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Lower Lung Function in Infancy Linked to Wheeze in Adulthood

MONDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Reduced lung function during infancy is linked to wheeze in adulthood, a new long-term study contends.

Early reductions in airway function coupled with smoking later in life are significant factors in the development obstructive respiratory diseases in young adults, found the study published online Feb. 18 in JAMA Pediatrics.

"To our knowledge, this study is the first to report an association between reduced lung function in infancy and wheeze beyond childhood," the authors wrote in a journal news release.

Researchers led by Dr. David Mullane, of University College Cork in Ireland, analyzed the lung function in a group of participants born within a similar time period. The babies were tracked from the ages of 1 month all the way through 18 years.

At 18 years of age, 150 of the participants were examined. Of these, 25 percent had recent wheeze and 13 percent had asthma.

The researchers also divided 143 participants into the following four groups: 13 had persistent wheeze, 19 had late-onset wheeze, 15 had remittent wheeze and 96 had no wheeze. Persistent wheeze was linked to reduced lung function. It was also associated with atopy, or the tendency to develop allergic reactions, during infancy. It was also associated with maternal asthma and smoking.

"Interventions aimed at preventing young children with asthma symptoms and reduced lung function from smoking might prevent persisting symptoms of obstructive airway disease," the study authors concluded.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on asthma.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: JAMA Pediatrics, news release, Feb. 18, 2013

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