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Cats, Ragweed Exposures Up Airway Hyperresponsiveness

Airway hyperresponsiveness linked to specific aeroallergen sensitivities in at-risk children

MONDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- At-risk children exposed to cat, dust mite, cockroach and ragweed have a greater chance of lung airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), according to a report in the June issue of Chest.

Elizabeth C. TePas, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues tested 131 Boston-area children with a median age of 7 years and elevated atopy risk due to parental asthma or allergies for sensitivity to inhaled allergens. Dust from the children's homes and repeated questionnaires were analyzed. Between ages 6 and 9, the children took skin tests for reactions to methacholine and various airborne allergens.

The researchers found that more than half of the children (67) exhibited at least one skin test reaction, and more than a quarter (37) had AHR. Children exposed to cat (odds ratio, 14.73), dust mite (OR, 5.13), cockroach (OR, 4.00) and ragweed (OR, 10.08) allergens ran a significant risk of AHR. There was not a significant link between AHR and dogs, mice, trees, grass or molds.

"Among young children at risk for atopy, sensitization to specific aeroallergens, but not early life exposures, is associated with increased airway responsiveness," the authors write.

TePas is a speaker for GlaxoSmithKline.

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