Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

High Intestinal Microbial Diversity Safeguards Against Allergies

From the 9 December 2011 Medical News Today article

High diversity and a variety of bacteria in the gut protect children against allergies as opposed to some individual bacterial genera. These are the findings of a comprehensive study of intestinal microflora (gut flora) in allergic and healthy children, which was conducted at Linköping University in Sweden.

One hypothesis is that our immune system encounters too few bacteria during childhood, which explains the increasing proportion of allergic children. However it has been difficult to substantiate the hypothesis scientifically.

“We conducted the study in collaboration with Karolinska Institute and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology which substantiates the so-called hygiene hypothesis. Children acquire intestinal microflora from their environment, and in our society they are probably exposed to insufficient bacteria that are necessary for the immune system to mature”, says Thomas Abrahamsson, paediatric physician and a researcher at Linköping University….

It is the composition of intestinal microflora during the first weeks of life that show signs of being critical to the immune system’s development. In the absence of sufficient stimuli from many different bacteria, the system may overreact against harmless antigens in the environment, such as foods. The risk of developing asthma at school age for children afflicted by these allergies is five to six times higher. 

December 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, health, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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