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Watch out couch potatoes! Children watching excessive amounts of TV between the ages of 3.5 and 7.5 double their risk of developing asthma, a recent study indicates.  (Source: The Daily Mail)
Watch out little couch potatoes, your friend asthma may be coming to town!

British researchers are just taking the fun out of all of life's little evils.  First, a recent study showed that just a glass of wine a day could raise women's risk of getting certain cancers by as much as 40 percent, including greatly increasing the risk of breast and rectal cancers.  Now British research in a separate study conducted by the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) claims that watching TV excessively as a child may double asthma risk.

The new study followed 3,000 children assessing their respiratory tract health from birth to 11.5 years of age.  The ALSPAC also has been following the long term health of 14,000 children and their parents.  The study involved a simple quiz of parents asking them if their children had been coughing or wheezing or if they had been diagnosed with asthma.

It looked for children that had not developed asthma by 3.5 years of age (indicating a greater likelihood for hereditary factors), but had developed it by 7.5 years of age (when lifestyle factors might come into play).  Parents were quizzed on how much TV their children watched a day.

Some might find it odd that the study did not quiz parents on PC use, but the body of the data collection was done in the mid 1990s, before PCs for children were widespread in homes.  What the study did discover was that by 11.5 years of age, 6 percent of children developed asthma symptoms that had none at 3.5 years of age.  Of these children that developed asthma late, they were mostly children that watched excessive amounts of television.

The researchers found that children watching two or more hours of TV a day were more than twice as likely to develop asthma as their peers who spent less tube time.  TV was selected as a major factor as it was the primary sedentary childhood activity in the 90s, though it has since been supplanted slightly by computer use, as mentioned.

The asthma rates showed no clear correlation to weight or gender.  Also, by the time they were 11.5 years old, the children's amount of sedentary time per day was approximately uniform, so TV watching in older children did not appear to be a serious issue.

While the study's authors do not know quite why sedentary behavior might trigger asthma, they point to recent research that indicates that sedentary behavior may influence breathing patterns in children, effecting the development of the lungs and respiratory tract.  These changes may end up causing asthma. 

Other studies have indicated that lack of exposure to allergens may lead to increased rates of asthma and allergies.  It is reasonable to assume that children devoting greater time to sedentary pursuits might spend less time outdoors, and thus have less early exposure to pollen or other airborne allergens.

The study appears will appear in the journal Thorax.



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The openness of science...
By GodisanAtheist on 3/11/2009 3:35:30 PM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one who is disgruntled with how difficult it can be to track down, then gain access to, these (presumably) published and peer reviewed papers?

The greatest strength of science has been rooted in not only its methodology but its openness: in its purest form science should be scrutable any average Joe (not that they would have anything to contribute, only that the information would be there for all to see should they choose). However, in the vast majority of cases, one would have to shell out a 200 dollar subscription to one of hundreds of scientific quarterlies or be an active member in the field of study in order to have easy access to, say, the paper on which this article is based (or its source or who knows how deep the copy-paste rabbit hole goes).

Ultimately my rant centers on the absence of an original source here. Why would we take the author's word (I've seen scientific papers interpreted in such a wide arc that I've stopped trusting anything but my own eyes in this regard) when we should, by all rights, be privy to the source to begin with?




RE: The openness of science...
By ghost101 on 3/11/2009 10:56:59 PM , Rating: 2
Association of duration of television viewing in early childhood with the subsequent development of asthma. Sherriff A, Anirban M, Ness AR, Mattocks C, Riddoch C, Reilly JJ, Paton JY, Henderson AJ. Online First Thorax 2009 doi 10.1136/thx.2008.104406]

Thats the publication. A simple google and I got the result. Now go to your local university and see if you can get a hold of it.


RE: The openness of science...
By ghost101 on 3/11/2009 10:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
Association of duration of television viewing in early childhood with the subsequent development of asthma. Sherriff A, Anirban M, Ness AR, Mattocks C, Riddoch C, Reilly JJ, Paton JY, Henderson AJ. Online First Thorax 2009 doi 10.1136/thx.2008.104406]

Thats the publication. A simple google and I got the result. Now go to your local university and see if you can get a hold of it.

Its also probably here

http://thorax.bmj.com/onlinefirst.dtl

but might require a membership or something.


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