Germs protect children from asthma

08:18, February 25, 2011      

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Researchers find that children living in farms are less likely to develop asthma than those living in cities because of the exposures with a greater variety of germs.

Researchers find that children living in farms are less likely to develop asthma than those living in cities because of the exposures with a greater variety of germs.

This finding is contained in the studies published in "New England Journal of Medicine" Wednesday.

The risk of asthma decreased with an increase in the diversity of microbial exposure, according to a study on the data from 933 European children.

A possible reason is that children’s immune system has to be “educated” by bacteria to learn how to differentiate the “bad” germs from the “good” ones, said the author of study, Markus Ege of Munich University Children's Hospital in Germany.

It is also possible that some "good" germs can attack and wipe out "bad" ones in the germ-eat-germ world, said Ege.

But scientists still cannot explain precisely how farm germs protect children against disease.

This study may help scientists better understand why the risk of children’s asthma doubled in the past 30 years, said James Gern of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

About one in ten U.S. children has asthma, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Source: Xinhua/Agencies

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