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Allergies Less Common in Farm Kids, Swedish Study

Update Date: Jul 09, 2014 02:32 PM EDT
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Growing up on a dairy farm can significantly decrease the risk of allergies, according to new research.

Researchers said the latest findings suggest that the dramatic rise in the rates of allergic diseases in Western societies suggest that not being exposed to microorganisms may be the reason.

Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy and University of Gothenburg looked at data from a sample of Swedish children living in the rural areas of the Västra Götaland Region. Researchers noted that half of these children were raised on farms that produced milk.

After analyzing the study data, researchers discovered that children raised on dairy farms were significantly less likely to develop allergies compared to other children.

"Our study also demonstrated for the first time that delayed maturation of the immune system, specifically B-cells, is a risk factor for development of allergies," researcher Anna-Carin Lundell said in a news release.

"We need to identify the specific factors on dairy farms that strengthen protection against allergies and appear to promote maturation of the immune system as early as the fetal stage," Lundell said.

The findings were published June 13 in The Journal of Immunology.

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