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Fear Raises Asthma Risk

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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jun 02, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Neighborhoods where residents live in fear produce a higher risk for asthma than the usual factors such as smoking and poverty, U.S. researchers reported.

Researchers at Ohio State University said although it is generally known disadvantaged urban residents are more vulnerable to asthma, they decided to examine specific characteristics of these neighborhoods. They found asthma levels in 338 Chicago neighborhoods were highest where residents did not trust and support one another, even after controlling for other factors.

Such people "may be more likely to lock themselves in their apartments, where they are exposed to indoor allergens that can trigger asthma," said Christopher Browning, the study's co-author.

In neighborhoods with higher levels of trust and support, residents had a 15 percent probability of asthma problems, compared with 21 percent in neighborhoods with lower levels of these qualities.

The researchers said another contributing factor could be allergens such as mold that are more persistent in substandard housing -- something that is not easily improved in low-income neighborhoods.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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