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Medicine Science

Exposure to Wide Variety of Microbes May Reduce Allergies 120

sciencehabit writes "A new study reveals that people who grow up in more rural environments are less likely to develop allergies. The reason may be that environments rich with species harbor more friendly microbes, which colonize our bodies and protect against inflammatory disorders." From the article: "To test whether or not biodiversity does indeed create a shield against such conditions, the team investigated the microbial diversity of 118 teenagers. The study participants, who had lived in the same houses their whole lives, were chosen at random from a 100-by-150-kilometer block in eastern Finland. Some kids lived on rural, isolated farms, while others lived in larger towns. ... surveyed all of the types of plants growing around the adolescents' homes. The participants were part of a separate long-term allergy study, so the researchers took advantage of that data to investigate the connection between biodiversity and allergies. ... Whether there is just something special about Finland's native plants or whether this finding can be applied around the world is still an open question, Hanski says. 'Many research groups worldwide could easily attain these data from their study populations, and then we'd know how general these results might be.'"
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Exposure to Wide Variety of Microbes May Reduce Allergies

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  • by overbaud ( 964858 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @03:15AM (#39924755)
    Are also less likely to come into contact with carcinogens in their food, air and water.
  • by samjam ( 256347 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @03:21AM (#39924793) Homepage Journal

    Clearly the human body sets strict targets for pathogens identified and the immune system is pushed to find enough pathogens, even finding subversive and insurgents among friendly substances, even in itself, if that is what is required to meet the targets.

    We see the same thing in the operation of government and security forces. We see similar bad behaviour as education and health systems struggle to meet centrally set targets and commence a path of undesirable behaviour in order to meet the target and obtain the incentive.

  • Re:Hrumph. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @04:46AM (#39925149) Homepage Journal

    If only there was some kind of compromise position - let's call it a "happy medium" - between living in hermetic sterility and getting cholera.

  • Re:Hrumph. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @05:22AM (#39925309) Homepage Journal

    The risk/benefit seems to strongly favor water purification, but it seems we are going too far in other things these days. It's likely a natural outcome of the pervasive free floating fear in our culture today.

  • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @05:27AM (#39925323) Homepage

    Are also less likely to come into contact with carcinogens in their food, air and water.

    Load of freaking shit. Until I was born my family was a farming family for a few generations, I still have a few friends in the business. One who does cattle(milk) 15k head(family owned), and another that does rotational crops from soy, corn and hay, to more rare stuff like ginseng and hemp. Sorry, but you get exposed to all sorts of really, really nasty stuff. On the field, and at your dinner plate. Because honestly, you're buying exactly the same stuff more often than not that everyone else does.

    On the upside, you also get exposed to just about everything that nature can throw at you before it hits the slaughterhouse too. From cowpox to chicken based colds to whatever else. And you're not cooped up inside for 18hrs a day(unless it's winter), which really helps.

  • Re:Explains (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @05:32AM (#39925343) Homepage Journal

    Nonsense. We have not had medicine (that works) long enough to see a significant effect from natural selection.

    Most of the problems are a result of our culture of fear and wrapping children in a protective cocoon. It is proven, for example that prenatal exposure to peanut proteans helps to prevent peanut allergies. As a result of mothers in the U.K. following bad advice and avoiding all peanut products during their pregnancy, there was an explosion of peanut allergies.

    Meanwhile, the strategy of total avoidance of anything that provokes even the slightest reaction has lead to a lot of mild allergies never being desensitized.

    Meanwhile, most allergies are of the minor itching or redness sort, not the OMG where is the epi-pen type, but you'd never know it from the media reports.

  • Re:Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @05:35AM (#39925353) Homepage Journal

    You'd be amazed how much medicine is "old doctor's tales" or the result of taking advertising claims at face value.

    At any rate, this particular set of "old wives tales" seems to be backed by modern scientific evidence, from the study in TFA and others.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM