Protection against asthma and atopy in children brought up on farms was confirmed in a recent study. The investigation showed that children living on farms suffered less as a result of outdoor allergens than the control group.
The prevention of allergies in animals can be achieved through the inhalation of microbial products. At present it is not certain if these findings can be extrapolated to humans. However, researchers have discovered that the children of farmers brought in up in surroundings rich in microbial matter form an ideal 'natural' model. This model can be used for studying the phenomenon of allergy prevention in people.
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The research has provided a body of information regarding variation in the prevalence of atopic disease between children from farms and non-farm children in rural areas. This set of data is believed to be unique throughout the world. It has highlighted new insights into the role of lifestyle, genetic factors and other determinants. It has provided a great opportunity for future epidemiological studies.