News / Health

Early Exposure to Dirt, Dander Could Prevent Allergies, Asthma

File - Exposure to allergens such as cat dander before age one may protect against allergies and asthma, according to new research.  (Via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stark23x/">Flickr</a>
File - Exposure to allergens such as cat dander before age one may protect against allergies and asthma, according to new research. (Via Flickr

Related Articles

South Sudan Cholera Cases, Deaths on Rise

A U.N. official says 27 people have died of cholera and the number of cases has nearly doubled since last week, rising from 586 to 1,106.

US Backs New Genetic Research on Infectious Diseases

National Institutes of Health awards $25 million to back initiative to study diseases like malaria and influenza at genetic level to help find better treatments, preventive measures
VOA News
There's some new research that might not sit well with fastidious new mothers and clean-freak new fathers.

Exposure to pet dander, roach droppings and other household bacteria in the first year of life appears to reduce the chances a person will suffer from allergies or asthma, according to a new study.
 
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center found that exposure to allergens in the first year of life was important in order for exposure to be beneficial.

Previous studies had shown that children who grew up on farms are less likely to develop allergies or asthma because of their exposure to allergens,
 
"Our study shows that the timing of initial exposure may be critical," says study author Robert Wood, M.D., chief of the division of allergy and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in a statement released today. "What this tells us is that not only are many of our immune responses shaped in the first year of life, but also that certain bacteria and allergens play an important role in stimulating and training the immune system to behave a certain way."
 
Researchers hope the findings will lead to ways to prevent allergies and wheezing, which are both precursors to asthma.
 
Asthma is one of the most common pediatric illnesses, affecting some 7 million children in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 
For the study, Wood and his colleagues tracked 467 inner-city newborns from Baltimore, Boston, New York and St. Louis. Over three years, they visited them to measure levels and types of common allergens in their homes.
 
They also tested the children for allergies and wheezing using blood tests, skin-prick tests, physical exams and parental surveys.
 
They also took bacterial counts on samples of dust collected from some of the homes.
 
What they found was that children exposed to mouse and cat dander as well as cockroach droppings in their first year of life “had lower rates of wheezing at age three, compared with children not exposed to these allergens soon after birth.”
 
Researchers also found that exposure to all three was better than one, two or none.
 
Wheezing was three times more common for children not exposed to allergens compared to those who were exposed to all three.
 
A greater variety of bacteria proved better at stemming allergies and wheezing, researchers said.
 
The amount of allergens was also critical, as researchers said children free of wheezing and allergies at age three had gorwn up surrounded by the highest levels of household allergens. Forty-one percent of those without wheezing and allergies grew up in bacteria-rich homes. Only 8 percent of those who had wheezing and allergies had been exposed to allergens in their first year of life.
 
According to Wood, the children tracked in the study are now turning seven and are being checked again to see if exposure to allergens early in life was still reducing the prevalence of allergies and wheezing.
 
A report on the study was published today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Edward Yeranian from: Cairo, Egypt
June 08, 2014 9:08 AM
An Egyptian friend who is a medical doctor tells me that he frequently allows mosquitoes to bite him because it will help his immune system. I've also noticed that the flies and mosquitoes tend to avoid Egyptians, gravitating instead to foreigners.......who, one presumes, must have tastier blood. Undoubtedly, there are implications to that which deserve a study.
Edward Yeranian, Cairo


by: Nell Nockles from: London, UK
June 07, 2014 1:18 AM
Exposure to cat, and house dust mite proteins (allergens) can happen long before birth. They can be found in the 'soup' babies drink and excrete and may be protective. It all depends upon amounts, genes and maternal nutrition etc. See Professor Graham Devereux


by: youwouldthink
June 06, 2014 8:32 PM
I think the scientists are not interpreting the data right. What I think the study might actually be showing is how cleaning products and insecticides impact children's immune systems.


by: Eric from: San Francisco
June 06, 2014 6:26 PM
I grew up on a farm and was exposed to everything from bee stings to horses, family pets and various grass and plant pollen from an early age. Still had allergies and asthma so I question how valid this study is.

In Response

by: sunny
June 08, 2014 7:37 PM
There are always deviant cases in studies, since not everyone is the exact same. The article also says that "children who grew up on farms are less likely to develop allergies or asthma"-- less likely.. that doesn't mean that it definitely won't happen. It just means that there were less cases of allergies and asthma in the test population of children who grew up on farms.

In Response

by: Jon from: Boston
June 07, 2014 4:38 AM
Take a statistics class. You are an N of 1.


by: Russell Utoft
June 06, 2014 6:26 PM
This has been known for a long time. I was brought in the late 40s and 50s and I don't remember that many kids having the allergies that kids have today. But what is the answer ?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid