Denise Daley, PhD: Understanding the Epigenetic Clock of Asthma Patients

May 22, 2020
Kenny Walter

Kenny Walter is an editor with HCPLive. Prior to joining MJH Life Sciences in 2019, he worked as a digital reporter covering nanotechnology, life sciences, material science and more with R&D Magazine. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Temple University in 2008 and began his career as a local reporter for a chain of weekly newspapers based on the Jersey shore. When not working, he enjoys going to the beach and enjoying the shore in the summer and watching North Carolina Tar Heel basketball in the winter.

In an abstract presenting during the ATS conference, investigators find infants with asthma are surprisingly older on the epigentic clock.

The epigenetic clock could help clinicians chart the risk of infants developing asthma, according to a new study.

In an abstract originally planned for presentation at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2020 International Conference, a team, led by Denise Daley, PhD, University of British Columbia, used the Horvath age prediction algorithm to examine the predicted biological age of participants with and without asthma in a pair of cohorts based in Canada.

Much to their surprise, Daley and colleagues, discovered asthmatic children are older on the epigenetic clock at birth and at age 7 than children without asthma. On the other hand, this trend reversed at age 15 to where there was not a statistical difference between the epigenetic age and the biological age.

Daley said the investigators also confirmed that adult asthmatics are actually younger on the epigenetic clock than individuals without asthma.

Another finding from the study is a dramatic gender difference, where childhood asthmatics are mostly male, but adult asthmatics tend to trend more female. Daley explained that shift happens in late adolescence or early adulthood.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Daley explained some of the theories explaining the study results and how the study may impact treatment for asthma.