Letters

Natural history of childhood asthma Other studies have been ignored

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6961.1086 (Published 22 October 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1086
  1. M S Ostergaard
  1. Department of General Medicine, University of Copenhagen, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Department of General Medicine, University of Copenhagen, DK-Asthma Research Group, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 4A6, Canada

    EDITOR, - In his editorial Malcolm R Sears concludes that two thirds of children with asthma will outgrow it (especially those with mild asthma).1 This statement is primarily based on the work of Mark A Jenkins and colleagues,2 but it does not reflect several other solid research findings that show that asthma persists into adulthood in half of the children who have it.*RF 3–5*

    The study of Jenkins and colleagues is presented as a prospective study based on the 1968 Tasmanian asthma survey. In this survey Tasmanian parents were retrospectively asked whether their children, then at school, had ever suffered from asthma or wheezy bronchitis. Jenkins and colleagues did a follow up study 23 years later (again partly retrospectively) in which a random sample of the original population was asked whether they suffered or had previously suffered from asthma. The questionnaire seemingly did not define the term asthma.

    Jenkins and colleagues concluded (a) that “in most cases, childhood …

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