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Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Apr;7(2):174-9.

Prevention of asthma in childhood.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53716, USA.



The prevalence of asthma is increasing in many parts of the world, particularly in developed countries. The present review focuses on recent literature regarding asthma prevention in childhood.


Several environmental exposures in infancy or early childhood are associated with reduced prevalence of asthma, but the mechanisms leading to these associations remain unknown. Recent studies have demonstrated limited success in the prevention of asthma or asthma symptoms with the use of asthma medications, once the therapy is discontinued. Immunotherapy offers another strategy for asthma prevention, and groups treated with this intervention have demonstrated reduced atopy and asthma. Several multi-interventional trials have demonstrated a reduced asthma symptom burden but have not demonstrated significant differences in objective measures such as lung function or bronchial hyper-responsiveness between intervention groups.


The most promising asthma prevention strategies to date have been those that use a multi-interventional approach employing both dietary and environmental manipulations. More research is needed to assess the long-term follow-up of multi-interventional trials and to evaluate novel intervention strategies in the primary or secondary prevention of asthma in childhood.

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