Subject: Studies in the News 04-19 (March 19, 2004)

Studies in the News
Health Supplement: Asthma

Contents This Week

Introductory Material HEALTH
   Parents of kids with asthma
   Environmental risk factors for asthma
   Misunderstandings about asthma inhalers
   Parent's perceptions of children's health
   Switching to cleaner school bus fuels
   Characteristics of childrens' asthma episodes
   Environmental tobacco smoke and asthma
   Food and asthma in young adults
   Mold and asthma
   Asthma in California
   School nurses' competence towards asthma
   Asthma management for inner-city children
   Cashew allergy
   Asthma among schoolchildren
   Traffic related air pollution and childhood asthma
   Specialist nurses reduce asthma emergencies
   Air pollution and workplace asthma
   Maternal smoking in pregnancy
   Ethnicity and skin test reactivity to aeroallergens
   Asthma rates in Los Angeles due to exhaust
   Tobacco smoke exposure
   Results of pediatric asthma programs
   Studies in the News, December 2003
   Studies in the News, June 2003
   Studies in the News, September 2003
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • Items in the State Library collection can be checked out to state officials and staff.

  • Access to all materials listed will be provided by the State Information Reference Center, either by e-mail to or by calling 654-0261.

The following studies are currently on hand:



“The Parenting Competency Framework: Learning to be a Parent of a Child with Asthma.” By Hendrika J. Maltby, University of Vermont, and others. IN: International Journal of Nursing Practice, vol. 9, no. 6 (December 2003) pp. 368 – 373.

[“A conceptual framework entitled 'Learning to be a Parent of a Child with Asthma' was developed.... It describes the stages of challenges to competency that parents experience as they learn to care for their asthmatic children. … Insight into parental competency and the relationship to chronic illness will help health professionals provide the support and information needed by parents to manage asthma in their children.”]

[Request #S1549]

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“Early Life Environmental Risk Factors for Asthma: Findings from the Children’s Health Study.” By Muhammad Towhid Salam and others, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. IN: Environmental Health Perspectives, (December 9, 2003) pp. 1-31.

Full Text at:

[“Exposures to cockroach, wood/oil smoke, soot or exhaust, pesticide, herbicide, farm environment and early daycare attendance were associated with increased risk for early life asthma. The associations were strongest when children were exposed beginning in their first year of life, or in the case of daycare attendance, in the first four months of life.”]

[Request #S1550]

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Running on Empty? What’s Left in Your Asthma Inhaler? AANMA Study Finds Patients Don’t Know: Press Release. By Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics. (The Network, Fairfax, Virginia) November 18, 2003. 2 p.

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[“Two-thirds of asthma patients believe that their pressurized metered dose inhaler (MDI) contains lifesaving medication until absolutely no spray comes out. But this belief has dire consequences for asthma patients both young and old according to a national survey."]

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"American and Icelandic Parents’ Perceptions of the Health Status of Their Young Children with Chronic Asthma." By Erla Kolbrun Svavarsdottir, University of Iceland, and Mary Kay Rayens, University of Kentucky College of Nursing. IN: Journal of Nursing Scholarship, vol. 35 no. 4 (2003) pp. 351-358.

[“Parents in these two countries [United States and Iceland] who had children aged 6 or younger with chronic asthma completed questionnaires regarding family demands, caregiving demands, family hardiness, sense of coherence, and health perceptions.... In both countries, significant differences were found in caregiving demands and health perceptions between mothers and fathers… Interventions emphasizing family and individual resiliency and strengths have the potential to affect parents’ views of their children’s health.”]

[Request #S1552]

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“Beaverton Buses Lead Trend with Clean Diesel.” By David R. Anderson. IN: The Oregonian (December 11, 2003) p. 1.

[“The Beaverton School District is the first public district in Oregon to switch its school buses to using ultra-low-sulfur diesel, a cleaner but more expensive alternative to regular diesel. One of the biggest diesel exhaust exposures for children is school buses.”]

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“Children’s Self-Reports of Characteristics of Their Asthma Episodes.” By Patricia V. Burkhart and Heather J. Ward, College of Nursing, University of Kentucky. IN: Journal of Asthma, vol. 40, no. 8 (December 2003) pp. 909-916.

[“Children's self-reports provided valuable information about their asthma episodes. The finding that most of the children experienced at least one asthma episode during the 6-week period underscores the importance of family education on how to handle asthma episodes effectively at home. Because physical activity was cited most often as a trigger for asthma episodes, families should receive education on preventive steps for averting an asthma episode prior to the child engaging in physical activity.”]

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“Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Adult-Onset Asthma.” By Maritta S. Jaakkola, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and others. IN: American Journal of Public Health, vol. 93, no. 12 (December 2003) pp. 2055-2060.

[“This study indicates for the first time that both cumulative lifetime and recent environmental tobacco smoke exposures increase the risk of adult-onset asthma.”]

[Request #S1555]

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“Food and Nutrient Intakes and Asthma Risk in Young Adults.” By Rosalie K. Woods, Monash University, and others. IN: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 78, no. 3 (September 2003) pp. 414-421.

[“Australian researchers analyzed the impact of 25 different nutrients and 47 food groups. They found that regular whole milk consumption is associated with a 34 percent lower risk of current asthma; and it reduces the likelihood of doctor-diagnosed asthma and atopy –- allergy -– by almost 30 percent. Apples and pears also protected against asthma.”]

[Request #S1556]

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“Is Mold Our New Asbestos?” IN: Education Digest, vol. 69, no. 4 (December 2003) pp. 7-13.

[“Increased attention to asthma -- primarily as it affects school children who live in substandard housing -- has also focused attention on whether such respiratory conditions can be exacerbated by poor indoor air quality at school. Mold is the current culprit. Just when schools are figuring out how to handle some familiar facility problems, such as asbestos, or arsenic in drinking water, or lead in paint, along comes mold, spurred by the thousands of school building projects nationwide.”]

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Asthma in California: Findings From the 2001 California Health Interview Survey. By Ying-Ying Meng and others. UCLA Center for Heath Policy Research. (The Center, Los Angeles) December 2003. 58 p.

Full Text at:

[“This in-depth report describes asthma in California based on data from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS 2001), the largest state-level health survey in the nation. It examines the prevalence of asthma, access to care for those with asthma, emergency room use and hospitalization for asthma, and disparities in and consequences of frequent asthma symptoms among California's children and adults. The policy report provides several recommendations including on-going surveillance of asthma, improving control of asthma through the reduction of environmental triggers, reducing disparities in the burden of asthma, and suggests community-based, culturally appropriate interventions.”]

[Request #S1558]

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“Primary School Nurses' Knowledge/Competence Pertaining to Childhood Asthma and Its Management Prior to and Following a National Asthma Education Program in Taiwan.” By Shu-Yuan Chao, Department of Nursing, Chang Gung Institute of Technology, Taoyuan, Taiwan, and others. IN: Journal of Asthma, vol. 40, no. 8 (December 2003) pp. 927 – 934.

[“The main purpose of the National Asthma Education Program was to provide asthma education to school nurses in Taiwan. … Expecting the training activities to help relieve the anxieties of managing asthmatic cases in the school environment, participants reported that the training was of much benefit to them. Development of a teaching program to elevate school nurses' capabilities in asthmatic student care in the school environment and the implications of such a program within Taiwanese schools were also discussed.”]

[Request #S1559]

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"Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Adherence to Therapy in Inner-City Children With Asthma." By Susan Bartlett, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 113, no. 2 (February 2004) pp. 229-237.

[“Identifying and addressing poor psychological adjustment in mothers is important when developing a child’s asthma treatment and may facilitate parent-provider communication, medication adherence, and asthma management among inner-city children.”]

[Request #S1560]

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"Cashew Allergy: Observations of 42 Children Without Associated Peanut Allergy." By R. Rance, Hopital des Enfants, Allergologie, Toulouse Cedex, France, and others. IN: Allergy, vol. 58, no. 12 (December 2003) p. 1311.

[“The increase in cashew allergy is worrying because it affects young children who may have a reaction without ever having been exposed to cashews. Almost one-third of children are allergic to pistachios, which belong to the same botanical family as cashews.”]

[Request #S1561]

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"Asthma Prevalence and Morbidity Among Rural Iowa Schoolchildren." By Elizabeth Chrischilles, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, The University of Iowa, and others. IN: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vol. 113, no. 1 (January 2004) pp. 66-71.

[“Children who lived on farms were less likely than those who lived in town to have ever wheezed or to have wheezed during the past year.... Among those who wheezed, farm and nonfarm children were equally likely to have been given a diagnosis of asthma and had comparable morbidity.”]

[Request #S1562]

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Traffic Related Air Pollution and Incidence of Childhood Asthma: Results of the Vesta Case-Control Study. By D. Zmirou, Public Health Laboratory, School of Medicine, Nancy University, France. IN: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, vol. 58, no. 1 (January 2004) pp. 18-23.

[“Case-control study was conducted in five French metropolitan areas between 1998 and 2000…. These results suggest that traffic related pollutants might have contributed to the asthma epidemic that has taken place during the past decades among children.”]

[Request #S1563]

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“Specialist Nurse Intervention to Reduce Unscheduled Asthma Care in a Deprived Multiethnic Area: The East London Randomized Controlled Trial for High Risk Asthma." By Chris Griffiths, Centre for General Practice and Primary Care, University of London, and others. IN: BMJ: British Medical Journal, vol. 144, no. 7432 (January 17, 2004) pp. 144-146.

[“Asthma specialist nurses using a liaison model of care reduced unscheduled care for asthma in a deprived multiethnic health district.”]

[Request #S1564]

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“Non-sensitizing Air Pollution at Workplaces and Adult Onset Asthma.” By U. Flodin and P. Jonsson, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden. IN: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, vol. 77, no. 1 (January 2004) pp. 17-22.

[“The aim of this study was to elucidate further whether occupational exposure to non-sensitising air pollution at workplaces increases the risk of adult onset asthma. … Smoking per se did not bring any risk of asthma. Working in buildings affected by dampness and mold brought a fourfold significant risk.”]

[Request #S1565]

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“Maternal Smoking in Pregnancy, Fetal Development, and Childhood Asthma.” By Jouni J. K. Jaakkola, Institute of Occupational Health, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom, and Mika Gissler, National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health, Helsinki. IN: American Journal of Public Health, vol. 94, no. 1 (January 2004) pp. 136-140.

[“Maternal smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of asthma during the first 7 years of life, and only a small fraction of the effect seems to be mediated through fetal growth.”]

[Request #S1566]

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“Ethnicity and Skin Test Reactivity to Aeroallergens Among Asthmatic Children in Connecticut.” By Juan C. Celedón, Channing Laboratory, Boston, Massachusetts, and others. IN: Chest, vol. 125, no. 1 (January 2004) pp. 85-92.

[“Our findings suggest that Puerto Rican ethnicity is associated with an increased risk of sensitization to indoor and outdoor allergens among children with asthma, and that allergy skin testing should be performed more often as part of the management of asthma in African-American children and in Puerto Rican children in the United States.”]

[Request #S1567]

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"Region's Kids Left Gasping for Air: Higher Asthma Rates Tied to Increase in Exhaust." By Charles F. Bostwick IN: Los Angeles Daily News (February 22, 2004) A1.

Full Text at:,1413,200%257E20954%257E1973108,00.html

["Asthma among children is rising -- affecting an estimated 390,000 youngsters in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties -- and exhaust from a growing number of cars and trucks is among the suspected causes."]

[Request #S1568]

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“Effects of Tobacco Smoke Exposure on Asthma Prevalence and Medical Care Use in North Carolina Middle School Children.” By Jesse J. Sturm, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and others. IN: American Journal of Public Health, vol. 94, no. 2 (February 2004) pp. 2308-2313.

[“Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and childhood cigarette smoking was responsible for 15% of the asthma cases observed in the study population and $1.34 million in excess medical expenditures.”]

[Request #S1569]

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“Pediatric Asthma Program Reduces Costs by Nearly One-third.” IN: Health and Medicine Week (December 15, 2003) p. 234.

[“A pediatric asthma disease management program offered by AdvancePCS saved the State of North Carolina nearly one-third of the amount the government health plan expected to spend on children diagnosed with the disease … This improvement occurred after AdvancePCS sent educational mailings to families with asthmatic dependents enrolled in the state's major medical plan and to treating physicians.”]

[Request #S1570]

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[This section links to items in Studies in the News since the last Environmental Supplement.]

"Health: Asthma Supplement." IN: Studies in the News, 03-84 (December 22, 2003).

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[Includes: "High body mass index and asthma "Asthma care comparison "Inhaled corticosteroids in childhood asthma "Obesity and asthma "Need to increase influenza vaccinations "Flu shots prevent hospitalizations "Access to allergy medications "Disease management and asthma morbidity "On-the-job asthma "Cohort study of childhood asthma "Asthma in California "Smoking and teens with asthma "Ozone, fine particles and children with asthma "Asthma intervention program "Body-mass index as a predictor of asthma;" "Diesel exhaust and asthma;" "Occupation correlations with asthma;" "Oakland air and asthma;" "Early exposure to chemicals harmful;" "Home monitoring via an interactive Web site;" and others.]

[Request #S1573]

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"Health: Asthma Supplement." IN: Studies in the News, 03-37 (June 10, 2003).

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[Includes: "Asthma and exhaust particles;" "Blueprint for improving childhood asthma outcomes;" "Asthmatic children in school;" "Addressing asthma in schools;" "Asthma listed with severe diseases;" "School-based centers and asthma;" "Inner-city children with asthma;" "Smoking among adolescents with asthma;" "Ethnicity of children with asthma;" "Pregnancy and asthma;" "Asthma in communities with high traffic densities;" "Wheezing triggered by viruses and toxins;" "Nurse intervention for asthma management;" "Training in asthma management;" "School-based screening for asthma;" "Passive smoking and respiratory symptoms;" "Day care attendeance and asthma;" "Cigarette smoking among asthmatic adults;" "Increased risk from exposure to tobacco smoke;" and others.]

[Request #S1571]

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"Health: Asthma Supplement." IN: Studies in the News, 03-60 (September 24, 2003).

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[Includes: "Environmental exposures and asthma;" "Household environment and asthma;" "Particle concentrations in homes and asthma;" "Wildfires and asthma;" "Prenatal development and asthma;" "Asthma an enigmatic epidemic;" "Asthma awareness survey;" "Communities concerned about asthma;" "Asthma management education;" "Asthma treatment variations;" "High-risk asthma populations;" "Asthma deaths in 2002;" and others.]

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