Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Asthma Health Center

Font Size

Baby's Breaths May Hold Asthma Clues

Even as Newborns, Many Who Later Get Asthma Show Reduced Lung Function
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 18, 2006 - The quality of newborn babies' breaths may help predict their odds of developing asthma by their 10th birthday.

So say Norwegian researchers including the University of Oslo's Geir Haland, MD, in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Haland and colleagues studied the lung function of healthy, full-term newborns shortly after birth and followed up 10 years later.

They found that children with reduced lung function at birth were more likely to have had asthma by the time they were 10 years old.

To measure lung function, the 802 babies tested briefly wore tiny face masks as the researchers tracked their breathing patterns.

Such tests aren't new, but they're not routinely performed at birth.

None of the babies had severe breathing problems. But some had better lung function than others.

Ten years later, the researchers followed up on 616 of the children.

The 10-year-olds took several breathing tests -- including one done as they ran on a treadmill. They also took allergy, blood, and urine tests. In addition, their parents reported whether the children had ever had asthma.

The finding: Kids with reduced lung function at birth were more likely to have ever had asthma by the time they were 10.

The results held when the researchers took other factors into account, such as whether the kids' parents had asthma and if their moms had smoked during pregnancypregnancy.

"These results suggest that alterations of airway function associated with later asthma may be present and detectable a few days after birth," write the researchers.

However, they aren't recommending lung function tests to screen newborns for asthma risk.

Why not? Lung function can vary in the first few days after birth, explain Haland and colleagues.

"Thus, our data would not support the use of such measures as screening tests for the risk of subsequent asthma," they write.

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

Start Now

Today on WebMD

Lung and bronchial tube graphic
5 common triggers.
group jogging in park
Should you avoid fitness activities?
asthma inhaler
Learn about your options.
man feeling faint
What’s the difference?
Madison Wisconsin Capitol
woman wearing cpap mask
red wine pouring into glass
Woman holding inhaler
Man outdoors coughing
Lung and bronchial tube graphic
10 Worst Asthma Cities