Australian researchers have found a way to reduce by 50 per cent the rate of asthma in kindergarten-aged children.
A long-term study of 179 mothers in Newcastle, north of Sydney, found that breath-testing and treating them during pregnancy had halved the odds of their children being diagnosed with asthma before they started school.
Young asthma sufferers are more likely to be boys who had a low birth weight.
Australian researchers have found a way to reduce by 50 per cent the rate of asthma in kindergarten-aged children (stock image)
Their mothers were also more likely to have higher levels of nitric oxide, indicating they had sensitive airways.
Researchers from the Hunter Medical Research Institute found a proper asthma management program during pregnancy could reduce the probability of their child living with the debilitating breathing disease.
They found that testing expectant mothers for nitric oxide levels and administering proper medication during pregnancy had reduced the odds of their children having asthma by 50 per cent, between the ages of four and six.
A long-term study of 179 mothers in Newcastle, north of Sydney, found that breath-testing them during pregnancy had halved the odds of their children being diagnosed with asthma
Lead researcher Vanessa Murphy (left with fellow researcher Joerg Mattes, from the John Hunter Children’s Hospital) said asthma during pregnancy needed to be taken more seriously
‘Implementation of this approach in clinical practice has the potential to reduce asthma rates among a group of children at high-risk of developing the disease,’ the findings published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology said.
Lead researcher Vanessa Murphy, from the University of Newcastle, said the results were promising.
‘Asthma in pregnancy affects around 10 to 12 per cent of pregnant women in Australia,’ she told the ABC.
‘And I don’t think we take that seriously enough because it can have major impacts on the health of both the mother and the baby.’
Fellow researcher and paediatrician Professor Joerg Mattes, from the John Hunter Children’s Hospital, said the findings were significant.
‘To see such a clear and robust and impressive effect, I have to say was obviously a nice surprise,’ he said.
‘To identify a prevention for asthma is considered to be the holy grail within our research and this finding, which is unexpectedly very clear and very significant, we believe has large implications because it is the most effective asthma prevention that has been demonstrated so far.’