That word "microbiome" — describing the collection of bacteria that live in and on our bodies — keeps popping up. This time, researchers say that children whose parents clean their pacifiers by sucking them might be less likely to develop allergic conditions because of how their parents' saliva changes their microbiomes.
That's the word from a small study of 184 Swedish babies published in this week's issue of the journal Pediatrics. The researchers found that the 65 babies whose mother or father sucked on their pacifiers to cleanse them were significantly less likely to get eczema and asthma, two conditions caused by allergic reactions, than babies whose parents did not use the cleaning technique.
"This is a really interesting and intriguing observation," says Elizabeth Matsui of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, who was not involved in the research.