It seems that the current “allergy epidemic” is due not so much to an increase in allergenic risk factors as to the disappearance of factors protecting people against allergies. The human immune system has not had the time to adapt to the rapid changes in the urban environment and way of life.
These are the conclusions of Professor Tari Haahtela and his research team, who have been studying allergies in Finnish and Russian Karelia. Their project is part of the Academy’s Microbes and Man Research Programme, the evaluation of which has just been completed.
The research was concerned with the prevalence of allergic diseases in Finnish and Russian Karelia as well as risk factors in schoolchildren and their mothers. The prevalence of atopic allergy was determined by skin prick tests and by measuring serum antibodies. Other data were collected by questionnaires.
In Finland, the risk of allergic predisposition in children is four times and in mothers 2.4 times greater than in Russia. There are also marked country differences in the prevalence of allergic diseases (asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic eczema). Both in children and mothers their prevalence was significantly higher in Finland than in Russia. In an examination of generational differences it was found that children in Finland had more allergies than mothers, whereas in Russia the opposite was true. This suggests that the “allergy epidemic” in Finland is still ongoing, whereas in Russian Karelia it has hardly started.
Parental allergic disease was identified as a risk factor for allergies in children in both regions. Protective factors included farming as the family’s main source of livelihood as well as having pets, especially in early childhood. In part these results lend support to earlier observations, in part they contradict them. An environment rich in microbes seems to generate widespread tolerance against various environmental allergens. In Russian Karelia, atopic allergy, an indirect indicator of westernization, has not increased during the past few generations.
Niko Rinta | alfa
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy