Winnipeg researchers leading the way in pediatric healthcare

Click to play video 'Child Health Research Days: Asthma' Child Health Research Days: Asthma
WATCH: Dr. Chris Pascoe with the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba shows us how his work studies different environmental factors that contribute to someone's risk of having asthma – Oct 2, 2018

For years now, doctors, clinical researchers and scientists at Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM) have been making big strides in child health research.

That work is front and centre right now at the 14th Annual Child Health Research Days event.

The 3-day conference brings together the best pediatric health researchers from all over the world for workshops and discussion sessions all aimed at building a healthier future for children everywhere.

WATCH: Child Health Research Days aims to further child health care

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This year’s theme is ‘how the environment impacts child health’ — meaning both the physical environment: air pollution and water quality; and the social environment: trauma and stress are being explored.

Current work includes the importance of early nutrition and how breastfeeding may lower the risk of allergies, asthma and cardio metabolic diseases.

READ MORE: Study finds breast milk sugar may help stop food allergies in babies

According to the CHRIM, not only is asthma one of the most common chronic issues among children, but it’s also a significant cause of missed school and emergency department visits.

Researchers are also studying a possible link between maternal diabetes and a child’s risk of developing asthma. Dr. Chris Pascoe said the goal is to use the findings to create policies that are aimed at reducing that risk.

“If we can understand the risks and what exposures create that risk, then we can start to develop prevention strategies and prevent the disease from occurring in the first place.”

Another big area of study is the negative effects air pollution has on the health of both children and adults. Scientists have found that exposure to environmental pollutants, such as diesel exhaust, could have long-term consequences. These effects include developing chronic diseases and compromising the body’s ability to fight off infections.

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READ MORE: Increasing levels of air pollution contribute to deteriorating mental health: study

There are over 270 pediatric medical researchers, staff and students involved in more than $10 million of research and clinical trial activity at CHRIM each year. It is the only exclusive pediatric research facility in the prairies.

Child Health Research Days wraps up Thursday, Oct. 4. More details can be found on their website.