Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How ‘dirt’ could educate the immune system and help treat asthma

05.09.2005


Scientists believe that knowing exactly which type of dirt provides the best ‘education’ for the immune system, could be key to providing new treatments for diseases such as asthma.



Speaking at the launch of the BA Festival of Science today, Professor Peter Openshaw, explains that a lack of exposure to dirt and common viral infections among children could be behind the rise in the levels of asthma.

Professor Openshaw, from Imperial College London, and based at St Mary’s Hospital, says: “Although we have seen a dramatic decline in many previously common childhood infections over the past 100 years, we have also seen a considerable rise in the prevalence of diseases such as asthma. The increase in asthma cannot be blamed purely on changes in genetic risk, so must be down to environmental factors.”


Scientists have called this the ‘hygiene’ hypothesis, with a lack of exposure to viruses and other environmental factors meaning children are not able to build up resistance, and can become more susceptible to disease later in life. They also believe having many older siblings, attending day care at an early age, or growing up on a farm can help in promoting resistance to disease.

Studies have shown that most common colds can help protect against wheezing in later childhood, and other childhood infections such as chickenpox also provide a level of protection.

Professor Openshaw adds: “The challenge now is to find ways of reproducing the protective effects of early childhood infections, while reducing the burden of actually getting these infectious diseases. Knowing exactly which ‘dirt’ provides the best education for the immune system, and how to mimic its affects in a cleaner environment, could be the key to reducing the rise in the prevalence of asthma and related diseases.”

Professor Openshaw is a respiratory medicine researcher, looking at immunological responses to diseases such as asthma, the common cold and other lung diseases.

Tony Stephenson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>