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Mother’s Depression Worsens Asthma in Children

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U.S. researchers say that a mother’s depression can worsen her child’s asthma symptoms. The six-month study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins University looked at 262 black mothers and their children. What they observed was that mothers who had severe depression also often had children with frequent asthma attacks. On the other hand, women who had less depression had children with fewer asthmatic symptoms.

The Johns Hopkins Children's Center team looked at black mothers and children because black children are excessively affected by asthma and are seen more often in the emergency room than other ethnic groups.

"Even though our research was not set up to measure just how much a mom's depression increased the frequency of her child's symptoms, a clear pattern emerged in which the latter followed the earlier,” Said lead investigator Kristin Riekert, a pediatric psychologist and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Adherence Research Center.

On the other hand, children who had less asthma did not necessarily have mothers with less depression. Based on these observations the researchers say that depression may be an independent risk factor that can forecast the severity of asthma in a child.

"Intuitively, it may seem that we're dealing with a chicken-egg situation, but our study suggests otherwise. The fact that mom's depression was not affected by how often her child had symptoms really caught us off guard, but it also suggested which factor comes first," Riekert said.

Since depression can profoundly affect mental health concentration, cause fatigue and diminish concentration, it may weaken the mother’s ability to manage her child’s asthma. Asthma is a common respiratory ailment which often gets worse in winter and some children require daily treatments and multiple doctor visits.
"Mom is the one who must implement the doctor's recommendations for treatment and follow-up, and if she is depressed she can't do it well, so the child will suffer," chief scientist Michiko Otsuki said in a press release.

This simple observational study may be true but there are many other factors in African Americans that have not been looked at.

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