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Race Affects Indicator of Lung Inflammation in Children

More study needed in Asian, African populations

MONDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- In children, race is a factor that affects the fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) -- an indicator of airway inflammation in people with asthma -- according to research published in the January issue of Chest.

Thomas Kovesi, M.D., of the University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues assessed factors affecting FENO concentrations in 657 healthy schoolchildren between 9.1 and 12.9 years of age. Subjects had no history of diagnosed asthma, allergies or chronic disease.

In white children, the mean FENO was 12.7 parts per billion (ppb). In Asian-Canadian children, mean FENO was 22.8 ppb. In African-Canadian children -- who comprised a small percentage of the sample -- mean FENO was 17.4 ppb. FENO rose slightly with higher age and height, but was not associated with gender or body mass index.

"Given the importance of FENO as an indicator of airway inflammation, it is essential to define the range of normal values in healthy children," the authors write. "Multiple factors affect FENO in healthy children, including race, and possibly age and height. These factors need to be considered, particularly when high FENO values are used in diagnostic and therapeutic decision making. Further studies to determine FENO in large, healthy Asian and African populations is required, as well as to explore genetic and other determinants of FENO in children."

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