Adult asthma rate "doubles in 20 years"

UK scientists claim first clear demonstration of allergy-induced asthma rise in adults

UK scientists have claimed one of the first pieces of clear evidence for a substantial rise in adult asthma. Large increases in childhood asthma are already well documented, but methodological issues have made it difficult to establish trends in adults, the researchers say.

Published this week in the British Medical Journal, the data is based on questionnaires completed by middle-aged residents of two Scottish towns in 1972-6 and then by their adult children in 1996. After adjusting the results for changes in diagnosis of the condition, the researchers conclude that allergy-related asthma in adults more than doubled over the period, while non-allergy related asthma rates remained stable.

They claim that the study probably reflects trends in the general population, suggesting that a doubling of adult allergic asthma in the two decades to 1996 is a general phenomenon. Emissions of fine particles from motor vehicles and other sources are among the candidate causes for the increase (ENDS Daily 26 January).

Follow Up:
British Medical Journal , tel: +44 20 73 87 44 99; and BMJ report on the study.

Please sign in to access this article. To subscribe, view our subscription options, or take out a free trial.

Please enter your details

Forgotten password?

Having trouble signing in?

Contact Customer Support at
or call 020 8267 8120

Not a subscriber?

Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.