The Division of Allergy and Immunology at Hopkins Children's is conducting research into the role that inner-city allergens, such as mouse and cockroach allergens, play on asthma. Asthma is the most common pediatric chronic illness, affecting 6.2 million children in the United States.
Asthma attacks can be triggered by many things, but environmental allergies and pollutants are major contributors. Severe illness is most prevalent in inner-city children, doctors say, because of pollution, poor access to regular health care and disproportionate exposure to allergens like mice and cockroaches as well as to dust, cigarette smoke and automobile fumes.
The research is spearheaded by the work of Elizabeth Matsui, M.D., a leading expert on environmental allergies and asthma. She is currently investigating the role of environmental allergen exposure on allergic diseases such as eczema, hay fever and asthma.