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Over the last four decades, birth cohort studies have materially improved our understanding of the early origins of respiratory disease. In this issue, Belinelo et al present evidence from the bern infant lung development (BILD) and breathing for life trial (BLT) cohorts demonstrating that maternal asthma is associated with altered tidal breathing patterns in male infants.1 The BILD cohort recruited healthy neonates from 1999 to 2010 to further understand the complex interactions of environment and genetics on lung development and respiratory disease. In contrast, the BLT was a clinical trial to investigate the utility of the fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide in guiding medical management of asthma in pregnant women which included prospective infant follow-up. This analysis uses a combined data set of the two cohorts to look at the link between maternal asthma and tidal breathing parameters in young infants.1 The authors found that male infants born to mothers with asthma had a lower ratio of the time to peak tidal expiratory flow to total expiratory time (tPTEF/tE%).1 This breathing pattern is compatible with a longer respiratory system time constant and has been shown to be associated with later wheezing in early life2 and asthma up to age 36.3 Low lung function in infancy not only precedes and predicts later respiratory problems it also seems to partly determine …
LDB and WM contributed equally.
Contributors LDB and WM contributed equally to this editorial.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests WM is a consultant to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) and receives grant funding from the CFF and the National Institutes of Health. He has received speaking fees from the American College of Chest Physicians and the American Thoracic Society. LDB has no competing interests.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.