I read that there is a big rise in asthma cases in Connecticut and throughout New England, and especially in New Haven. Why is this?

Many people who saw the article in the New Haven Register (see link below) had been noticing increased breathing problems in themselves and their families. To answer “why,” we turned to Geoffrey Chupp, M.D., Director of the Yale Center for Asthma and Airways Disease and Associate Professor of Pulmonary Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Chupp writes:

“The reason for the rising incidence of asthma in New Haven, across the United States and worldwide has puzzled asthma physicians and scientists since it was first recognized three decades ago.

“Numerous theories have been proposed, including genetic drift and an increase in mutations in the human genome that contribute to asthma; changes in air quality and exposure to substances (inside and outside of the home) that contribute to inflammation in the airway; and changes in human behavior (changes in hygiene and diet) that reduce the immune system’s ability to remain ‘tolerant’ to common allergens such as dust and molds or create a ‘pro-inflammatory’ environment in the airways.

“It is likely that all of these factors are contributing to the increase in asthma in New Haven, especially shifts in the environment, given the Elm City’s proximity to interstate highways and exposure to eastward-moving weather systems from cities toward the west.”

Here’s a link to the original article in the New Haven Register: (http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2012/12/10/news/doc50c5f2176e014859595943.txt

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