Clean living could be making people sicker

Mar 06, 2008

U.S. researchers say modern living appears to be leading to an increase in allergies and immune system diseases.

The Washington Post said many allergies and immune-system diseases have doubled and even quadrupled in the last few decades, with more than half of the U.S. population reporting an allergy.

The increases show up mainly in highly developed countries, researchers said. One theory, known as the hygiene hypothesis, blames increased allergies on cleaner homes, increased air pollution and changes in diet. Obesity and lack of exercise may also play a role.

In an effort to counteract the effects of modern living, some scientists are feeding high-risk children small amounts of allergy-inducing foods to train the immune system not to overreact, the newspaper said. A University of Iowa researcher is treating patients with multiple sclerosis and colitis with parasitic worms.

"If you look at the incidence of these diseases, a lot of them began to emerge and become much more common after parasitic worm diseases were eliminated from our environment," Robert Summers told the Post. "We believe they have a profound symbiotic effect on developing and maintaining the immune system."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Newport's Cliff Walk by Gilded Age mansions now smoke-free

Related Stories

The bug that lost a few genes to become Black Death

May 27, 2014

About 6,000 years ago, a bacterium underwent a few genetic changes. These allowed it to expand its habitat from the guts of mice to that of fleas. Such changes happen all the time, but in this particular ...

Recommended for you

Noise from fireworks threatens young ears

Jul 03, 2015

(HealthDay)—The Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebrations and beautiful fireworks displays. But, parents do need to take steps to protect their children's ears from loud fireworks, a hearing expert ...

Many new teen drivers 'crash' in simulated driving task

Jul 03, 2015

(HealthDay)—Around four in 10 newly licensed teen drivers "crashed" in a simulated driving test, suggesting that many adolescents lack the skills they need to stay safe on the road, according to a new study.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
not rated yet Mar 06, 2008
Hormesis or homeopathy? The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.