Sunday, May 4, 2008

Are We TOO Clean?

Some scientists think our mania for germ-free environments may account for the skyrocketing rates of allergies and asthma.
Although no one knows why the incidence of allergies and asthma is skyrocketing in this country, a leading theory holds that the Western world is simply too clean. Some researchers call this the hygiene theory. One researcher, Marc E. Rothenberg, M.D., Ph.D., section chief of allergy and clinical immunology at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati, calls it the delinquency theory, as in the immune system has so little to do that it turns into a kind of physiological “juvenile delinquent,” just itching to get into trouble. It’s a much-studied theory: Since 1997, scientists have published more than 6,000 research reports examining the apparent links between civilized living and allergies and asthma. Read more

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