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

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments