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Doctors make asthma breakthrough

30 August 2012 09:18

Researchers have made a breakthrough in their understanding of asthma

Researchers have made a breakthrough in their understanding of asthma

Doctors have discovered that genetics play a pivotal role in the onset of asthma in what has been described as a breakthrough for the condition.

Scientists from the David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre in Southampton found that a child's risk of developing an allergy is more than doubled if a parent of the same sex experienced it.

Professor Hasan Arshad, a consultant in allergy and immunology, and his team studied 1,456 locals from the Isle of Wight who were recruited as babies 23 years ago and found ailments such as asthma and eczema are gender-based and not hereditary.

Researchers discovered the risk of asthma in boys is only enhanced if their father suffered from the condition in their youth, while mothers with asthma were likely to pass it on to their daughters but not sons.

"We have known for decades allergy runs in the family and many thought maternal effect was greater than paternal effect due to a mother's closeness to her child," said Professor Arshad. "But we have discovered the inheritance is from mother to daughter and father to son."

Despite the breakthrough, asthmatics have been advised to take pre-existing medical travel insurance to ensure peace of mind when travelling abroad.