Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Birth Order Linked To Asthma Symptoms

Date:
May 11, 2008
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
Among four year-olds attending Head Start programs in New York City, those who had older siblings were more likely to experience respiratory symptoms including an episode of wheezing in the past year than those who were oldest or only children.

Among four year-olds attending Head Start programs in New York City, those who had older siblings were more likely to experience respiratory symptoms including an episode of wheezing in the past year than those who were oldest or only children. Children with at least two older siblings were also 50% more likely than other children to have gone to an emergency department or been hospitalized overnight for breathing problems.

"Our findings support the hypothesis that having older siblings increases a child's risk of exposure to infectious agents before age two years, and in turn increases the child's risk for wheezing," said Matthew Perzanowski, PhD, assistant professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health and the lead author of the paper. "Some studies have found that having older siblings increases the risk of wheeze in babies and toddlers. Our findings are novel in that we found that among the four year-olds in this study, the pattern was the same as has been observed in younger children elsewhere."

The children in the study were selected for participation because they attended Head Start programs in neighborhoods with the highest rates of childhood asthma hospitalization in New York City.

One possible explanation for the association is that children with older siblings have more exposure to respiratory infections at an early age than oldest or only children. Respiratory infections are a common cause of wheezing in very young children. This study shows that children with older siblings may be appropriate targets for interventions to reduce the risk of infections that may lead to hospitalization.

"Previous findings of the opposite association between asthma and birth order among older children and adults have served as the basis for what is called the hygiene hypothesis, the idea that exposure to infectious agents at a very young age reduces the risk of asthma in the long term. Only by continuing to follow these children can we determine whether and how birth order predicts diagnosed asthma and asthma that persists throughout childhood," noted Inge Goldstein, DrPH, a senior lecturer in the Mailman School's Department of Epidemiology and senior author of the study.

"But even if the patterns of association change as the children grow, we have learned from this study that four year-olds with older siblings are more likely than other four year-olds to experience respiratory symptoms that burden them and their families and impose the costs of care on them and the community," commented Judith Jacobson, DrPH, associate professor of clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School and principal investigator of the study, which was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

In this study, the prevalence of recent wheeze was higher among boys than girls (32% vs 21%) and higher among children with an asthmatic parent than other children (53% vs 22%). Having younger siblings, unlike having older siblings, was not associated with respiratory symptoms. The associations of birth order with respiratory symptoms were statistically significant only among those children who were not atopic (allergic) and among those without an asthmatic parent.

These findings from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health were recently pre-published online in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Birth Order Linked To Asthma Symptoms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508164634.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2008, May 11). Birth Order Linked To Asthma Symptoms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508164634.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "Birth Order Linked To Asthma Symptoms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080508164634.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins