This sounds like astrology: A child's likelihood of getting asthma has to do with how, when and where she is born.
Kids born in the fall--Scorpios--have a 30 percent higher risk for asthma than those born in other seasons. The finding is based on a review of birth and medical records of over 95,000 children in Tennessee, as reported in The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The are a few possible reasons for the asthma increase in fall babies, according to a story in the New York Times. Genetics probably plays a role in the risk for asthma, but environmental factors like pollen, dust, animal dander, mold, cockroach feces, cigarettes, air pollution, viruses and cold air are also to blame.
Some possible explanations are:
- Autumn babies tend to be about 4 months old at the peak of cold and flu season. By that age, many babies are in day care and regularly exposed to the outside world.
- Their immune systems aren't strong yet. As a result, fall babies are at particular risk to contract a severe winter virus, which may in turn increase their risk for asthma.
- As for how a baby is born, Swiss researchers report that a Cesarean delivery is linked to a much higher risk for asthma compared with babies born vaginally.
- Finally, researchers at Tufts reported that a baby’s place of birth also influences asthma risk. In a study of black families in Dorchester, Mass., they found that babies born in the United States were more likely to have asthma than black children born outside the country.
As anyone plagued with asthma knows, asthma occurs when airways in the lungs spasm and swell, restricting the supply of oxygen. Asthma has also been on the rise in the U.S. for the last two decades--about 6 percent of children now have this condition, up from less than 4 percent in 1980, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The research is fascinating, and I'm going with all the medical factors instead of the astrological ones. I live with three October-born people--Libras, not Scorpios--and thankfully none of them have asthma.
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What do you think? Is asthma a problem for you? Do you think there's any truth to astrology?