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Violence in inner city neighborhoods contributes to trouble with asthma
Date:9/1/2010

(PHILADELPHIA) Patients with asthma who are exposed to violence in their community are at an increased risk for an asthma-related hospitalization and emergency room visits for asthma or any cause, according to new research from the University Of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Exposure to community violence has been linked to more symptoms in pediatric asthma patients; however the new research adds to this finding with a longitudinal study showing a connection in an adult population and more than symptoms - actual emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. The findings are reported in the September 2010 issue of The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

"We know that asthma morbidity is high in low-income inner-city neighborhoods," said lead author Andrea J. Apter, MD, professor of Medicine, chief, Section of Allergy and Immunology, Division of Pulmonary Allergy Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "So it's important for us to understand how poverty affects health, particularly asthma health, so we can find ways of reducing exacerbations."

The prospective cohort study tracked 397 adults living in an inner city community with moderate to severe asthma for six months as part of a large study of asthma management. Participants were interviewed to determine sociodemographics, asthma status, asthma-specific quality of life, depressive symptoms, social support, and exposure to community violence. To define exposure to community violence, patients were asked, "in the past 6 months did you witness any violence in your neighborhood." If they responded "yes," they were asked to indicate all they had witnessed - "a fight in which a weapon was used, a violent argument between neighbors, a gang fight, a sexual assault or rape, a robbery or mugging" or they could write-in another description. They were then seen monthly and reports of hospitalizations and ED visits were obtained as part of data collected
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Contact: Jessica Mikulski
jessica.mikulski@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-8369
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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