Another One Bites the Dust: Kicking Asthma to the Curb

Background

In 2016, the CDC reported that 8.3% of children have asthma. Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which airways become inflamed and narrowed. The cause of asthma is unknown, but scientists suspect that genetics, infections as a child, and exposure to certain allergens or viruses may have an impact on one’s development of asthma. There is no cure for this disease, although there are medicines that can help reduce an asthmatic person’s symptoms. (NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Previous research has shown that children who grow up on traditional dairy farms have an apparent protection from asthma due to high levels of microbial exposure (Ege et al 2011). The problem is that researchers have been unable to define the exact effect that these microbes have on the immune systems of dairy farm children. Stein et al (2016) developed a protocol that would hopefully bridge the gap of the causes and effects of the dairy farm lifestyle and immunity against asthma. Continue reading “Another One Bites the Dust: Kicking Asthma to the Curb”

Could the Amish have it Right?

Asthma can be regulated by microbes.
Asthma can be regulated by microbes (credit: t3.ftcdn.net ).

 

Background: Can leading a simple traditional life correlate to health in non intuitive ways such as acting as a buffer against the development of asthma? Recent studies have shown that asthma is less prominent when microbial diversity is high (Genuneit, 2012); this trend has been observed in children involved in farming (Mutius,2010). Genuneit demonstrate that children who are exposed to farming have a 25% decreased chance of experiencing asthma (Genuneit, 2012). Logically it is sensible that the diversity of microbes would be higher in children exposed to farming, with all the dirt, hay and animals that comes with it, than children who are not exposed to that environment and live in more consistent sanitary lifestyle. In other words the diversity of a bacterial community across subjects (farm children vs. non-farm children) is much higher in children exposed to farming than those who were not. But how is such a phenomenon achieved? Continue reading “Could the Amish have it Right?”