Nature Versus Allergies

Is nature our best defense against allergies? For those of you who experience allergies I expect the answer is a resounding “NO!” Dust and pollen allergies are unpleasant experiences and it seems rather counter-intuitive to think more exposure to plants would lessen the effects of these allergies. However, a new study done in Finland is saying just that. In this study it was found that people who grow up in more bio-diverse, rural, environments have a lessened chance of developing allergies.
Ikka Hanski, an ecologist at the University of Helsinki, believes that the reason for these results is tied to the types and number of microbes present in rural residents’ bodies. When compared to their urban counterparts it was found that rural residents, or people living with more diverse plant species, had a much more diverse array of microbes in their bodies. These microbes are thought to help protect their host from developing allergies.
This study is an interesting take on how we could possibly avoid allergies in the future, and is worth looking into in more depth. For more information check out this awesome article on Wired.com detailing the study.

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