Chronic cough is a debilitating condition that can be experienced by both adults and children. However, habit cough, which is characterized by a dry, nonproductive cough that is absent when asleep, has not been widely recognized in adults until recently.
According to published reviews, over 40% of adults with chronic cough seen at specialty cough centres have no identified cause or effective treatment and are defined as idiopathic or refractory. In contrast, children with chronic cough without a cause generally have a functional cough best known as habit cough. Dr. Weinberger has been working to increase awareness of this disorder among pediatric pulmonary colleagues and believes there is a need to provide physicians and the general public with more information about habit cough.
Dr. Weinberger’s work focuses on a simple behavioral technique known as suggestion therapy, which has been shown to be effective in helping children with habit cough. Recently, Dr. Weinberger reported that 20 adults self-reported experiencing cessation of their chronic cough after viewing a recording of a video teleconference that showed a 12-year-old girl receiving suggestion therapy. All of the 20 adults had a repetitive dry cough throughout the day that was absent once asleep, which are the same clinical characteristics of habit cough reported in children. Dr. Weinberger believes that adults with chronic cough without an identified cause, who have the clinical characteristics of a daily repetitive nonproductive cough that is absent once asleep, should be identified as potentially having habit cough.
While Dr. Weinberger’s work has been focused on habit cough in children, he believes that his findings have important implications for adults with chronic cough. Dr. Weinberger suggests that a sample of adult patients with chronic cough, who have the clinical characteristics of habit cough, should be randomly assigned to suggestion therapy or an appropriate placebo to test the effectiveness of suggestion therapy in adults with habit cough.
In conclusion, Dr. Miles Weinberger work on habit cough has important implications for both children and adults with chronic cough. Dr. Weinberger’s suggestion therapy has been shown to be effective in helping children with habit cough, and his recent findings suggest that adults with habit cough could also benefit from this simple behavioral technique. Increasing awareness of habit cough among physicians and the general public could help to identify more patients with this disorder and improve their quality of life.
About Dr. Miles Weinberger
Dr. Miles Weinberger is a highly accomplished Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa and currently serves as a Visiting Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego, Rady Children’s Hospital. He has been board-certified in Pediatrics, Allergy & Clinical Immunology, and Pediatric Pulmonology. After earning his degree from the University of Pittsburgh, he completed his pediatric training at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Weinberger also spent two years in a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and completed fellowships in Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Clinical Pharmacology at the National Jewish Hospital and University of Colorado.
Dr. Weinberger is known for starting the Pediatric Allergy & Pulmonary Division at the University of Iowa in 1975 and leading it for most of his 40-year tenure there. He has authored over 250 manuscript publications, 45 book chapters and monographs, and a book titled Managing Asthma. Throughout his distinguished career, he has been an invited speaker more than 500 times in the United States and 21 foreign countries.
Dr. Weinberger’s recent work has focused on functional respiratory disease, including functional chronic cough and vocal cord dysfunction. He has published extensively on asthma and its treatment. Overall, Dr. Weinberger’s expertise and contributions have made a substantial impact on the field of pediatric respiratory disease, and his work continues to inspire new research and advancements.
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