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Is a ‘too-clean’ environment to blame for childhood asthma?

A parent’s first instinct is to keep their newborn infant in a pristine environment, away from any germs, dust or dirt.

A new study, conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the BC Children’s Hospital in Canada, suggests that babies need to acquire certain types of gut bacteria by the time they are three months old in order to be protected from developing asthma.

“Since the 1950s, rates of asthma have increased significantly, affecting nearly 20% of children in Western countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6.8 million children in the US currently have asthma…According to Prof. Finlay, the study “supports the hygiene hypothesis that we’re making our environment too clean. It shows that gut bacteria play a role in asthma, but it is early in life when the baby’s immune system is being established.” Read more.

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