Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A new tool has could supplant the old standard for predicting asthma in children, a study says.
Some doctors say using the Asthma Predictive Index, or API, to forecast asthma in kids isn't always reliable -- and researchers may have a solution for that.
Research published Thursday in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed that API and the new method Pediatric Asthma Risk Score, or PARS, both predicted asthma risk for children with the most risk factors. But the API missed 43 percent of asthmatic children that PARS picked up as mild to moderate risk.
"PARS is superior to the Asthma Predictive Index (API) in its ability to predict asthma in children with mild to moderate asthma risk, with an 11 percent increase in sensitivity," Gurjit Khurana Hershey, director of Asthma Research at Cincinnati Children's and study senior author, said in a news release. "Children with mild to moderate risk may be the most likely asthma patients to respond favorably to prevention strategies."
Dr. Hershey and other researchers devised the method with data from 762 infants born between 2001 and 2003 whose parents had at least one allergy symptom.
Each year, the doctors tested the children's skin at ages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 for 15 airborne and food allergens that included cat, dog, cockroach, dust mites, trees, mold, weeds, grass, cow's milk and hen's egg. They also tested 589 of kids from the same group when they reached seven, and 11 percent of them had asthma.
In all, the PARS test was 11 percent more sensitive than the API.
This PARS web application provides a scoring system that quickly evaluates a user's risk score.
More than 26 million people in the U.S. have asthma, and black people die from the condition at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Our PARS model either outperforms and/or is less invasive than 30 existing models intended to predict asthma development," Hershey said. "The PARS also may be more clinically useful and applicable in an office setting."