particularly as no improvement in performance has been demonstrated when using inhaled b2-agonists or anti-inflammatory drugs. In contrast, there is general agreement that the use of inhaled b2-agonists should be limited amongst athletes and not permitted in healthy subjects [9]. From January 1, 2004, the WADA has also restricted the use of inhaled steroids, thereby also limiting the availability of anti-inflammatory treatment. There is concern that overly strict criterion for the diagnosis of asthma, which in clinical practice is a clinical diagnosis, could lead to underdiagnosis and undertreatment of asthma amongst athletes. Recommendations for diagnosis and treatment should be in accordance with general clinical guidelines, such as the Global Initiative for Asthma guidelines. Amongst the aims that the MC-IOC has set up for Sports Medicine, there is the aim that all participants should have equal conditions, and that care should be taken to ensure that sports should not cause any long-lasting harm or disease to the participants [10]. Therefore, asthmatic athletes should receive optimal treatment both symptoma- tically and prophylactically for their asthma. Due to these concerns, the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the European Respiratory Society have established a joint Task Force to outline the problem of asthma and allergy in sports, establish definitions for asthma, EIA and EIB in relation to sports. The primary objective of the present Monograph (written by the Task Force) is to outline the problem of allergy and asthma related to sports, establish diagnostic criteria for the diagnosis of asthma and EIA in relation to sports and, finally, to set up guidelines for the treatment of asthma and EIA and other exercise-related respiratory problems in relation to sports. The diagnostic criteria and treatment guidelines should be set up from recognised evidence-based methods, as given by Harbour and Miller [11], taking into account the quality of the cited studies and assessing existing levels of evidence as the basis for the grading of the recommendations given [11]. It should be remembered that athletes are examples and idols to the children and adolescents in our communities. The proper use of asthma medications, without the danger of being accused of doping, is important for the asthmatic athlete, but it also has an effect upon the general view of asthma treatment in the community. Furthermore, knowledge obtained from studies performed on elite competitive athletes may influence future treatment of asthmatic children and adolescents. References 1. Larsson K, Ohlsen P, Larsson L, Malmberg P, Rydstrom PO, Ulriksen H. High prevalence of asthma in cross country skiers. BMJ 1993 307: 1326–1329. 2. Heir T, Oseid S. Self-reported asthma and exercise-induced asthma symptoms in high-level competetive cross-country skiers. Scand J Med Sci Sports 1994 4: 128–133. 3. Helenius IJ, Tikkanen HO, Haahtela T. Occurrence of exercise induced bronchospasm in elite runners: dependence on atopy and exposure to cold air and pollen. Br J Sports Med 1998 32: 125– 129. 4. Carlsen KH, Oseid S, Odden H, Mellbye E. The response to heavy swimming exercise in children with and without bronchial asthma. In: Oseid S, Carlsen K-H, eds. Children and Exercise XIII. Champaign, IL, USA, Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc., 1989 pp. 351–360. 5. Sue-Chu M, Karjalainen EM, Altraja A, et al. Lymphoid aggregates in endobronchial biopsies from young elite cross-country skiers. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1998 158: 597–601. 6. Dodd SL, Powers SK, Vrabas IS, Criswell D, Stetson S, Hussain R. Effects of clenbuterol on contractile and biochemical properties of skeletal muscle. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1996 28: 669–676. K-H. CARLSEN ET AL. viii
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