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Trend in occurrence of asthma among children and young adults

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 18 October 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1014

Reporting of common respiratory and atopic symptoms has increased

  1. George Russell, Consultant paediatriciana,
  2. Peter J Helms, Professor of child healtha
  1. a Department of Child Health, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB9 2ZD
  2. b Department of Thoracic Medicine, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia

    Editor—Per Magnus and Jouni J K Jaakkola question reports of an increased prevalence of wheezing illness and asthma in recent population studies.1 In the three Aberdeen surveys the questions relating to asthma, shortness of breath, eczema, and hay fever were identical; the question on wheeze was modified between the first and second studies.2 The responses to the four identical questions showed significant and continuing rises in the prevalence of attacks of shortness of breath and awareness of a diagnosis of asthma or eczema.

    Magnus and Jaakkola suggest that future surveys should include objective assessments of asthma, including tests of non-specific bronchial hyperresponsiveness and skin prick tests. Atopy as defined by a positive result of a …

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