Asthma subtypes formed by epidemiological and clinical methods

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Auditorium F202 of the Faculty of Medicine

Topic of the dissertation

Asthma subtypes formed by epidemiological and clinical methods

Doctoral candidate

Medical Doctor Elina Mäkikyrö

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Population Health - Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research

Subject of study

Population Health


Professor Eva Rönmark, Umeå University - Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine


Professor Jouni J.K. Jaakkola, University of Oulu, Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research

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Asthma subtypes in Finnish population-based studies

Asthma is a heterogenous disease. Asthma patients display varying symptoms, have different clinical features, and react differently to treatment. Licentiate of Medicine Elina Mäkikyrö’s doctoral thesis focussed on forming subtypes of asthma in different Finnish population-based study populations. The subtypes were formed with consideration to the different qualities of the study populations and the different study questions.

Asthma subtypes were formed based on the persistence and onset age of childhood asthma. that the results provided evidence that having parents with asthma and allergic diseases was a risk factor for developing a more persistent type of asthma. It was also noticed that siblings with asthma increased the risk of developing asthma independently from parental asthma status. The effect of maternal asthma was strongest in childhood, while the effect of paternal asthma continued to adulthood.

In the second and third study, asthma subtypes were formed using latent class analysis. In the second study the subtypes were formed using only questionnaire data. The subtypes focused on asthma control and severity. In the third study asthma subtypes were formed using clinical data available at the time of asthma diagnosis in an adult-onset asthma population.

The subtypes formed in the second and third studies were more reliable, when formed separately among men and women. We were also able to calculate risk factor profiles for the formed subtypes. This was because the subtypes were formed using only variables describing asthma as a disease entity. In previous studies, the classification of the subtypes has also included risk factors.

Most importantly, it is possible to form meaningful asthma subtypes in many types of study populations when considering the specific qualities of the population in question and forming the study questions specifically. It is vital to study asthma subtypes even further in order to find the most suitable asthma treatment for each asthma patient early on.
Last updated: 23.1.2024