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Mayo Clinic Study Reveals Neighborhood Asthma Risks

Those living near highway and railroad intersections more likely to develop asthma

Mayo Clinic researchers recently released study data showing children who lived near major highway or railroad intersections have higher diagnoses of asthma. The researchers used this study to show how neighborhood environment is a risk factor in understanding the development of pediatric asthma. The study appears in a recent addition of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

"Using nearest propensity score, children who lived in census tracts facing the intersection with major highways or railways had about 40 to 70 percent increased risk of developing childhood asthma," says Young Juhn, M.D., of Mayo Clinic's Department of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. "What this tells us is that clinicians need to be concerned about neighborhood environment beyond home environment to understand the individual asthma case."

The study was a retrospective, population-based birth cohort where researchers studied 3,970 people born between 1976 and 1979 in Rochester, Minn. Of the 1,947 subjects living in census tracts that faced intersections, 6.4 percent developed asthma, while 4.5 percent of those living in census tracts not facing intersections developed asthma. Dr. Juhn and his colleagues are currently conducting research that looks at the influence of neighborhood environment on other disease outcomes.

Other study authors include Rui Qin, Ph.D., Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic; Sanghwa Urm, M.D., Ph.D, Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Inje University, South Korea; Slavica Katusic, M.D., Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic; and Delfino Vargas-Chanes, Ph.D., Center of Sociological Studies, El Colegio de Mexico.

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of "the needs of the patient come first." More than 3,700 physicians, scientists and researchers, and 50,100 allied health staff work at Mayo Clinic, which has campuses in Rochester, Minn; Jacksonville, Fla; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.; and community-based providers in more than 70 locations in southern Minnesota., western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. These locations treat more than half a million people each year. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to For information about research and education, visit ( is available as a resource for your health stories.

Bryan Anderson | EurekAlert!
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