Novel Connections of Common Childhood Illnesses Based on More Than 5 Million Diary Registrations From Birth Till Age 3 Years
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Background: All children experience numerous episodes of illness during the first 3 years of life. Most episodes are mild and handled without medical attention but nevertheless burden the families and society. There is a large, and still unexplained, variation in the burden of illness between children. Objective: To describe and provide a better understanding of the disease burden of common childhood diseases through a data-driven approach investigating the communalities between symptom patterns and predefined variables on predispositions, pregnancy, birth, environment, and child development. Methods: The study is based on the prospectively followed clinical mother-child cohort COpenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood, which includes 700 children with daily symptom registration in the first 3 years of life, including symptoms of cough, breathlessness, wheeze, cold, pneumonia, sore throat, ear infections, gastrointestinal infections, fever, and eczema. First, we described the number of episodes of symptoms. Next, factor analysis models were used to describe the variation in symptom load in the second year of life (both based on n = 556, with >90% complete diary). Then we characterized patterns of similarity between symptoms using a graphical network model (based on n = 403, with a 3-year monthly compliance of >50%). Finally, predispositions and pregnancy, birth, environmental, and developmental factors were added to the network model. Results: The children experienced a median of 17 (interquartile range, 12-23) episodes of symptoms during the first 3 years of life, of which most were respiratory tract infections (median, 13; interquartile range, 9-18). The frequency of symptoms was the highest during the second year of life. Eczema symptoms were unrelated to the other symptoms. The strongest association to respiratory symptoms was found for maternal asthma, maternal smoking during the third trimester, prematurity, and CDHR3 genotype. This was in contrast to the lack of associations for the well-established asthma locus at 17q21. Conclusions: Healthy young children are burdened by multiple episodes of symptoms during the first 3 years of life. Prematurity, maternal asthma, and CDHR3 genotype were among the strongest drivers of symptom burden.
|Journal||Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 2023|
© 2023 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
- Diary, Graphical modeling, Risk factors, Symptoms of illness