/ Modified nov 9, 2017 10:26 a.m.

Episode 99: Early Life Experience Shapes Vulnerability to Asthma

Studying the causes of asthma

AZSCI 99 Asthma


Asthma affects 8.4% of children and can lead to life-long respiratory problems in adults. Fernando Martinez, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center, is a physician-scientist who studies the causes of asthma as he aspires to find early interventions that may help prevent the disease. As a child, he decided that his life’s goal would be to find a cure for asthma, and now he leads the longest-running longitudinal study of its causes. The study enrolled over 1200 babies at the time of their birth, and followed the lifestyles and health histories of the initial cohort now for over 35 years. Findings are striking: contrary to popular opinion, early exposure to microbes living in our environment induces a resistance to asthma.

Based on these findings, Fernando is now moving toward the development of preventive treatment based on microbial products, which are currently being tested in at-risk children.

In this episode:

Fernando D. Martinez, MD, Regents’ Professor in Pediatrics and Director of UA’s Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center
Leslie Tolbert, Pd.D., Regents’ Professor in Neuroscience

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