Long study of steroids in childhood asthma released

Long study of steroids in childhood asthma released

The results of a Harvard study done over the past 25 years on childhood asthma are somewhat distressing. The research was published in a recent edition of The New England Journal of Medicine. Known as CAMP – Childhood Asthma Management Program – the study allowed long-term outcomes to be determined.

It compared the use of a daily inhaled steroid versus placebo for the first 4.5 years. Then the children were returned to the care of their pediatricians and followed for 20+ years. As young adults, 11 percent of this group met the World Health Organization’s criteria for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

Also, there was no apparent long-term preventive value from the 4.5 years of daily steroid use during childhood. Development of chronic impaired lung function occurred equally in treated and untreated groups. Remember that despite this lack of long-term benefits, inhaled steroids are still the cornerstone of asthma management. Hundreds of studies have shown their benefit in controlling symptoms, improving quality of life and reducing ER visits and asthmatic deaths.

At least, there is a therapy known to prevent long-term loss of lung function in asthmatic children — that is immunotherapy (allergy shots). Of course, it only benefits children whose asthma is allergenic in nature. Fortunately, this is the majority of asthmatic children.

Infants who have food allergy display a pro-inflammatory profile in their umbilical cord blood at the time of birth.

So say research scientists at the University of Melbourne. They found that the length of a woman’s labor seemed to lead to greater numbers of white blood cells that produce inflammatory proteins (called cytokines).

Thus: short labor also leads to less chance of food allergy; long labor leads to a greater chance.

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