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Microbes Help Children Breathe Easily? Bacteria and Fungi May Offer Protection Against Asthma, Study Suggests

Date: 28.2.2011 

Children who grow up on farms are less likely to suffer from asthma than other rural children. An international team of researchers including Dr. Markus Ege and Professor Erika von Mutius at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) has published a large-scale study that now indicates that this may be due to differences in the spectrum of microbes the two groups are likely to encounter. This findings suggest that certain microorganisms may protect against the disease.

Several studies published over the past few years have shown that children living on farms are significantly less likely to develop asthma than others. Scientists from Medical Center of the University of Munich have just published an epidemiological study that confirms this finding.

The physiological mechanisms underlying the effect remain to be elucidated, but the investigators have identified several species that might be responsible for the reduction in asthma risk.



Original Paper:

Markus J. Ege, Melanie Mayer, Anne-Cécile Normand, Jon Genuneit, William O.C.M. Cookson, Charlotte Braun-Fahrländer, Dick Heederik, Renaud Piarroux, Erika von Mutius. Exposure to Environmental Microorganisms and Childhood Asthma. New England Journal of Medicine, 2011; 364 (8): 701 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1007302




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