BOSTON (UPI) -- Researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston say they have found a potential cause-and-effect link between asthma sufferers and child abuse.
By studying the health and life histories of children in Puerto Rico, the researchers said they found children who suffered some form of physical or sexual abuse had a higher chance of developing the chronic condition, The Boston Globe reported Monday.
The study found that among the nearly 1,200 children questioned, 20 percent of those who admitted past abuse suffered from asthma. That figure was nearly double the findings among non-abused respondents, who had an 11.5 percent asthma rate.
Former American Thoracic Society President Dr. John Heffner told the Globe the study's findings made sense given the stressful nature of such traumatic childhood events.
"It certainly seems biologically plausible, particularly considering that it's hard to think of any more stressful circumstance for a child than physical or sexual abuse, especially when that abuse comes from within the family," Heffner said.
<small>Copyright 2008 by United Press International</small>