New-onset childhood asthma and asthma persistence may be influenced by having a parental history of asthma and experiencing an early life respiratory infection or allergy, according to study results published in the Journal of Asthma.

In 2015, researchers created a prospective cohort of children aged 5 to 14 years in Canada after approaching patients who previously gave consent in 2013 (N=324). Questionnaire data were collected in both 2013 and 2015. In 2014, patients had their asthma status reclassified as no asthma (n=220), new-onset asthma (n=17), persistent asthma (n=46), or remission (n=41). The researchers then examined associations between personal and early life factors with 2015 asthma outcomes.

Factors associated with new-onset asthma in 2015 included having a parental history of asthma (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 4.99; 95% CI, 1.88-28.27; P <.05), early life respiratory infection (aOR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.47-7.88; P <.05), early life allergy (aOR, 6.39; 95% CI, 1.34-30.58; P <.05), and early life ear infection (aOR, 4.99; 95% CI, 1.19-20.93; P <.05). Persistent asthma was also positively associated with having a parental history of asthma (aOR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.29-4.34), early life respiratory infection (aOR, 2.71; 95% CI, 0.70-10.45), and early life ear infection (aOR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.09-1.40), but these associations were not considered significant.

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According to the researchers, a possible limitation of the study was the lack of a separate assessment of medication use and its effect on asthma outcomes.

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“We demonstrated that parental history of asthma and early life respiratory infection and allergy might not only influence the onset of childhood asthma, but also be associated with persistent asthma,” the researchers wrote, “adding further information to the importance of personal factors and early life events in the natural course of asthma.”


Oluwole O, Rennie DC, Afanasieva A, Lawson JA. Personal and early life factors associated with new-onset asthma, remission, and persistence of asthma in a 2-year follow-up of schoolchildren [published online January 6, 2020]. J Asthma. doi:10.1080/02770903.2019.1709865