Study reveals neighborhood asthma risks

May 06, 2010

Mayo Clinic researchers recently released study data showing children who lived near major highway or railroad intersections have higher diagnoses of asthma. The researchers used this study to show how neighborhood environment is a risk factor in understanding the development of pediatric asthma. The study appears in a recent addition of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

"Using nearest propensity score, children who lived in census tracts facing the intersection with major highways or railways had about 40 to 70 percent increased risk of developing childhood asthma," says Young Juhn, M.D., of Mayo Clinic's Department of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. "What this tells us is that clinicians need to be concerned about beyond home environment to understand the individual asthma case."

The study was a retrospective, population-based birth cohort where researchers studied 3,970 people born between 1976 and 1979 in Rochester, Minn. Of the 1,947 subjects living in census tracts that faced intersections, 6.4 percent developed asthma, while 4.5 percent of those living in census tracts not facing intersections developed . Dr. Juhn and his colleagues are currently conducting research that looks at the influence of neighborhood environment on other disease outcomes.

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