Study seeks pregnant women to
test asthma theory
The link between asthma and dirt is under the microscope in
a new study that needs 800 pregnant women.
Researchers from the Centre for Public Health Research are testing
the idea that where pregnant women are continually in contact with
farm animals, their children are less likely to develop asthma
than other children.
They are looking for women in the lower North Island, from Taranaki
to Hawke’s Bay south, to help with the study, which will
involve monitoring the children for several years after they are
Associate Professor Jeroen Douwes and his team are investigating
why children on a farm, with mothers who were exposed to animals,
have a lower prevalence of asthma.
“We are keen to find out what kind of exposures might help,” Dr
Douwes says. “We will try and assess which specific immunological
mechanisms play a role. Then we hope to develop ideas about effective
Study participants will be a mixture of women living on farms and
in towns and cities during pregnancy.
The centre has an $800,000 New Zealand Health Research Council
grant for the study.
Professor Douwes says his team is looking for women from the lower
North Island, including Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay.
Information about the study is being distributed to midwives and
GPs involved in obstetrics.