Dust mite test may help predict asthma

Aug. 24, 2011 at 11:06 PM
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MELBOURNE, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Toddlers with a family history of allergy and test positive in a skin prick test for dust mites have a higher asthma risk later, Australian researchers say.

Dr. Caroline Lodge from the University of Melbourne's School of Population Health says the identification of house dust mites as a predictor for asthma in high-risk children, is a significant step forward in identifying high risk groups.

"Our findings provide researchers with a more targeted group of at risk children, for investigating strategies to prevent asthma later in life," Lodge, who was the study's lead author, says in a statement.

"House dust mite sensitivity amongst wheezy toddlers could be used as a clinical tool to assist parents in understanding the risk of asthma in their children. Although currently there is no known intervention to stop asthma developing, identifying children at higher risk may lead to more tailored treatments of wheeze in this high risk group."

The study followed 620 children, with a family history of allergies, from birth to age 12. As toddlers the children were tested for single and multiple sensitivity to milk, egg, peanut, rye grass, cat and house hold dust mites. At age 12 they were checked for asthma.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, finds if the toddler's skin reacted to house dust mites they had a higher chance of developing asthma later in life.

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