Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Growing up on livestock farm halves risk of inflammatory bowel diseases

Date:
July 11, 2014
Source:
Aarhus University
Summary:
The incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases is rising sharply -- particularly among young people. However, new research indicates that growing up on a livestock farm may have a protective effect. "It is extremely exciting that we can now see that not only allergic diseases, but also more classic inflammatory diseases appear to depend on the environment we are exposed to early in our lives," says one expert.

New research conducted at Aarhus University has revealed that people who have grown up on a farm with livestock are only half as likely as their urban counterparts to develop the most common inflammatory bowel diseases: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The study findings have recently been published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

"It is extremely exciting that we can now see that not only allergic diseases, but also more classic inflammatory diseases appear to depend on the environment we are exposed to early in our lives," relates Vivi Schlünssen, Associate Professor in Public Health at Aarhus University.

Greater difference over the past 60 years

The study indicates that people born after 1952 who spent the first five years of their lives on a livestock farm are much better protected against the common inflammatory bowel diseases than the oldest people in the survey. In fact, results from the oldest age group seem to show that it made no difference whether the subjects grew up in town or country.

"This leads us to believe that there is a correlation between the rise in inflammatory bowel diseases and increasing urbanization, given that more and more children are growing up in urban settings," adds Signe Timm, PhD student at Aarhus University.

"We know that development of the immune system is finalized in the first years of our lives, and we suspect that environmental influences may have a crucial effect on this development. The place where you grow up may therefore influence your risk of developing an inflammatory bowel disease later in life."

Variation of bacteria may have an effect

The new study does not reveal why the difference between growing up in a modern city and a rural setting has an effect on the immune system. However, the researchers have a theory that the body may be dependent on exposure to a wide variety of microorganisms to develop a healthy immune system -- in the same way as has been established in studies on allergies and asthma.

"We know that the difference in the microbial environment between city and country has increased over the past century, and that we are exposed to far fewer different bacteria in urban environments today than we were previously. This may in part explain our findings," says Signe Timm.

Is the protection hereditary?

More than 50,000 Danes suffer from ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. These conditions are now often appearing in young people, who have to live with them for the rest of their lives. Over the past 40-50 years, incidence of the diseases has sky-rocketed in Northern Europe -- including Denmark -- as well as in Canada and the United States, although they are still relatively rare in developing countries.

As a part of her PhD project, Signe Timm will be contacting the 20,000 or so children of the participants in the current study to establish whether the same tendencies can be found in the next generation. She will also be investigating whether the effect of environmental influences can be handed down to the next generation as a result of a complex interplay between genes and the environment -- i.e. if children can 'inherit', so to speak, the protective effect their parents have obtained from growing up on a farm with livestock.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Signe Timm, Cecilie Svanes, Christer Janson, Torben Sigsgaard, Ane Johannessen, Thorarinn Gislason, Rain Jogi, Ernst Omenaas, Bertil Forsberg, Kjell Torén, Mathias Holm, Lennart Bråbäck, Vivi Schlünssen. Place of upbringing in early childhood as related to inflammatory bowel diseases in adulthood: a population-based cohort study in Northern Europe. European Journal of Epidemiology, 2014; 29 (6): 429 DOI: 10.1007/s10654-014-9922-3

Cite This Page:

Aarhus University. "Growing up on livestock farm halves risk of inflammatory bowel diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140711101347.htm>.
Aarhus University. (2014, July 11). Growing up on livestock farm halves risk of inflammatory bowel diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140711101347.htm
Aarhus University. "Growing up on livestock farm halves risk of inflammatory bowel diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140711101347.htm (accessed September 14, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) — Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) — The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Care Workers 'Chasing' Ebola Outbreak

Health Care Workers 'Chasing' Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 12, 2014) — The worst known Ebola outbreak is proving extremely difficult to contain. Hospitals are full, and victims of the virus are suffering in the streets. 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