UW Researchers Discover Strong Predictor for Asthma

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sick child; UW Researchers Discover Strong Predictor for AsthmaMADISON- Colds in kids ages three and under may be more than just an annoyance.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health have found that wheezing illnesses caused by rhinovirus in the first three years of life are the strongest, single predictor of asthma that develops at age six. Rhinovirus is the most common cause of colds in children.

The findings were presented by researchers at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) in Philadelphia.

A team led by Robert Lemanske, MD confirmed that wheezing with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is associated with increased risk of developing asthma later in childhood. Despite that finding, children who wheeze early in life don't necessarily develop asthma.
As part of the study of children in the longitudinal Childhood Origins of Asthma (COAST) study, the researchers also discovered the strongest predictor of asthma by age six is wheezing with colds during the first three years of life. This is the first time that the connection between rhinovirus in infants and toddlers is directly linked to asthma development by age six.

As part of COAST, the researchers used data from 259 children who have been followed from birth to six years.

COAST participants were also tracked for another study presented by a UW researcher at the AAAAI annual meeting.

Theresa Guilbert, MD presented results of her study of asthma control and increased use of health care resources. Guilbert's research team found that patients whose asthma was not well controlled had a four times greater risk for doctor office visits and four-and-a-half times more risk for emergency room visits.

Guilbert says subsequent studies may find that monitoring asthma control could lead to reduced reliance on health care resources.

The AAAAI has more than 6500 members in the U.S., Canada and 60 other countries.

More information can be found at Childhood Asthma Research  or www.aaai.org.

Date published: 03/17/2008

Date Published: 03/24/2008

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