By JR on Saturday, November 05, 2011
Prof. Bisgaard has written a lot in this area so one can understand that he might be reluctant to let go of his theory but it is disturbing that he seems to have misled the journalist writing below.
As far as I can tell, the relevant journal article is "Reduced diversity of the intestinal microbiota during infancy is associated with increased risk of allergic disease at school age" but the findings in that article are NOT what is intimated below.
Bisgaard found in fact that bacterial count did NOT affect asthma. The only effect he found is that kids with a lot of bugs in them get less hay fever!
The theory that letting kids get dirty activates their immune system and protects them from auto-immune disease is a popular one and Prof. Bisgaard is hanging on to it, but there are strong indications against it. Australian Aborigines in Aboriginal settlements live in notoriously dirty conditions but have HIGH rates of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes. It's time Bisgaard faced the facts
Parents have long suspected letting their children get a bit dirty won’t do them any harm – even if the modern health and safety police say otherwise. And according to scientists, that parental instinct was right all along.
Their developing immune systems are exposed to a greater variety of bacteria than those of their cleaner counterparts, so they can cope better when germs are encountered later in life.
One in four of us now suffers from some kind of allergy, a figure that has risen in recent decades – as parents have become more worried about hygiene.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen studied 411 children for 12 years from birth, and identified a direct link between the number of different bacteria found in their bodies and the risk of developing allergies later in life.
Professor Hans Bisgaard, who led the study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, said: ‘What matters is to encounter a large number of different bacteria early in life when the immune system is developing and 'learning'. ‘Our new findings match the discoveries we have made in the fields of asthma and hay fever.’