(October 15, 2008 - Insidermedicine) A genetic susceptibility to developing asthma early in life after being exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke has been identified, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Here are some facts about childhood exposure to tobacco smoke:
. Because they are growing and developing, babies and children may be more vulnerable to the poisons present in tobacco smoke.
. Babies exposed to tobacco smoke have weaker lungs and are more susceptible to many health problems.
. Babies exposed to tobacco smoke are increased risk of dying suddenly.
Researchers from Paris conducted genetic testing in over 1,500 individuals to look for variability in a gene known to be linked with asthma. They investigated associations between these genetic variations and the development of asthma early in life, and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke early in life.
The researchers found an association between 11 variations in the gene and the presence of early-onset asthma, but only among those who had been exposed to tobacco smoke early in life. Carrying the genetic variation linked most strongly with asthma was associated with nearly three times the risk of developing early-onset asthma, if there had also been early tobacco smoke exposure.
Today's research highlights the role of genetics in the development of early-onset asthma, especially among those exposed early in life to tobacco smoke.
For Insidermedicine in Depth, I'm Dr. Susan Sharma.