If infants encounter a wide range of bacteria they are less at risk of developing allergic disease later in life. This is the conclusion of research from the University of Copenhagen, which suggests completely new factors in many modern lifestyle diseases.
Oversensitivity diseases, or allergies, now affect 25 per cent of the population of Denmark. The figure has been on the increase in recent decades and now researchers at the Dansk BørneAstma Center [COPSAC, Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood], University of Copenhagen, are at last able to partly explain the reasons.
A variety of bacteria offers protection
"In our study of over 400 children we observed a direct link between the number of different bacteria in their rectums and the risk of development of allergic disease later in life," says Professor Hans Bisgaard, consultant at Gentofte Hospital, head of the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood, and professor of children's diseases at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen.
"Reduced diversity of the intestinal microbiota during infancy was associated with increased risk of allergic disease at school age, he continues. But if there was considerable diversity, the risk was reduced, and the greater the variation, the lower the risk.