Pre-term birth and asthma: Preterm birth may increase the risk of asthma and wheezing disorders during childhood

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Massachusetts, in collaboration with investigators at the Maastricht University Medical Centre and Maastricht University School of Public Health in the Netherlands and The University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, have published findings strongly suggesting that preterm birth (prior to 37 weeks gestation) increases the risk of asthma and wheezing disorders during childhood and that the risk of developing these conditions increases as the degree of prematurity increases.

The findings are based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of 30 studies that investigated the association between and /wheezing disorders among 1.5 million children. These studies were conducted between 1995 and the present, a time span chosen to allow for recent changes in the management of prematurity.

Across the studies, 13.7 percent of developed asthma/wheezing disorders compared with 8.3 percent of born at term, representing a 70 percent increased risk. Children born very early (before 32 weeks gestation) had approximately three times the risk of developing asthma/wheezing disorders compared with babies born at term.

"Worldwide, more than 11 percent of babies are born preterm," said Aziz Sheikh, MD, corresponding author and Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "As asthma is a chronic condition, our findings underscore the need to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the association between preterm birth and asthma/wheezing disorders in order to develop preventive and therapeutic interventions."

More information: PLOS Medicine 2014 Jan 28;11(1):e1001596.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Keeping that weight loss resolution

20 hours ago

(HealthDay)—If you're one of the many Americans who plan to lose weight next year, there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of success, an expert says.

A case for treating both mind and body

Dec 28, 2014

New research from Rutgers University lends more support to the idea that integrating treatment of mind and body could lead to better - and cheaper - medical care.

Pregnant woman taken off life support in Ireland

Dec 26, 2014

A brain-dead pregnant woman was taken off life support Friday after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus was doomed to die—a case that exposed fear and confusion among doctors over how to apply Ireland's ...

'Tis the season to overeat

Dec 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Overeating is common during the holidays, but there are strategies that can help you eat in moderation, an expert says.

Don't let burns mar your holidays

Dec 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—The risk of burns from fires and cooking accidents increases during the holidays, so you need to be extra cautious, an expert says.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.