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Parental Stress Boosts Kids' Asthma Risk
Date:7/21/2009

When combined with air pollution, smoking, it raises chances of condition, study finds

TUESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- Air pollution from cars can increase a child's chances of developing asthma, but add parental stress and the odds for asthma get even higher, a new study finds.

For children exposed to smoking while still in the womb, another asthma risk, parental stress also increases the risk for asthma, the researchers noted.

"There is an association between air pollution and asthma, and it grows with increasing exposure to stress in the household," said lead researcher Ketan Shankardass, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

"The cause of asthma is still unknown," Shankardass said. "It's a major illness that affects a lot of people all around the world and we still don't really have a handle on what causes it so we can't control it very well. But this finding contributes to our understanding of that causal process."

The report is published in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For the study, Shankardass and his colleagues collected data on 2,497 children in southern California. The children, aged 5 to 9, had no history of asthma or wheeze when the study started. Over three years, the researchers tracked whether or not the children developed asthma.

In addition, the researchers had the parents fill out a questionnaire that measured stress. The questionnaire asked the child's mother about whether she felt in control of her life and whether she felt she was able to handle problems or whether she had problems coping with her life, Shankardass said.

The study authors also collected data on the children's exposure to traffic-related pollution and whether the children were exposed to tobacco smoke befor
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