Asthma in Children: Management and Support

Free Asthma Canada Webinar

On Wednesday, August 22 at 1:00 pm (EST), Asthma Canada will be hosting a FREE webinar with a Registered Respiratory Therapist/Certified Asthma Educator on Asthma in Children: Management and Support.

The September back-to-school period brings a dramatic increase in hospitalizations for children living with asthma. Kids returning to school in September face increased exposure to viral infections and other asthma triggers such as dust mites and moulds. However, with correct management, most asthma-related hospitalizations can be prevented.

This webinar includes a Question & Answer session with the guest speaker, giving you the opportunity to ask an experienced Certified Asthma Educator from one of the top children’s hospitals in Canada for tips on how to prevent asthma exacerbations. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Susan Balkovec speak about asthma management in children.

What You’ll Take Away:

  • What happens when your child is diagnosed with asthma?
  • What are some best practices for managing your child’s asthma?
  • What support does a child living with asthma need in their daily life?
  • What support does a child living with asthma need in school or at the playground?

For more information and to register, visit Asthma Canada

AllerGen CHILD Study Findings Connect Infant Sleep Duration with Cognitive and Language Skill Development


AllerGen CHILD Study researchers have found that infants who regularly sleep less than 12 hours total in a 24-hour period have poorer cognitive and language skills by two years of age compared to infants who sleep more.

“Short sleep duration and symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) ranging from snoring to sleep apnea have been associated with multiple health, learning and behavioural problems in children,” says Dr. Piush Mandhane, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta and leader of the CHILD Study’s Edmonton site. “We were interested to find out if limited sleep time and sleep disruption affected cognitive and language development in preschool children. Our study found that short nighttime sleep was associated with a significant decrease in cognitive development using a standardized test of mental and motor development."

In a second study, Dr. Mandhane and the team of CHILD researchers identified four distinct types of SDB that occur in infants, along with unique risk factors associated with each.

Both studies were published in the August 2018 issue of Sleep Medicine.

For the complete story, check out the official press release here

GET-FACTS researchers identify new genes linked to food allergy

Food image.jpg

By Emily Shantz & Susan J. Elliott, on behalf of the GET-FACTS Steering Committee

GET-FACTS scientists Yuka Asai, Ann Clarke, Denise Daley and their team have published a study in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology that provides new information on how our genes may be involved in the development of peanut and other food allergies. In their study, which was funded by the Allergy, Genes and Environment (AllerGen) Network and CIHR, researchers identified several new genes linked with peanut allergy. One gene in particular, called c11orf30/EMSY, may be be especially important, as it appears to be involved in the development of not only peanut allergy, but other food allergies as well. This is the first study to identify EMSY as a potential genetic cause of food allergy.

How was this study done?

For the first part of the study, scientists analyzed DNA from 850 people with peanut allergy (from the Canadian Peanut Allergy Registry) and 926 people without. The researchers did a type of analysis known as a genome-wide association study (GWAS).  Through this type of analysis, researchers scanned each genome, or set of DNA, to try to identify genes common among people with peanut allergy, but not common among people without. Because they are found more often in allergic people, it is likely that these genes play an important role in the development of peanut allergies. Several new genes associated with peanut allergy were uncovered, including EMSY.

For the second part of the study, scientists looked at all food allergies, not just peanut. They did what’s called a ‘meta-analysis’ meaning they combined data from the Canadian population (used above) with data from six other genetic studies done in the U.S., Australia, Germany, and Holland. When the data from these studies were pooled together, it was found that the same gene - EMSY -  was also linked to other types of food allergy, besides peanut.

What does this mean? Well, essentially, it means that this gene - EMSY - is involved in peanut allergy, and this extends to food allergies in general.

Where do we go from here?

Identifying genes that are associated with food allergy is a fundamental step in understanding how food allergies develop. Once we determine how these genes work differently in food allergic patients, treatments could be developed that essentially re-direct them to act normally – thereby reversing or reducing the severity of the food allergy. The results from this study could also lead to genetic tests for food allergy. If we scan a person’s DNA and find food allergy-related genes, this could indicate that the individual is at risk for developing a food allergy. Those at risk would benefit from early intervention and better preparedness to deal with allergic reactions. Overall, this study provides an important foundation for future food allergy studies to build upon.


Asai, Y., Eslami, A., Dorien van Ginkel, C., Akhabir, L., Wan, M., Ellis, G., Ben-Shoshan, M., Martino, D., Ferreira, M. A., Allen, K., Mazer, B., de Groot, H., de Jong, N. W., Gerth van Wijk, R. N., Dubois, A. E. J., Chin, R., Cheuk, S., Hoffman, J. and Daley, D., 2017. Genome-wide association study and meta-analysis in multiple populations identifies new loci for peanut allergy and establishes c11orf30/EMSY as a genetic risk factor for food allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. In press, accepted manuscript. Published online October 10, 2017: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674917315749

AllerGen NCE, 2017. New genetic clue to peanut allergy. Published online October 10, 2017: http://allergen-nce.ca/wp-content/uploads/Daley-new-genetic-clue-peanut-allergy.pdf

New Asthma Pals Program for Kids

Asthma Society of Canada

New Asthma Pals Program for Kids

The Asthma Society of Canada (ASC) is proud to announce the Asthma Pals Mentorship Program. Developed by the University of Alberta in 2008, and following positive feedback for this program, ASC is excited to launch this support service for children with asthma across Canada.

Asthma Society of Canada - Asthma Pals Mentorship Program

The Asthma Pals Mentorship Program includes eight weekly, online social support meetings. All meetings take place over the internet, using safe and secure online meeting tools. Under the supervision of Jenna Reynolds, Director of Programs and Services, at the Asthma Society of Canada, the sessions are led by experienced peer mentors living with asthma.

The program mentors help create an inclusive and positive space for children to address any concerns, stigmas, or questions about their chronic condition. They never provide medical information. Instead, they guide the conversation, with the objective of increasing your child’s sense of belonging and confidence which can be carried through into their everyday lives.

Signing Up:
The Spring Session will run every Monday at 7PM EST from April 24 to June 19, 2017 (skipping May 22). Registration is now open with spaces being filled on a first-come first-serve basis.

EduTOX Video Challenge winner Asha Mior, 14

EduTOX winner Asha Mior shares her adventures at the 2016 World's Largest Sandbox

The day that I found out that I won the EduTOX Video Challenge, I screamed. A $1400 scholarship and a trip to Ottawa? What an opportunity! 

In early June, my family and I travelled to Ottawa to attend the World’s Largest Sandbox Event! The event, which takes place on Sparks Street in downtown Ottawa, allows parliamentarians, non-profit organizations, and local kids to come together to raise awareness of the health of Canadian children.