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Stomach bug appears to protect kids from asthma, says NYU study
Date:7/14/2008

NEW YORK, July 15, 2008 A long-time microbial inhabitant of the human stomach may protect children from developing asthma, according to a new study among more than 7,000 subjects led by NYU Langone Medical Center researchers. Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that has co-existed with humans for at least 50,000 years, may lead to peptic ulcers and stomach cancer. Yet, kids between the ages of 3 and 13 are nearly 59 percent less likely to have asthma if they carry the bug, the researchers report. The study appears in the July 15, 2008, online issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

"Our findings suggest that absence of H. pylori may be one explanation for the increased risk of childhood asthma," says Yu Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at New York University School of Medicine and a co-author of the study. "Among teens and children ages 3 to 19 years, carriers of H. pylori were 25 percent less likely to have asthma."

The impact was even more potent among children ages 3 to 13: they were 59 percent less likely to have asthma if they carried the bacterium, the researchers report. H. pylori carriers in teens and children were also 40 percent less likely to have hay fever and associated allergies such as eczema or rash.

These results, which follow on from similar findings in adults published by the same authors last year, are based on an analysis of data gathered from 7,412 participants in the fourth National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES IV) conducted from 1999 to 2000 by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Dr. Chen collaborated on the survey with Martin J. Blaser, M.D., the Frederick H. King Professor of Internal Medicine, chair of the department of medicine, and professor of microbiology at NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Blaser has studied H. pylori for more than two decades.

Asthma has been rising steadily for the past half-centu
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Contact: Lorinda Klein
Lorindaann.Klein@nyumc.org
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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