Dirt prevents allergy

Research by scientists at the University of Copenhagen has explored the association of intestinal microbiota in infants with the development of atopic disorders until 6 years of age. Four hundred and eleven children whose mothers have asthma and were part of the Copenhagen Prospective Study on Asthma in Childhood were involved in the study, and followed from birth to age six with clinical assessments at 6 month intervals.

Bacterial flora were analysed at 1 and 12 months of age. The main outcome measures were the development of allergic sensitisation (measured by skin testing and specific serum IgE), allergic rhinitis, peripheral blood eosinophil counts, asthma and atopic dermatitis (AD) during the first six years of life.

Reduced bacterial diversity at age 1 month and 12 months was associated with an increased risk of allergic sensitisation, allergic rhinitis, and peripheral blood eosinophilia, but not with asthma or AD, in the first six years of life. These results support the general hypothesis that an imbalance of flora in the intestine is influencing the development of lifestyle-related disorders such as allergic disease.

Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

First published in November 2011

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