A research team from the University at Buffalo and the University of Texas, Dallas are beginning a study to determine whether treating a depressed caregiver will improve the child’s asthma.
The findings could have major implications for the way children with asthma are treated. The researchers say the findings also eventually may reduce health disparities in child asthma because there is a higher percentage of depressed caregivers among children with asthma from minority and socio-economically disadvantaged groups.
The researchers are recruiting 200 families for the study through Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (WCHOB) and UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. The study will involve screening caregivers of children with asthma for depression and offering treatment for those who are depressed. It builds on a previous pilot study that suggested a connection between caregiver depression and worsening asthma in children.
“We are hypothesizing that an improvement in the caregiver’s depression will lead to a subsequent improvement in the child’s asthma,” said Bruce Miller, MD and Beatrice Wood, PhD, both professors of psychiatry and pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, co-founders and directors of the Center for Child and Family Asthma Studies at WCHOB, and principal investigators on the grant. Miller sees patients through UBMD Psychiatry.
Heather K. Lehman, MD, associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, is a co-investigator. She has been working with Miller and Wood for several years and is developing a collaborative research program to continue studies examining the interplay between depression and child asthma. She sees patients through UBMD Pediatrics. E. Sherwood Brown, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center, is also principal investigator on this study.