Saturday, September 29, 2007

'Bad' neighbourhoods worsen child asthma: study

Biological and social triggers can aggravate asthma symptoms in children living in rough neighbourhoods and lacking family support, Vancouver researchers have found.

“Poor family relations may foster psychological experiences with direct physiologic consequences," said Dr. Edith Chen, a health psychologist at the University of British Columbia and one of the study's authors.

Troubled neighbourhoods, meanwhile, may introduce role models with bad behaviours that can worsen asthma symptoms, she said.

Researchers at UBC studied 78 children aged nine to 18 who had physician-diagnosed asthma without other chronic illnesses.

They assessed the extent to which youth perceived emotional support from family, support from peers and problems in their neighbourhood, such as crime and violence.

Researchers measured participants' lung function using standardized spirometry techniques, and assessed their asthma symptoms based on interviews and daily diaries kept by the subjects.

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