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Measles in Childhood Affects Airflow Obstruction in Midlife

Findings show the effect is in combination with adult asthma, smoking

FRIDAY, March 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Childhood measles infection appears to compound the associations between smoking, current asthma, and post-bronchodilator airflow obstruction, according to a study published online March 20 in Respirology.

Jennifer L. Perret, M.D., from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues used data from the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study cohort who were born in 1961 and underwent spirometry in 1968 before measles immunization was introduced (8,583 participants). In the fifth decade follow-up, a subgroup had additional lung function measurements (1,389 participants). School medical records were used to determine a history of childhood measles.

The researchers found that 69 percent (950 participants) had a history of childhood measles. Post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity in middle age was negatively impacted by childhood measles, current clinical asthma, and smoking at least 10 pack-years (three-way interaction: P = 0.009), especially for those with childhood-onset asthma. The odds for post-bronchodilator airflow obstruction was not significant in the presence of childhood measles for never- and ever-smokers of <10 pack-years who had current asthma symptoms, compared with those without childhood measles (odds ratio, 12.0 [95 percent confidence interval: 3.4 to 42] and 2.17 [0.9 to 5.3], respectively).

“This prospective study found childhood measles increased the risk of post-bronchodilator airflow obstruction for middle-aged adults through its interaction with the combined effects of current adult asthma and smoking,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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