Published: 01-04-2015 09:37 | Updated: 07-04-2015 13:38

Dissertation 17 April, 2015: Anne Örtqvist "Early life origins of asthma - genetic and environmental factors in twin and kin"

On April 17 Anne Örtqvist will defend her thesis "Early life origins of asthma - genetic and environmental factors in twin and kin". The opponent is Professor Seif Shaheen, Blizard Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine and her supervisors are Catarina Almqvist Malmros, Paul Lichtenstein and Weimin Ye.

During the last decades there has been an upsurge of studies investigating how early life exposures may affect subsequent health outcomes in childhood. For instance, low birth weight and exposure to antibiotics during fetal or early life have been suggested to increase the risk of childhood asthma. Twin- and sibling comparisons can help to account for confounding factors shared within families and to shed light on potential causal pathways.

Anne’s thesis examines among other things the association between low birth weight and asthma in childhood, if intrauterine growth influences the lung function in childhood and if a possible connection is influenced by asthma. Further, she has done a validation study on measurements of på asthma in medical records retrieved from the Swedish Health Registers. The fourth study examines the possible association between exposure to antibiotics in fetal and early life and childhood asthma.
In conclusion, Anne found that shared genetic and environmental factors contributed to the association between antibiotics and asthma, but not between fetal growth and asthma and lung function, respectively. Genetically informed designs to control for familial confounding are useful tools to help provide a clearer understanding of the etiology of asthma. In addition, asthma identified from population-based registers can be used as a validated outcome measure and contribute towards future studies on asthma using register-based data.

Time and place: 09:00 am, 17 April 2015 in the lecture hall Petrén, Nobels väg 12B, Solna Campus.