ASTHMA rates among children living in the pollution-free Scottish Highlands are running at 14 per cent - a figure as high as that found in urban areas, according to a new study. Researchers from the Royal Northern Infirmary, Inverness, and the University of Aberdeen found that prevalence of the disease among 12-year-olds was even higher in Skye, one of the most rural areas in Britain. Writing in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, they suggest that poverty in the Highlands and a wet climate are possible causes.