Dirt prevents allergy?

New research on the “hygiene hypothesis”.

From a University of Copenhagen media release:

In our study of over 400 children we observed a direct link between the number of different bacteria in their rectums and the risk of development of allergic disease later in life,” says Professor Hans Bisgaard, consultant at Gentofte Hospital, head of the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood, and professor of children’s diseases at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

“Reduced diversity of the intestinal microbiota during infancy was associated with increased risk of allergic disease at school age, he continues. But if there was considerable diversity, the risk was reduced, and the greater the variation, the lower the risk.

Could the hygiene hypothesis help explain why child asthma rates seem to have increased over the past 20 years — as opposed to the EPA/enviros contention that air pollution, which has been on a dramatic decline during the same period, is the cause?

Click for the University of Copenhagen media release.

6 thoughts on “Dirt prevents allergy?”

  1. Cog, let’s not be derogatory. This is evidence for a hypothesis that has been widely held for a long time (I grew up with this explanation for allergies), but little-tested. I welcome it

  2. Wow; wot an amazing concept!
    Golly, I’ve just had a ripper of an idea.
    Imagine this for a left side concept; if it was possible to attenuate say, the rabies virus so it wasn’t lethal, and it was injected into a victim after they’ve been bitten by a rabid animal but before they had experienced any symptoms, maybe the victim’s immune system might be able to develop a response to prevent a fatal outcome
    In fact, this might apply to lots of other diseases like measles and stuff, and maybe even other pathogens too, like global warming
    I don’t care how much of the (Dane’s) public purse was spent on Prof Bisgaard; he clearly deserves every last zac, and in fact if it was up to me I’d tell him take another gorilla (or two) from the till and take the rest of the afternoon off so’s he could think about curing polio or small pox too

  3. This is a Sound Hypothesis. In my biased opinion!

    Back in the 1960s when I was studying biomedical sciences I was introduced to a text book by Sir McFarlaine Laing (spelling may be inaccurate) – “Self and Not Self” – dealing (obviously) with immunology. It was not mandatory reading, so being a rebellious student I decided to read it. Ever since then I have espoused the same conclusion: more hygeine = more immune system over-reactions.

    It’s bloody obvious really. The human immune system has been developed over tens of thousands of years. Untill ~100 yrs ago it has always had to be on full alert.

    Starved now of sufficient challenges the immune army is full of testsoterone with no full-time enemy. So it runs amok – it has a low IQ but lots of weopons. “Zap that pollen grain men!!” “Lactose? Leave him to me Sergeant!”

    Athsma, Hay Fever, possibly also Food intollerance are, in my hypothesis, all exaccerbated by over-zealous hygeine and cotten wool treatment of anyone in the developed world through “well-meaning” politicians who know four-fifths of five-eighths of FA about real science.

    It’s the law of Unintended Consequences. Conclusion – let kids play in the dirt, eat worms, fall over – and grow up healthy and allergy-free.

    Apologies for any spilling errerts

  4. Formula for a healthy child:
    One mud-puddle.
    Add a dog, cat, bird, white rat, hamster, lizard, etc as situation arises. Hose off child occasionally but don’t otherwise fret if they get dirty and/or stick things into their mouths. Occasional cuts and bruises are to be expected and usually require nothing more than a band-aid if at all, and certainly not a visit to the emergency room.
    Child will be absurdly healthy overall.
    Works every time
    Just a thought.
    VicB3

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