A new study published in the journal PLOS Medicine suggests that babies who are born premature have a higher risk of developing asthma and other wheezing disorders later in their childhood.
Researchers led by Dr Jasper Been, from the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Population Health Sciences, analyzed data of more than 1.5 million children who were part of 30 studies from six different continents and found that the average rate of asthma among premature babies, defined as born three weeks early, rose to 14 percent.
Around 11 percent all babies born are premature with researchers suggesting that the risk of asthma is 50 percent higher among premature babies, born more than three weeks early, compared to full term babies.
"Doctors and parents need to be aware of the increased risks of asthma in premature babies, in order to make early diagnosis and intervention possible. By changing the way we monitor and treat children born preterm, we hope to decrease the future risks of serious breathing problems, including asthma. Our findings should help find better ways to prevent and treat asthma and asthma-like symptoms in those born pre-term", Dr Been said.