Physicians often recommend that asthma sufferers get rid of their pets. But allergist Thomas Platts-Mills (University of Virginia) thinks in some cases that’s not what the doctor should order. A recent study by Platts-Mills suggests that exposure to cats reduced some children’s likelihood of developing asthma. Pulmonary specialist Benjamin Gaston (University of Virginia) discovered last year that the breath of asthmatics becomes thousands of times more acidic when they’re having an attack. Gaston hopes that the finding could help researchers better understand the causes of asthma.

Also featured: Anesthesiologist Bruce Speiss (Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University) considers the implications of the recent development of synthetic blood.

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