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Why Amish Children Rarely Get Asthma

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Charles Houston
Aug 05, 2016 09:21
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For years, scientists have known that growing up on a farm protects children from asthma, but the reasons for this weren t entirely clear.

A fascinating comparative analysis of Amish and Hutterite farming communities has finally uncovered the specific aspects of farm life that are responsible for this built-in immune protection.

In a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center and the University of Arizona have shown that substances found in house dust in Amish homes have a profound impact on the development of the body s innate immune system in ways that protect children from asthma.

Consequently, they provide an incredible opportunity for scientists to conduct comparative analyses; the Amish and Hutterites not only share genetic ancestry, they also share similar lifestyles and customs, such as a Germanic diet, having large families, breastfeeding, drinking raw milk, not allowing indoor pets, and favouring childhood vaccinations.

The Amish still cling to traditional methods, such as living on single-family dairy farms and relying on horses for fieldwork and transportation.

Over the years, researchers have noticed a disparity in the prevalence of asthma between the two groups.

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Charles Houston
Aug 05, 2016 09:21
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