There has been significant progress in the field of cough in the past 10 years. Obstructive sleep apnoea, tonsillar enlargement and environmental fungi have recently been described as causes of chronic cough. The advances in the assessment of gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) have led to a greater understanding of the relationship between cough and GOR and are likely to change the approach to managing patients with GOR-cough. The investigation of the phenotype of patients with idiopathic chronic cough has provided novel insights. Patients with an idiopathic chronic are predominantly female, have an onset of cough around the menopause and have a high prevalence of organ specific autoimmune disease, particularly hypothyroidism. The presence of bronchoalveolar lymphocytosis suggests there is homing of inflammatory cells from primary sites of autoimmune inflammation to the lungs. A heightened cough reflex is a key feature of most patients with chronic cough and has led some investigators to suggest that chronic cough be recognised as a unique entity called Cough Hypersensitivity Syndrome (CHS). A number of subjective and objective tools have been developed recently to assess cough severity. Antitussive drug development is an emerging and exciting area of cough research.
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