PARS: A New Tool for Predicting Asthma

It is currently not possible to gauge a child’s risk of developing asthma. But what if there was a way to determine the threat asthma poses to children? If scientists from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital are indeed correct, such a product might be soon available.

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The authors call their new tool the Pediatric Asthma Risk Score (PARS). To create this new test, the research team analyzed data from 762 infants. Each child had at least one parent with a allergy history. From ages 1 to 7, the subjects were examined on a yearly basis for the presence of allergies. 

During the study, the team looked for allergic reactions for the following substances: 

  • Cat 
  • Dog 
  • Cockroach
  • Dust mites
  • Trees
  • Mold
  • Weeds
  • Grass
  • Cow’s milk
  • Hen’s egg

At the age of seven, more than three-fourths of the children (589 subjects) had their lung capabilities tested, with 16 percent qualifying as asthmatics. The study authors highlighted a number of common factors amongst the children who developed asthma:

  • Asthma was more likely to afflict African American children.
  • The asthmatic subjects tested positives for at least two food/airborne allergies. 
  • Asthmatic children were found to have suffered from eczema at a young age.
  • Frequent wheezing from early childhood was routinely observed in the asthmatic group.
  • A correlation between asthma and the early presence of allergic rhinitis was observed. 

Senior study author Gurjit Khurana Hershey praised her team’s work, noting that “PARS is superior to the Asthma Predictive Index in its ability to predict asthma in children with mild to moderate asthma risk with an 11 percent increase in sensitivity. Children with mild to moderate risk may be the most likely asthma patients to respond favorably to prevention strategies.”

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