Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Has Decreased Infection Load Of Infants Led To Increased Allergic And Autoimmune Diseases?

Date:
May 29, 2008
Source:
University of Helsinki
Summary:
The starting point of the hygiene hypothesis is that the decreasing infection load of infants in the developed countries leads to an increase in allergic and autoimmune diseases. Such development has been observed practically in all industrialized countries after the Second World War. Now an extensive research project begins to establish how the living environment affects the development and maturation of a child's immune system.

The starting point of the hygiene hypothesis is that the decreasing infection load of infants in the developed countries leads to an increase in allergic and autoimmune diseases. Such development has been observed practically in all industrialized countries after the Second World War. Now an extensive research project begins to establish how the living environment affects the development and maturation of a child's immune system.

High living standards and the life style connected to them seem to promote the development of autoimmune diseases and allergic symptoms. This has lead to the assumption that the immune system begins to overreact to the organism's own structures or to exogenous non-infectious proteins, i.e. allergens, when it does not have to work hard enough to protect the individual from infections.

The European Union with its Seventh Framework Program has allocated 6 million euros to the University of Helsinki coordinated DIABIMMUNE research project for the years 2008-2013 to establish whether the decrease in the infection load is connected to type 1 diabetes and the emergence of allergies.

The project comprises 12 partners from five countries. The study will include 7 000 children from Finland, Estonia and Russian Karelia in northwestern Russia. In each country the study will follow more than 300 children from birth to their 3rd birthday. In addition, the research will focus on 2 000 children from their third to fifth birthdays.

"Earlier we have studied autoimmune phenomena and allergic responses in Finnish and Russian Karelian school children. Now we are to study infants and toddlers in order to yield new information on the maturation of the immune system and the interaction between the immune system and the environment", says Professor Mikael Knip from the University of Helsinki.

Based on earlier studies it is known that the incidence of type 1 diabetes is six times higher and the prevalence of celiac disease five times higher among Finnish children than among Russian Karelian children. The HLA gene variants that predispose people to autoimmune diseases are however approximately equally common in both populations. The studies have also revealed that Russian Karelian school children have helicobacter antibodies as signs of earlier infections 15 times more often, Toxoplasma antibodies five times more often, and hepatitis A antibodies 12 times more often than Finnish children. Karelian children also have considerably more often antibodies against the Coxsackie B4 virus, belonging to the enterovirus group, than Finnish children have.

"The differences in the frequency of autoimmune phenomena and allergic responses between Finland and Russian Karelia cannot be due to genetic causes. High living standards and the associated life style appear to promote the development of autoimmune diseases and allergic responses", Knip says.

The DIABIMMUNE project focuses for example on the development of the intestinal bacterial flora after birth and the effect the living environment has on the composition of the bacterial flora. The research also studies the effect infections have on the maturation of the human immune system and the operation of the white blood cells that regulate immune responses. In addition, the researchers study whether the protection conferred by infections against autoimmune and allergic responses is associated with the overall infection load or due to specific microbes. The project also examines the effect of the child's nutrition on the maturation of the immune system, the intestinal bacterial flora and the occurrence of infections.

"The diseases we are studying are the most common chronic diseases in children and their impact, both societal and medical, is vast. We are searching for ways to stop these diseases from becoming more frequent and to prevent their development", Knip says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Helsinki. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Helsinki. "Has Decreased Infection Load Of Infants Led To Increased Allergic And Autoimmune Diseases?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080528095732.htm>.
University of Helsinki. (2008, May 29). Has Decreased Infection Load Of Infants Led To Increased Allergic And Autoimmune Diseases?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080528095732.htm
University of Helsinki. "Has Decreased Infection Load Of Infants Led To Increased Allergic And Autoimmune Diseases?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080528095732.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins