Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Asthma

Tests of inner-city Pittsburgh children with asthma show most are receiving inadequate care for their disease and indicate a high rate of children with potential asthma aren’t being diagnosed or treated.
Researchers at Allegheny General Hospital and the Duquesne University Pharmacy School studied 69 children in an after-school program in the Hill District and found that 82% of those with asthma had poor disease control and nearly half without asthma failed the screening test indicating the need for further evaluation.
One of the studies authors, Dr. Deborah Gentile of AGH's Division of Allergy and Immunology says the higher rate of asthma in inner city kids can be tied to economics but also to genetic factors, as well as lack of access to outdoor activities to get sunlight, and depressed levels of Vitamin D due to insufficient fruits and vegetables in the diet.
Gentile says they tested 60 other inner-city children and found those with asthma and allergies had the most –reduced levels of Vitamin D compared to those with just allergies and kids with neither disease.
She says this pilot study will be expanded ..."We'll look at inner-city kids with asthma, measuring their Vitamin D levels and see if (vitamin) supplements improve or get rid of the asthma."
She says the results of the 2 pilot studies need to be replicated in hundreds of children.
Dr. David Skoner, another of the studies' authors says that community-based interventions are needed to improve the health outcomes of inner city youngsters.

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