Children conceived with infertility treatment have higher risk for asthma and allergies

April 25, 2022

Children conceived with infertility treatment may have a higher risk for asthma and allergies, suggests a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, according to a news release.

The study was conducted by scientists at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health. It appears in Human Reproduction.

The study enrolled approximately 5,000 mothers and 6,000 children born between 2008 and 2010. Mothers responded periodically to questionnaires on their health and their children’s health and medical histories. Infertility treatments included in vitro fertilization (sperm and egg are combined in a laboratory dish and inserted in the uterus), drugs that stimulate ovulation, and a procedure in which sperm are inserted into the uterus.

Compared to children conceived without infertility treatment, children conceived after treatment were more likely to have persistent wheeze by age 3, a potential indication of asthma. At 7 to 9 years old, children conceived with treatment were 30% more likely to have asthma, 77% more likely to have eczema (an allergic condition resulting in rashes and itchy skin) and 45% more likely to have a prescription for an allergy medication.

The authors called for additional research to determine how infertility treatment or lower parental fertility might influence the development of asthma and allergy in children.

Report provides real-world treatment and outcome data for 850,000 US adults hospitalized with COVID-19 over 20 months of the pandemic (from May 2020 to December 2021- a month after the Omicron variant was detected).

Findings suggest that the use of combination treatments increased over time, while average (median) hospital stay shortened (7 to 6 days) and ICU stays remained the same (5 days), while ICU use declined from 34% to 27%. All-cause mortality rates remained unchanged at 16%, and survival improved for all levels of disease severity except for patients on invasive mechanical ventilation/ECMO whose mortality rate increased from 48% to 59%.

Patients hhospitalized with COVID-19 are experiencing shorter lengths of stay in hospital and the portion needing intensive care has declined since the early days of the pandemic. However, overall mortality rates have remained unchanged, and the all-cause mortality rate has increased in those who are critically ill and in need of invasive mechanical ventilation or ECMO [1], according to a large nationwide study of 853,219 COVID-19 patients (aged 18 years or older) hospitalized between May 2020 and December 2021.

The new research, to be presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Lisbon, Portugal (23-26 April), analyzed records from 879 hospitals in 48 states using the Premier Healthcare Database to examine treatment patterns and outcomes. Patients who were pregnant or had incomplete data were excluded. Patients were middle-aged (average age 63 years), the majority were men (53%) and white (69%), and most had underlying chronic conditions—the most common being high blood pressure (67%), obesity (34%), diabetes (28%), chronic pulmonary disease (24%), and kidney disease (21%). Over time, the use of combination of COVID-19 treatments increased (figure 2 in notes to editors). For example, the combination of the antiviral drug remdesivir and the corticosteroid dexamethasone was used in less than 1% of patients in May 2020 and increased to 31% in December 2021.

The analyses found that during this period, overall all-cause mortality rates remained stable at 16%, while the average (median) hospital stay in patients fell from 7 to 6 days, and ICU stay remained unchanged at 5 days. Overall, use of the ICU in these COVID-19 patients declined from 34% in May 2020 to 27% in December 2021. However, for patients on invasive mechanical ventilation or ECMO, ICU use remained consistently high at 90%, and the all-cause mortality rate increased from 48% to 59%.

According to co-author David Wohl, a Professor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, “Our findings underscore the continued need for more effective therapeutics for critically ill COVID-19 patients, as well as for more treatment options that increase the chance of recovery for people who are extremely sick so they can leave the hospital sooner. More research is needed to examine trends in specific subgroups of COVID-19 patients, such as older people, the immunocompromised and those with chronic diseases who increasingly are at the greatest risk for becoming critically ill from COVID-19.”

The authors point out that this is an observational study, and as such can’t establish cause, and acknowledge that these data did not cover sufficient dates to explore outcomes for the recently emergent Omicron variant.

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