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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

USC Study Finds that Risk of Asthma and Nasal Allergy Varies by Genetic Ancestry in Hispanic Children

According to the US Census, the Hispanic or Latino population has experienced the fastest growth in the United States and account for more than half of the population growth between 2000 and 2010.  With such trend in population growth, there is a growing need to investigate causes of common health conditions in Hispanic children, who have diverse environmental, socioeconomic, cultural and ancestral backgrounds.

A new study led by University of Southern California MPH Program researchers set out to investigate the effect of genetic factors on asthma and rhinitis (defined for this study as a problem with sneezing or a runny or blocked nose, when the child does not have a cold or the ‘flu’ also known as “nasal allergy”), two of the most common illnesses in children. They conducted the study among nearly 1800 Hispanic children between the ages of 5 and 7 years who participated in the Southern California Children’s Health Study in 2003.

For a link to the study, click here.

The research indicates that looking at genetic ancestry may help explain the differences in prevalence of asthma and rhinitis within the spectrum of Hispanic people and the burden of asthma and rhinitis in the fast growing, ethnically diverse Hispanic population in the US.

“Studies in the past have generally included multiethnic population with predominantly non-Hispanic population,” said Dr. Muhammad T. Salam, adjunct assistant professor of research in the department of preventive medicine at the USC, and lead author of the research. “While there are common risk factors that affect everyone, we are just beginning to understand that we need to focus on specific Hispanic populations to better understand the complex interplay of genetic, environmental and cultural factors in the development of common health conditions such as asthma and rhinitis.”

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