New statistic model forecasts the effect of tobacco consumption on childhood asthma
A scientific study recently published on International Journal of Statistics in Medical Research states that tobacco consumption must be decreased by 15% in Spain, particularly at home, in order to reduce the number of childhood asthma cases. The research is signed by professors Toni Monleón-Getino and Martín Ríos, from the Department of Statistics of the University of Barcelona, and experts Oriol Vall, Carme Puig, Òscar Garcia-Algar and Antonella Chiandetti, members of the Childhood and Environment Research Group of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM).
Asthma is the most common chronic illness during childhood and adolescence in industrialized countries. Several factors have been proposed to explain asthma. It affects between 10% and 17% of children and teenagers in Spain. There is no treatment to cure this illness which may decrease considerably patients' quality of life. Although its prevalence has been increasing over the last 40 years in many countries, no statistical or simulation model existed to forecast the evolution of childhood asthma in Europe.
A model based on conditional probability
The study first presents a statistical and simulation model —based on the theory of conditional probability— to forecast the risk of childhood asthma episodes. The model includes several risk factors and has been designed with the data got from scientific literature and the project Asthma Multicenter Infant Cohort Study (AMICS), developed by IMIM researchers in order to analyze the relationship between environmental factors and childhood asthma development in different phenotypes. On January 1, 2006, a law that set anti-tobacco regulations in Spain came into force. In 2011, more restrictive anti-tobacco regulations began to be applied. According to the research, in 2001 tobacco consumption was 35.2% and in 2007 it dropped to 23.7%, but this reduction did not produce any remarkable effect on asthma incidence among children.