Homes with high levels of mold may increase severe asthma risk in people with chitinase gene variants, according to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and reported by HealthDay News.

Chitinase gene variants break down chitin (a component in fungi). Allergic inflammation triggers their production, especially in asthmatics, who have higher expressions of these gene variants.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from an asthma management program for children ages 5 to 12 with mild to moderate chronic asthma. The kids lived in homes classified as having high levels of household mold colonies per gram of household dust.

After researchers conducted blood tests on the participants, they found that a combination of certain chitinase gene (CHIT1) variations and high levels of mold was associated with an increased risk of severe asthma attack.

The good news about these particular gene variants is that they might also lead to new kinds of asthma treatments, researchers said.

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