds and can sense taste in much the same way that the tongue can detect it.
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that lungs respond in an unexpected manner to a bitter taste – the airways actually open up in response to the bitter taste it was found.
Dr Stephen Liggett and his colleagues expected that the response to the bitter taste would be that of â€œfight or flightâ€, and that coughing and chest tightness would result from the bitterness.
However, to their surprise it was found that the bitterness actually acted in the opposite way, and ended up opening the airways more effectively than â€œany known drug that we have for treatment of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.â€
Quinine and chloroquinine (anti malarial drugs) were used in conjunction with saccharine which also has a bitter aftertaste, in the study. Researchers are hopeful that appropriate drugs with requisite modifications may be aerosolized and inhaled into the lungs by way of an inhaler to offer a unique and hitherto unavailable asthma solution.