How Much Is Too Much to Wheeze: Asthma Clinical Assessment and Standardized Allergen Sampling

Project Funders: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Project Partners: Boston Medical Center

Project Contact: David E. Jacobs,, 410.992.0712

Project Description:
This study, being led by Boston Medical Center with collaboration from NCHH, investigates three leading allergen sampling methods to determine which one correlates best with asthma clinical status to provide the field evidence base needed for method standardization. The study uses three methods of measuring eight allergens in settled house dust, with individual, single-surface, non-composited samples collected from three rooms (child’s bedroom, living room and kitchen).

The standardization of methods for measuring allergens in the home will improve targeting of interventions in homes of asthmatic children. The absence of standardized methods has hampered the identification and remediation of housing factors that cause and/or exacerbate asthma. It has also made comparison of findings from multiple asthma studies difficult, because different studies have used differing methods. Current medical practice includes standardized diagnostic testing of patients, but only rarely the measurement of asthma triggers and allergens in the home environment. Even when environmental testing does occur, the methods have not been tied to asthma outcomes, resulting in poor predictive power and inadequate targeting of interventions. This study has the advantage of focusing on multiple allergens and more than a single measure of asthma severity. The allergen collection methods are the same methods that were used in a laboratory-based study that assesses collection efficiency and other factors previously funded by HUD. Together, these two studies will help develop valid, standardized, health-based allergen measurement tools for the home.



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