Babies born during pollen seasons more likely to wheezeFebruary 26th, 2009 - 4:58 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Feb 26 (IANS) Newborns born during the high pollen and mould seasons, linked with the presence of allergens, are more likely to develop early symptoms of asthma, suggests a new study.
University of California, Berkeley (UC-B) researchers found that such children born in the high mould season, coinciding with the last quarter of the year, have three times the odds of developing wheezing, often an early sign of asthma, compared with those born at other times of the year.
The study may help shed light on why such babies appear to have a higher risk of eventually developing asthma than children born in the summer.
A 2008 study of birth and medical records found that babies born in autumn are at greater risk of later developing childhood asthma. That study suggested an influence from early exposure to respiratory viruses, which is more common during the peak of cold and flu season.
“In our study, we took a different tack to understand the link between month of birth and asthma by considering ambient concentrations of fungal spores and pollen, which follow distinct seasonal patterns,” said Kim Harley, associate director at UC-B Centre for Children’s Environmental Health Research and co-author of the study.
The researchers examined 514 children born in 1999 and 2000 in California’s Salinas Valley, a region with mild, rainy winters and dry summers.
They identified 27 spore and 48 pollen groups in the study, recording the average daily concentrations for the groups that accounted for more than three percent of the total during the first three months of life for each child in the study.
The researchers found that babies born in autumn and winter have triple the odds of developing early wheezing, often a precursor to asthma, by 24 months of age, said an UC-B release.
The results were reported online in Thorax.