Study shows children suffering from asthma more likely to develop anxiety
Children suffering from asthma are more likely to develop the risk of anxiety during adulthood, finds a new study.
In the study on mice, a team from the Pennsylvania State University and Cornell University found that childhood exposure to allergens was linked to persistent lung inflammation and was also connected to changes in gene expression related to stress and serotonin function.
"The idea of studying this link between asthma and anxiety is a pretty new area, and right now we don't know what the connection is," said Sonia Cavigelli, associate professor at the varsity.
According to the researchers, finding the root cause of this connection is difficult because apart from the biological aspects of asthma, there are many social and environmental factors that could lead to anxiety in humans. This includes air pollution or a parent's anxiety.
In the study, the team categorized four groups of mice: one with airway inflammation due to dust mite exposure; one that experienced episodes of labored breathing and both conditions and that experienced neither, as a control.
This suggests that even when allergy triggers are removed, there are lasting effects in the lungs long into adulthood.
These mice also showed changes in gene expression in brain areas that help regulate stress and serotonin.
There were also differences in the results between male and female mice, the researchers observed.