Complicated Relationships: Stress, Wheeze, & Allergic Sensitization

March 2, 2017 at 11:42 am

By Jadwiga A. Wedzicha, MD, editor, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

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Relationships among Maternal Stress and Depression, Type 2 responses, and Recurrent Wheezing at Age 3 Years in Low Income Urban Families

Recurrent wheezing and allergic sensitization are the two strongest risk factors for asthma. In their March 1 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine study, Sima K. Ramratnam and colleagues found that maternal stress and depression were associated with recurrent wheeze in young children; however, contrary to their hypothesis, maternal stress and depression were not associated with increased atopy or reduced antiviral responses. Among the 560 children in the study who lived in four U.S. inner cities, 36 percent had recurrent wheeze at three years of age. Their findings “suggest that the relationship between stress, depression, and recurrent wheeze is not mediated by effects on allergic sensitization.” Nor were the high rates of recurrent wheeze in these children explained by an inhibited antiviral response.

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