Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fall Babies: Born To Wheeze?

Date:
November 24, 2008
Source:
American Thoracic Society
Summary:
It is said that timing is everything and that certainly appears to be true for autumn infants. Children who are born four months before the height of cold and flu season have a greater risk of developing childhood asthma than children born at any other time of year, according to new research.

It is said that timing is everything, and that certainly appears to be true for autumn infants. Children who are born four months before the height of cold and flu season have a greater risk of developing childhood asthma than children born at any other time of year, according to new research.

Related Articles


The study analyzed the birth and medical records of more than 95,000 children and their mothers in Tennessee to determine whether date of birth in relationship to the peak in winter respiratory viruses posed a higher risk for developing early childhood asthma. They found that while having clinically significant bronchiolitis at any age during infancy was associated with an increased risk of childhood asthma, for autumn babies, that risk was the greatest.

"Infant age at the winter virus peak following birth independently predicts asthma development, with the highest risk being for infants born approximately four months prior to the peak, which is represented by birth in the fall months in the Northern hemisphere. Birth during this time conferred a nearly 30 percent increase in odds of developing asthma," said Tina V. Hartert, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine and director of the center for Asthma Research at Vanderbilt University, and principal investigator of the study.

The study demonstrated for the first time that timing of birth in relationship to the peak in winter virus activity independently predicts asthma development.

The researchers propose two non-mutually exclusive possible reasons for the link: One, that there is a genetic susceptibility common to both bronchiolitis and the development of asthma; and two, that an environmental exposure such as winter viral infection causes asthma.

"The risk of progressing from bronchiolitis to asthma is almost certainly influenced by genetic factors," wrote Dr. Hartert. "However, if this association were due only to genetic factors, there would be a seasonal effect on infection but not on asthma…Instead we have shown that there is variation in the risk of developing asthma by the timing of birth in relationship to the winter virus peak for each year studied. This supports a causal relationship of childhood asthma with the winter virus peak after birth."

Unfortunately, predicting the peak of winter virus season is difficult—it can vary by up to ten weeks a year, and Dr. Hartert notes that avoiding winter virus infection would be nearly impossible—70 percent of infants are infected in their first year of life—but that for families whose infants are at high risk for developing asthma, there are a number of ways to reduce the risks associated with birth timing, including avoiding infection through administration of a vaccine or immunoprophylaxis or timing of birth in the spring months. These strategies hold the hope for asthma prevention, however, these interventions first need to be studied.

"Prospective trials with antiviral strategies, including potential new vaccines targeting [respiratory viruses] in selected populations at risk should give us better understanding of the role of viral infections in early life in the causation of childhood asthma," wrote Renato T. Stein, M.D., Ph.D., of the Pontifνcia Universidade Catσlica in Porto Alegre, Brazil in the accompanying editorial.

Currently no effective primary and secondary asthma prevention measures exits, noted Dr. Hastert. "The next critical step is support for studies designed to determine whether prevention of the ubiquitous infections during infancy prevents childhood asthma."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Thoracic Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wu et al. Evidence of a Causal Role of Winter Virus Infection during Infancy in Early Childhood Asthma. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, December 2008; 178 (11): 1123 DOI: 10.1164/rccm.200804-579OC

Cite This Page:

American Thoracic Society. "Fall Babies: Born To Wheeze?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081121080825.htm>.
American Thoracic Society. (2008, November 24). Fall Babies: Born To Wheeze?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081121080825.htm
American Thoracic Society. "Fall Babies: Born To Wheeze?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081121080825.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) — The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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