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Toddler's Dust Mite Sensitivity May Predict Later Asthma

MONDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Toddlers with a sensitivity to house dust mites have an increased risk of developing asthma by the time they're 12, new research suggests.

The study included 620 Australian children with a family history of allergies who were followed from birth to age 12. The children were given a skin prick test at ages 6 months and 1 and 2 years to check for sensitivity to different allergens and then tested at age 12 for asthma.

Asthma was diagnosed in 75 percent of the children who tested positive for sensitivity to house dust mites when they were infants, compared with 36 percent of those who didn't have a sensitivity to dust mites.

"Our study did not show house dust mite caused asthma but it highlighted a strong correlation between sensitivity and more severe wheeze and asthma," lead author Dr. Caroline Lodge, of the School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne, said in a university news release.

Identifying groups of high-risk children may help researchers learn more about asthma development and find ways to prevent it, she said.

The study was published online this month in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about asthma and children.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Melbourne, news release, Aug. 24, 2011

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