Hygiene hypothesis confirmed: house dust protects against certain diseases
It has been known for years that children who grow up on farms and thus come into contact with stable dust are less likely to suffer from allergies. However, early contact with house dust also means that people are less likely to develop atopic diseases such as asthma or neurodermatitis. This has now been confirmed in a study.
House dust protects against allergies
Various scientific studies have shown that rural life protects many children from asthma. According to health experts, this has to do with the fact that they come into contact with microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi a lot. But house dust also has a similar function; it protects city children from allergies. This also reduces the risk of neurodermatitis and asthma. This has now been confirmed in a study.
Don't overdo hygiene
Cleanliness can help keep you healthy, but hysterical hygiene should be avoided because germs protect against allergies. As the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) reports on its website "kinderaerzte-im-netz.de", US scientists were able to show that certain components in house dust can influence the risk of neurodermatitis and other allergic diseases.
Comparison of two religious groups
The researchers led by Michelle M. Stein from the University of Chicago compared people from two religious groups. On the one hand people from an Amish community in Indiana, on the other hand Hutterer from South Dakota. These two farming communities are said to be genetically and ecologically similar, with the difference that the Amish "traditional farming" continues in the family business, while the Hutterite farms are highly industrialized.
According to the BVKJ, previous studies have found that rates of atopic dermatitis, hay fever and asthma are much higher among hutterers than among Amish people.
Influence of house dust on atopic diseases
The latest study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined how often asthma and the clinical and immunological properties of atopic diseases in children were detectable in both groups, and assessed the extent to which house dust increased the risk of atopic disease ( Asthma, hay fever, neurodermatitis) increased.
It was shown that none of the 30 Amish children had asthma. However, six of the 30 Hutterer children were affected. The scientists also found that the Amish children had lower blood levels of allergen-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E and eosinophils, even though they were exposed to a similar number of allergens. The dust samples showed differences in the bacterial profiles.
Decisive part of the house dust
According to the BVKJ, it was found that any constituent in the Amish house dust could reduce the risk of atopic diseases or prevent allergic sensitization.
If the protective component in the house dust could be determined, then the authors hope that this could be a way to prevent neurodermatitis, hay fever, asthma and other allergic diseases in advance. (ad)