Better education associated with improved asthma

December 16, 2009

Individuals with more education suffer less from asthma. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Respiratory Research have found that having less than 12 years of formal schooling is associated with worse asthma symptoms.

Drs. Kim Lavoie and Simon Bacon from the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, Canada, worked with a team of researchers to study asthma severity in a group of 871 adult patients. They said, "Lower educational achievement was associated with worse asthma control, greater emergency health service use, and worse asthma self-efficacy. Patients with less than 12 years of education were 55% more likely to report an asthma-related emergency health service visit in the last year".

The researchers suggest that lower education is often a marker of lower socioeconomic status generally, and that this may explain their results. At the individual level, poorer people may have higher exposures to indoor allergens, such as cockroaches, tobacco smoke and mould, and outdoor urban pollution. According to Lavoie, "Although this link between socioeconomic status and asthma is well established in children, this is the first study to investigate it in an adult population in Canada. It is noteworthy that patients with less education were more likely to exhibit poor health behaviors that may exacerbate asthma, including smoking and being overweight".

Lavoie and her colleagues hope that once all the mechanisms of the poverty-asthma relationship have been identified, interventions can be developed to improve asthma outcomes in these patients.
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Notes to Editors

1. Individual-level socioeconomic status is associated with worse asthma morbidity in patients with asthma
Simon L Bacon, Anne Bouchard, Eric B Loucks and Kim L Lavoie
Respiratory Research (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://respiratory-research.com/imedia/9481755672875548_article.pdf?random=294977

After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://respiratory-research.com/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. Respiratory Research is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, online journal that considers manuscripts on all aspects of respiratory function and disease. The journal welcomes studies on asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, genetics, infectious diseases, interstitial lung diseases, lung development, lung tumors, occupational and environmental factors, pulmonary circulation, pulmonary pharmacology and therapeutics, respiratory critical care, respiratory immunology, respiratory physiology, and sleep. The journal will also welcome state-of-the-art reviews on related topics.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

BioMed Central

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