Infant origins of childhood asthma associated with specific molds

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This birth cohort study was conducted to examine whether specific mold exposures during infancy are associated with childhood asthma development. Infants were identified from birth certificates and when they reached eight months of age, dust samples were collected from 289 homes. The dust samples were analyzed for concentrations of 36 molds that comprise the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) and included the endotoxin, house dust mite, cat, dog, and cockroach allergens. Asthma was diagnosed in 24% of the children at age seven years based on reported symptoms and objective measures of lung function. A statistically significant increase in asthma risk was associated with high ERMI values in the child’s home in infancy (the adjusted relative risk for a 10-unit increase in ERMI value was 1.8; 95% CI 1.5-2.2). The summation of levels of the three mold species, Aspergillus ochraceus, Aspergillus unguis, and Penicillium variabile, was significantly associated with asthma (the adjusted relative risk was 2.2; 95% CI 1.8-2.7). The authors concluded that exposure to three mold species common to water-damaged buildings during infancy was associated with childhood asthma at age seven years. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Jul 10. PMID: 22789397

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