According to a Melbourne University study, toddlers with a family history of allergy and current sensitivity to dust mites have increased chances of developing asthma by age 12. The study concluded that 75% of toddlers who tested positive for a dust mite allergy also tested positive for asthma at age 12. Toddlers who tested negative for a dust mite allergy were far less likely to develop asthma – only 36% were diagnosed with asthma at 12.
This study's findings are significant because they show a correlation between an allergy determined at an early age and the development of asthma later in life. This gives scientists the opportunity to investigate methods of preventing asthma later in a child’s life because they have identified a targeted group to work with. Dust mites were not found to cause asthma, but instead an allergic reaction to them has shown that an asthma diagnosis later in life is more likely.