HealthDay News — Nighttime coughing, measured via a smartphone app, may indicate worse asthma control, according to a study presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2020, to be held virtually from Sept. 7 to 9.

Frank Rassouli, P.D. Dr.Med., from Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen in Switzerland, and colleagues developed machine learning models for nocturnal cough detection. Ninety-four patients were recruited from two centers, with a study duration of 29 days per patient. In-person appointments occurred on the first and last study days, and patient-reported outcomes and nocturnal sensor data were collected by smartphone in between. A weekly Asthma Control Test (ACT) was used to assess asthma control.

The researchers observed an association between weekly aggregated measurements of nocturnal cough and asthma control of the same and the subsequent week in the mixed-effect model. An increase of 100 coughs per week was associated with a 0.56-point and 0.25-point decrease in ACT for the same week and the following week, respectively.

“Our results suggest that nighttime coughing can be measured fairly simply with a smartphone app and that an increase in coughing at night is an indicator that asthma is deteriorating,” Rassouli said in a statement. “Monitoring asthma is really important because if we can spot early signs that it’s getting worse, we can adjust medication to prevent asthma attacks.”


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