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Stress raises asthma attack risk

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LONDON, Nov 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Scientists at University College London say stress raises the risk of an asthma attack in children by four times.

Their study, published in the medical journal Thorax, also says stress gives such children a double bout of acute symptoms within 48 hours and six weeks later.

The study was based on 60 children, aged between 6 and 13, who had asthma for at least three years.

Their symptoms were scored on a scale defined by the British Thoracic Society. They also went for clinic check-ups every three months. The children kept the diaries for 18 months.

The main stressful negative life events involved house moves, births, deaths, and departures, illness, separations, and changes in family relationships.

The researchers found the children were over four times as likely to sustain a sudden worsening of symptoms within one to two days of experiencing a stressful life event.

And after a period of stabilization, the risk of symptoms suddenly worsened again around five to seven weeks later.

The authors said the immediate and delayed effects are likely to be caused by different physiological and immune processes involving the autonomic nervous system as well as hormone and brain chemical regulation.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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