A study released today by Vanderbilt University suggests that babies born during the fall before the normal cold and flu season are at a greater risk of developing asthma. These children have a 30 percent higher risk for asthma, because of the common infections associated with the cold and flu season. Dr. Tina Hartert, the director of the center for Asthma Research at Vanderbilt University, and her colleagues studied the medical records of 95,000 infants and their mothers in the state of Tennessee.
_Why is this study important? The researchers think that environmental exposure to infections may activate genes that predispose children to developing asthma. Nearly every child is infected by respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, between the ages of 3 and 6 months. The study found that autumn babies were at the highest risk for exposure to RSV.