Baby's Breaths May Hold Asthma Clues

including one done as they ran on a treadmill. They also took allergy, blood, and urine tests. In addition, their parents reported whether the children had ever had asthma.

The finding: Kids with reduced lung function at birth were more likely to have ever had asthma by the time they were 10.

The results held when the researchers took other factors into account, such as whether the kids' parents had asthma and if their moms had smoked during pregnancy.

"These results suggest that alterations of airway function associated with later asthma may be present and detectable a few days after birth," write the researchers.

However, they aren't recommending lung function tests to screen newborns for asthma risk.

Why not? Lung function can vary in the first few days after birth, explain Haland and colleagues.

"Thus, our data would not support the use of such measures as screening tests for the risk of subsequent asthma," they write.

SOURCES: Haland, G. The New England Journal of Medicine, Oct. 19, 2006; vol 355: pp 1682-1689.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang