Farm children breath easier
Mucking out the stables, bottle feeding babies and chasing the chickens, maybe “dirty” work, but kids growing up on farms, have a significantly lower incidence of asthma, than children growing up in rural towns and big cities.
Understanding why, could bring relief to the growing number of children facing this chronic illnesses.
So what is in lungfuls of farm air ?
Well this is the question that researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet asked.
The team, took a peek inside the bedrooms of children living in a rural area of Bavaria. Some bedrooms were located on farms, while others were in rural villages.
Each bedroom was swabbed, to collect a dollop of dust. The dust sample was then taken to the lab for analysis. Since many bacteria and fungi don’t like labs, some fancy molecular biology work was performed so that the DNA in the sample was decoded. The DNA is able to show exactly who is living in the dust.
Both bedrooms had bacteria and fungi – maybe a little disconcerting to all those Mom’s who strive to create sterile home environments.
However, the farm bedrooms, had a lot more bugs in terms of the varieties. Among the residents were Staphylococcus sciuri and fungi of the genus Eurotium.
The “bugs” are guardians of the airways
The results suggest that the bugs we’re breathing in – maybe doing more than simply riding the airways in and out of our lungs. They’re keeping the immune system in check, stopping “bad bugs” from precipitating asthma.
Exactly how is still a matter of speculation.
It could be specific bugs in the crowd, working their magic or just the size of the crowd, which makes it hard for “bad” guys to get going and launch an asthma attack.
But cultivating good microflora in the respiratory tract seems to be the way to go to beat asthma.
In the future, we may be purchasing inhalers loaded with specific species of bacteria and fungi, to keep our lungs clear and open, much like it is possible to purchase probiotic pills today.
But, in the mean time, try to suck in some country air on a regular basis. Get outdoors, somewhere “dirty” and tend the garden of micoflora stopping over in the deep recesses of your respiratory tract, so that you breath a little easier.
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