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Air pollution primes children for asthma-related cockroach allergy
Date:2/5/2013

hat 279 or 80% of homes tested positive for high levels of cockroach allergen. By age 7, 82 of 264 children tested, or 31%, had cockroach allergy. Presence of higher levels of cockroach allergen led cockroach allergy only in children whose mothers also had been exposed to higher levels of PAH during pregnancy. This result, the authors say, suggests that PAH enhances the immune response to cockroach allergen.

The combined impact of the two exposures was even greater among the 27% of children with a common mutation in the GSTM gene. This mutation is suspected to alter the ability of the body to detoxify PAHs.

The study suggests that minimizing exposure to PAH during pregnancy and to cockroach allergen during early childhood could be helpful in preventing cockroach allergies and asthma in urban children.

"Asthma among many urban populations in the United States continues to rise," says senior author Rachel Miller, MD. "Identifying these complex associations and acting upon them through better medical surveillance and more appropriate public policy may be very important in curtailing this alarming trend."


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Contact: Timothy S. Paul
tp2111@columbia.edu
212-305-2676
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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