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New device zaps airways to help asthmatics breathe


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People with severe asthma are getting a radically different treatment option: A way to snake a wire inside their lungs and melt off some of the tissue that squeezes their airways shut. Bronchial thermoplasty isn't for everyone, just a subset who wheeze despite today's best medications. It is neither a cure nor without risk. But the Alair system, rolling out this month, offers the first method of physically altering spasm-prone airways. "It does seem to improve your ability to live with your asthma," says Dr. Michael Si lver of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, who is not involved wi...

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