A smaller study within the URECA cohort tested whether bacteria, measured in house dust, influence asthma risk. Researchers sorted 104 children into four groups: no wheezing or sensitivity to allergens, wheezing only, sensitivity to allergens only, or both wheezing and sensitivity to allergens. They found that children with no wheezing or sensitivity to allergens at age three were more likely to have encountered high levels of allergens and a greater variety of bacteria, particularly those belonging to the Bacteriodes and Firmicutes groups, during their first year of life. These observations support the emerging concept that early-life exposure to high bacterial diversity may protect kids from developing allergies. Most importantly, the findings show that this protection is even stronger when children also encounter high allergen levels during this time.
SV Lynch et al. Effects of early life exposure to allergens and bacteria on recurrent wheeze and atopy in urban children. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2014.04.018 (2014).
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and Peter J. Gergen, M.D., Medical Officer in the Asthma and Airway Biology Section in NIAID's Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation, are available to discuss the findings.
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