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Link Between Depression, Stress and Asthma in Newborns

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According to a new study, high levels of anxiety, depression or stress during pregnancy can lead to a greater risk of asthma for the newborn baby.

This study -- which focused primarily on inner-city minority women -- is the latest in a long line of similar researches that have indicated that a connection between mental health and a physical condition like asthma exists. In order to come to their conclusions, researchers observed 279 inner city African American and Hispanic women before, during and after pregnancy. As per the results, more than 70 percent of the mothers who experienced high levels of depression, anxiety or stress while pregnant reported that their child would wheeze before they even turned 5 years old.

"The symptoms of pediatric asthma can range from a nagging cough that lingers for days or weeks to sudden and scary breathing emergencies," said Rachel Miller, an allergist and the study's senior author.

"Understanding how maternal depression affects a child's respiratory health is important in developing effective interventions," said Marilyn Reyes, a researcher at Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health and the study's lead author.

This study was published in the July issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

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