Research Projects



Currentright arrow Completedright arrow


Currentright arrow Completedright arrow


Currentright arrow Completedright arrow

Asthma and atopy in farmers' children and their parents

The aims of this project are:

  1. To measure the prevalence of respiratory symptoms (with the focus on asthma) in farmers' children and their parents, and in a comparison group from a non-farming population (Phase I).
  2. To compare the prevalence of respiratory symptoms in children and parents in various types of farming (dairy, sheep & beef, and crop farming) (Phase I).
  3. To measure the prevalence of atopy in a sample of children and their parents (farming and non-farming) in order to ascertain whether any protective effect of farming involves atopic mechanisms (Phase II).
  4. To measure relevant environmental exposure in a sample of households (farming and non-farming) including house dust allergen and endotoxin, and to examine their association with the occurrence of atopy and asthma, while adjusting for other risk factors for asthma (Phase II).
  5. To study the immune status of babies born on farms, and control babies (Phase III).


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Brooks C, Brogan S, van Dalen C, Lampshire P, Crane J, Douwes J. Measurement of Exhaled Nitric Oxide in a General Population Sample: A Comparison of the Medisoft HypAir FENO and Aerocrine NIOX Analyzers. J Asthma, 2011; 48(4): 324-8. link icon
Douwes J, Brooks C, Pearce N. Protective effects of farming on allergies and asthma: have we learnt anything since 1873? Expert Rev Clin Immunol, 2009; 5(3): 213-9. link icon
Simpson J, Brooks C, Douwes J. Innate immunity in asthma. Paediatr Respir Rev, 2008; 9(4): 263-70. link icon
Brooks C, Pearce N, Douwes J. The hygiene hypothesis in allergy and asthma: an update. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol, 2013; 13(1): 70-77.
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Douwes J, Brooks C, van Dalen C, Pearce N. Importance of allergy in asthma: an epidemiologic perspective. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep, 2011; 11(5): 434-44.
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Brooks C, Siebers R, Crane J, Noss I, Wouters I, Sander I, Raulf-Heimsoth M, Thorne P, Metwali N, Douwes J. Measurement of β-(1,3)-glucan in household dust samples using Limulus amebocyte assay and enzyme immunoassays: an inter-laboratory comparison. Environ Sci Process Impacts, 2013; 15(2): 405-411.
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Fix J, Annesi-Maesano I, Baldi I, Boulanger M, Cheng S, Cortes S, Dalphin J, Aqiel Dalvie M, Degano B, Douwes J, Eduard W, Elholm G, Ferreccio C, Harding A, Jeebhay M, Kelly K, Kromhout H, MacFarlane E, Maesano C, Mitchell D, Mwanga H, Naidoo S, Negatu B, Ngajilo D, Nordby K, Parks C, Schenker M, Shin A, Sisgaard T, Sim M, Soumagne T, Thorne P, Yoo K, Hoppin J. Gender differences in respiratory health outcomes among farming cohorts around the globe: findings from the AGRICOH consortium. J Agromedicine, 2021; 26(2): 97-108. link icon

July 2002


  • Professor Graham Le Gros
  • Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
  • Dr Joanna McKenzie
  • Massey University Veterinary Epicentre
  • Dr Erika von Mutius
  • University Children's Hospital, Munich, Germany


  • Health Research Council of New Zealand