There are perks and drawbacks to every environment, but it seems that farm life will keep your children asthma and allergy free, so the more rural surroundings are certainly winning in terms of health. A new study has uncovered a link between farm dust and respiratory problems, which might lead to innovative preventive measures in the future.
The advantages of living the urban life are well known. They keep us well into the center of technology, everything is closer, faster, and there are ample amounts of choice activities we can indulge in a city.
The farm life is a bit simpler, often a little more isolated from high-end technology, and it would take quite a trip if you want to engage in popular spare time hobbies that require more than vast empty spaces, fresh air and healthier food.
Researchers at Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB) in Belgium, that commonly investigates life sciences, and Ghent University, have managed to find an accurate causal relationship between conditions such as asthma and allergies with prolonged exposure to farm dust.
They examined a number of 2,000 participants, all of which grew up on farms, and inquired about the aforementioned medical health issues. Most of them suffered from neither asthma or allergies, problems that are often common for people living in populated cities. Those who were afflicted were the subject of their study.
According to professor of pulmonary medicine in Ghent University, Bart Lambrecht, those who lived in rural areas and still presented with a tendency toward developing asthma or allergies, had a generic variant the A20 gene, which led the A20 protein to malfunction.
They have found that the body naturally produces the much needed A20 protein when it comes into contact with farm dust, which provides with ample amounts of protection against a few respiratory conditions. In fact, they took the study further by conducting an experiment on mice, and exposing them to farm dust from Germany and Switzerland.
The results showed that the extract made the rodents far better protected from common allergens, such as house dust mite. Due to the A20 protein in farm dust, the “mucous membrane inside the respiratory tracts react less severely to allergens”, according to the study. The exposure actively helped the body develop a much milder reaction to common causes of allergies.
According to professor Hamida Hammad at Ghent University, when the A20 protein went inactive in mice, its protection was invalidated, so their bodies were not able to reduce the reactions to allergens.
These findings pose as a significant breakthrough, and bring the medical community closer to developing a vaccine that might prevent the development of both allergies and asthma. It’s still years away, but they’re certainly stepping forward in making a preventable treatment possible.
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