Caffeine In Asthma

Caffeine is similar to theophylline, which can be used to treat asthma through bronchodilation from smooth muscle relaxation and a reduction in airway responsiveness.

A Cochrane review found that caffeine improves lung function in people with asthma, up to 4 hours.


  1. Welsh EJ, Bara A, Barley E, Cates CJ. Caffeine for asthma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001112. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001112.pub2
  2. DrugBank. (2005). Theophylline. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Apr. 2018].

Podcast 018: Respiratory Medicine With Dr Lucy Morgan

We all crave love, but first we require oxygen. Lungs are such needy things!

In this episode, Dr Lucy talks about respiratory medicine, pub rock and marriage.


About the guest speaker

Dr Lucy Morgan is a staff specialist physician in respiratory medicine. She maintains links to The University Of Sydney and Concord Repatriation General Hospital, where she works as an Associate Professor.

Music credits

Opening and closing themes by Lily Chen.

Podcast 017: Medical Research With Julia Chapman

Fake medicine is based on hogwash and wizardry, while real medicine is based on evidence and clinical trials.

Without the guidance of data, patient management is in confusion! No one really knows what to do! That makes medical research integral to accurate diagnosis and treatment.

In this episode, Julia talks about life as a medical researcher, how research applies to medical doctors and the challenges that research involves.


About the guest speaker

Julia Chapman has worked at the Woolcock Institute since 2008 across a range of industry sponsored and investigator driven sleep and respiratory clinical trials. She recently completed her PhD which focussed on the treatment of daytime sleepiness in OSA with wakefulness promoters modafinil and armodafinil, including the longest randomised controlled trial of either of these drugs in OSA.

Julia left school thinking that she would one day be a professor of languages, but after studying pharmacology at the University of Sydney, she found that science was her passion. For her initial PhD work on the use of modafinil in mild-moderate OSA patients not using other treatments, she was awarded the Australasian Sleep Association’s New Investigator Award in 2013. She was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship from NeuroSleep under the supervision of A/Prof Nat Marshall and Prof Ron Grunstein, who together are part of a team planning to establish a Sleep Clinical Research Network in Sydney and surrounding areas. She is now working on establishing research into the combined effects of shift work and OSA, as well as research in insomnia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Music credits

Opening and closing themes by Lily Chen.


Croup is formally titled acute laryngotracheobronchitis, but that’s a less catchy name.

It’s a viral upper respiratory tract infection that affects the larynx and trachea. It primarily occurs in children under 5 years old.


Croup attacks kids, so the acronym for symptoms must be in the appropriate theme.


  • Coryzal prodrome
  • Hoarse voice
  • Inspiratory stridor
  • Like a barking seal cough
  • Difficulty breathing


  • Single-dose corticosteroids of any of the following:
    • Dexamethasone orally
    • Prednis(ol)one orally
    • Nebulised budesonide


  • Single-dose nebulised adrenaline if severe
    • Repeat after 30 minutes if no improvement
    • Observe for 4 hours after administration
    • ICU review if ineffective


  1. Croup. In: eTG complete [Internet]. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Limited (eTG November 2017 edition); 2017 Nov.

Dornase Alfa

Dornase alfa is a mucolytic medication used in the treatment of cystic fibrosis. By cutting apart extracellular DNA, it makes mucus thinner.


  1. Genentech. (2018). How Pulmozyme works. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jan. 2018].
  2. Yang, C., Chilvers, M., Montgomery, M., & Nolan, S. J. (2016). Dornase alfa for cystic fibrosis. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 4, CD001127.

Transudate Versus Exudate

Both are fluids that can occur in the body during inflammation or changes in liquid-solid (oncotic-hydrostatic) pressures.

Memory aids

Transudate is transparent, because it is clear and has a low protein content. It comes from a deranged balance of oncotic-hydrostatic pressures. As a generalisation, think systemic disease.

Exudate involves extruded proteins. It has a comparatively high protein content. As a generalisation, think local inflammation or malignancy.

Pleural effusions

A pleural effusion can involve transudate or exudate. Light’s Criteria is used to determine which is the case.


  1. Exeter Clinical Laboratory. Blood Sciences Test / Transudate or Exudate. Retrieved 19 March 2017, from
  2. Life in the Fast Lane Medical Blog. Pleural Fluid Analysis. Retrieved 19 March 2017, from
  3. American Family Physician. (2006). Diagnostic Approach to Pleural Effusion in Adults. Retrieved 19 March 2017, from