Category Archives: Research

Poverty and not Urban Areas may be the reason for higher asthma rates

Asthma rates are essentially identical among black children living in Detroit and rural Georgia, researchers report.

The finding challenges the common belief that living in a city boosts the chances of developing the respiratory condition, the study authors said.

Instead, poverty may be what increases asthma risk, the study results suggested.

“The things these children have in common include high rates of poverty, asthma and being black,” corresponding study author Dr. Dennis Ownby, an allergist-immunologist at the Medical College of Georgia, said in a college news release.

In the study, the investigators analyzed data from nearly 7,300 students at six public high schools in Detroit and more than 2,500 students at four schools in rural Georgia. More than 90 percent of the children in Detroit and 60 percent of the children in rural Georgia are black, the researchers said.

About 15 percent of the students in Detroit had diagnosed asthma and another 8 percent had undiagnosed asthma. The rates were nearly 14 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively, among the students in rural Georgia, the study found.

In both locations, about 74 percent of students qualified for free or reduced-cost lunches and the poverty rate was 23 percent, according to the study published online recently in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Overall, 10 percent of children in the United States have asthma, but the rate among black children is 20 percent, researchers have found.

The study authors said their findings suggest that asthma is a disease of poverty and poor housing, where children are exposed to high levels of asthma triggers such as mold, fungi, cockroaches, mice, dust mites and tobacco smoke.

It’s estimated that 30 percent to 40 percent of asthma risk is genetic and the rest is environmental, the researchers said.

Can drinking from bottled water during pregnancy increase risk of Asthma in the newborn?

According to a new study from Columbia University, exposure in the womb to household chemicals known as phthalates might increase a child’s future risk of developing asthma. Children had nearly an 80 percent increased risk of developing asthma between age 5 and 11 if their mothers were exposed during pregnancy to high levels of two phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), the researchers found. The two phthalates were butylbenzyl phthalate and di-n-butyl phthalate, according to the study.

“The prenatal period tends to be when the child is most vulnerable, and in our study we did see a significant increase in asthma risk with prenatal exposure,” said lead author Robin Whyatt, a professor of environmental health sciences.

Phthalates are a type of chemical used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Phthalates are everywhere. They are in an amazing number of products. You name it, you’re going to find them,” said Dr. Patricia Vuguin, a pediatric endocrinologist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. “That’s why their potential impact is kind of scary.”

There has been other studies which raised concerns about Phthalates. Prior research has linked phthalates to other allergic diseases, such as eczema, according to Vuguin. Other research, including two studies recently presented at the International Federation of Fertility Societies and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting, has found an association between phthalates and reproductive difficulties.

Whyatt suggested that pregnant women avoid storing and microwaving food in recyclable plastic containers. They also should avoid using scented products, which use phthalates to help “stick” the scent to the air freshener or laundry detergent. It is also important to limit drinking from plastic bottle water, specially if left in heat (inside the car in a hot day) to reduce the Phthalate intake.

Mother’s Diet can help prevent some cases of Asthma and Allergies.

U.S. researchers who looked at more than 1,200 mother-child pairs between 1999 and 2002 found that greater intake of peanuts, milk and wheat during early pregnancy was tied to reduced rates of midchildhood allergies and asthma. The findings were published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Analysis of the data found that higher consumption of peanuts by pregnant women in their first trimester was associated with a 47 percent decreased odds of peanut allergic reactions in mid-childhood.

Higher consumption of milk in the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with a 17 percent decrease in chance of mid-childhood asthma.

In the second trimester, higher wheat consumption was associated with a 36 percent decrease in the odds of allergic skin reactions in mid-childhood.

Q: Can Asthma make your child fail in school?

A: “Yes, if it is not well controlled” was the answer found by a new study at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School in Providence, R.I.  Researchers found the more asthma symptoms in a child, the lower his or her quality of schoolwork.  After measuring the children’s asthma severity using spirometry and following their peak flow measurements over time, they found that those who poorly managed the symptoms of asthma had lower grades than children who had their asthma under control.

When it came to sleep, children experiencing bad asthma symptoms couldn’t get enough sleep and their academics consequently suffered.

The frequent struggles with asthma were higher in urban children from low socioeconomic backgrounds primarily because they reside closer to risky environmental pollutants that may contribute to asthma and poor health. Children from these families are also at risk if they don’t visit parks for cleaner air.

The Natural Resources Defense Council found that pollutants such as smog, sulfur dioxide from burning coal, and diesel exhaust could trigger asthma.

The researchers hope that controlling asthma symptoms and gaining better sleep through interventions could significantly improve children’s school performances especially in these populations.

One of the easiest methods to track asthma symptoms and peak flow measurements is by using the FREE AsthmaMD mobile application and sharing your data with your physician for better asthma control and better school performance.

Traffic pollution may increase children’s risk of chronic asthma

BASEL, Switzerland, March 22 (UPI) — Fourteen percent of chronic childhood asthma is due to exposure to traffic pollution near busy roads, researchers in Europe say.

Lead author Dr. Laura Perez of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute said until now, traffic pollution was assumed to only trigger asthma symptoms, but the research did not account for chronic asthma caused by the specific range of toxicants found near heavily used roads.

The researchers used data from existing epidemiological studies which found that children exposed to higher levels of near-road traffic-related pollution also had higher rates of asthma, even when taking into account a range of other relevant factors such as passive smoking or socioeconomic factors.

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, found 14 percent of asthma cases across the 10 European cities could be attributed to near-road traffic pollution.

“Air pollution has previously been seen to trigger symptoms but this is the first time we have estimated the percentage of cases that might not have occurred if Europeans had not been exposed to road traffic pollution,” Perez said in a statement.

AsthmaMD at Health 2.0

Doug Evans, President, PresidioHealth & Sam Pejham, CEO, AsthmaMD

Doug, an ED doc, has been making applications since 2004 for workflow and charge capture for hospital-based physicians. Sam is a pediatrician with an iPhone app that helps parents and kids control asthma. What you’ll see today is a harbinger of Health 2.0’s future; information is shared by the physician with the patient’s AsthmaMD app, and then the patient’s records are reported back to Presidio. It’s cloud computing and API integration, creating healthcare savings and better care for patients.

Check out the video here: