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Mothers' stress may increase children's asthma
Date:1/15/2008

Children whose mothers are chronically stressed during their early years have a higher asthma rate than their peers, regardless of their income, gender or other known asthma risk factors.

It is increasingly clear that traditional environmental risk factors do not fully explain the origins of asthma, said lead investigator, Anita Kozyrskyj, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba, Canada. Evidence is emerging that exposure to maternal distress in early life plays a causal role in the development of childhood asthma. In a cohort of children born in 1995, we found that maternal distress which persists beyond the postpartum period is associated with an increased risk of asthma at school-age.

The findings appeared in the second issue for January of the American Journal or Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

Dr. Kozyrskyj and her colleagues analyzed the medical records of nearly 14,000 children born in Manitoba in 1995 who were continuously registered with Manitoba Health Services until 2003. They determined whether the children had current asthma at age seven by analyzing records of doctor visits, hospitalizations and medications in the year of the childs seventh birthday, and related it to maternal distress as defined by doctor visits, hospitalizations and medication for depression and anxiety. Maternal distress was categorized according to onset and duration into four categories: no distress, postpartum distress only, short-term distress and long-term distress.

Unlike existing studies that have measured maternal stress during the first few years only, the longitudinal nature of our health care study enabled us to characterize maternal distress over time to identify whether it continued, said Dr. Kozyrskyj.

Even after controlling for the known risk factors of male gender, maternal asthma, urban location and total health care visi
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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