Jan. 14, 1998 Children 9 months-2 years old with a high risk of developing asthma will be part of a $1.85 million five-year study at National Jewish Medical and Research Center to assess if regular home visits by nurses help stem the development of asthma. The research is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health.
"The goal is to determine if an intensive intervention using nurse home visits can reduce asthma prevalence or symptoms among children from low-income households who begin wheezing in infancy," says Mary Klinnert, Ph.D., a National Jewish researcher and principal investigator of the study.
The study will be divided between minority and Caucasian children of low-income families, who may have a high risk of developing chronic childhood asthma. Children younger than 2 years old are considered high risk if they have had three or more illnesses with wheezing. They are at even higher risk if they have a family history of asthma or if they have allergies. Among children, asthma and allergies often occur together.
Families participating in the study will be randomly divided into two groups. The "environmental support group" will be assigned a home nurse who will work with parents for one year to target allergens in the home, including pets and tobacco smoke. The nurses also will look at quality of care as it relates to asthma prevention and management. The "information group" will receive tips about preventing asthma, including an educational video and details about the levels of allergens in the home.
Children in both groups will be followed until they are 4 years old. Researchers also hope to find out what effect nurse visits have on the children’s lung health at age 4; if nurse visits decrease asthma-related doctor visits, such as hospitalizations, emergency room and urgent care visits; the characteristics of families who are successful in the program; and if a child’s behavior is improved through the nurse visits.
In Colorado, 67,000 children have asthma. Asthma, among chronic conditions, is the number one cause of school absences in the United States. Asthma costs the United States $6.2 billion each year in lost time at work or school, and hospital and doctor office visits.
Families interested in enrolling in the study should call, 398-1006; those enrolled in the study must live in the Denver metro area.
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