Respiratory diseases are acquiring more and more the connotation of social diseases both for their high epidemiological impact and for their increasing pharmaceutical and economic costs. In particular, bronchial asthma has been showing a steady rate of increase and it appears increasingly important also to assess its effects on the quality of the life of both the patients and their relatives. In particular, one aspect that is emerging more and more clearly is the relationship between diseases of the upper respiratory tract and bronchial asthma. In fact, a number of studies have provided clear evidence of how an inflammatory and/or infectious disease of the upper airways can have a negative influence on the symptomatology, respiratory function and hyperreactivity in asthmatic patients. On the other hand, it has also been shown that adequate treatment of these diseases has a significant effect on the progress of asthmatic pathologies. It therefore appears fundamental to have a correct and clear picture of the situation of the upper airways in all asthmatic patients. Clearly, this concept presupposes a close collaboration among different areas of specialization that have to relate to one another and compare notes. The conference entitled "Upper and lower airway relationships" that will be held in Genoa on September 24-25, 1999, will undoubtedly provide a fundamental opportunity for the construction of a multi-disciplinary opinion movement designed to foster greater consideration of these important physio-pathological relationships. The presence of the greatest international experts on the subject will make it possible to achieve more profound knowledge and will also provide a useful update for the specialists in the discipline.
Prof. Giorgio Walter Canonica President of the Meeting