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AAAAI: Studies Provide Insight into Origins of Asthma

Viral infections, diesel exhaust, mouse allergens may play a role

FRIDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Rhinovirus infections, diesel exhaust particles, bacterial endotoxin and mouse allergens may all be associated with the development or worsening of asthma symptoms, according to research presented at the 2008 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this month.

D.J. Jackson, M.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues investigated the risk of asthma attributable to early childhood respiratory infections and discovered that wheezing illnesses caused by rhinovirus infections during the first three years of life were strong predictors of asthma at age 6.

In a second study, Patrick Ryan, Ph.D., of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, evaluated children participating in the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study and found that exposure to diesel exhaust particles in infancy increased the risk of developing wheezing at age 3, and that indoor exposure to bacterial endotoxin compounded this risk.

In a third study, Paivi Salo, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and colleagues studied data from the National Survey of Lead and Allergens and found that elevated mouse allergen levels in homes predicted asthma symptoms in allergic individuals. The study "confirms that mouse allergen is an important household allergen and aggravates asthma symptoms among asthma sufferers," comments an AAAAI spokesperson in a statement.

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