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News briefs from the journal Chest, October 2004

MULTIPLE SIBLINGS MAY PROTECT AGAINST ASTHMA

Children with siblings may be less likely to develop asthma than those without siblings, yet genetic and prenatal and postnatal factors may increase a child's risk for asthma. Canadian researchers followed 170,960 newborns to identify factors that may increase physician-diagnosed asthma in children from birth to age six. Of the newborns, 14.1 percent were seen for asthma, with the highest incidence of asthma in the first two years of life. Children of multiple births or those who had siblings had a lower asthma risk than children without siblings. Children born during winter months of January through March also had a lower asthma risk than those born from July through December. Conversely, the likelihood of early childhood asthma increased if newborns were male, were treated by a pediatrician as a primary care provider, lived in an urban area, were born premature, or had low birth weight. Other factors that increased asthma incidence included a maternal or sibling history of asthma, infant exposure to upper or lower respiratory tract infections, and the presence of congenital conditions, including cystic fibrosis and respiratory distress syndrome. The study appears in the October issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

KIDS AND PARENTS NOT ACCURATELY MEASURING ASTHMA MEDICATION

Children with asthma and their parents may be inaccurately assessing medication levels in asthma inhalers, causing misuse of the medication. North Carolina researchers questioned 50 patients or their parents on their understanding of inhaler use and what methods they use to determine the fullness level of their pressurized metered-dose inhaler. Results showed that 78 percent of subjects knew they were supposed to shake the canister before use, yet, only half shook the canister when asked to demonstrate inhaler
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Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
jstawarz@chestnet.org
847-498-8306
American College of Chest Physicians
11-Oct-2004


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