Stomach bug may protect kids against asthma

July 17, 2008

Children ages 3 to 13 with the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori may be less likely to have asthma, according to the online Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Children ages 3 to 13 with the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori may be less likely to have asthma, according to the online Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The researchers conducted analyses using data from 7,412 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2000. Results showed an inverse association between the presence of H pylori and onset of asthma in children younger than 5 years, and current asthma in children ages 3 to 13 years. The presence of the microbe in this latter age group was linked to a 59% decreased likelihood of asthma.

Furthermore, among teens and children 3 to 19 years old, the presence of H pylori was inversely related to ever having had asthma (a 25% decrease in likelihood), as well as recent wheezing, allergic rhinitis, and dermatitis, eczema, or rash (a 40% reduction in likelihood).

The researchers concluded that their findings may lead to new directions for asthma research and prevention.