Farmyard bugs may prevent asthma
Farmyard bugs may help children to avoid asthma, a study suggests.
Scientists believe the discovery could pave the way to a vaccine for the condition which affects one in seven Irish children.
Researchers have identified several types of 'dirty' bacteria and fungi that seem to reduce the chances of developing asthma.
The micro-organisms are linked to known lower rates of asthma among children who grow up on farms.
The evidence provides strong support for the 'hygiene hypothesis' which suggests children's immune systems are not primed properly if they live in too-clean or super-hygienic conditions.
Knowing which bugs might prime the immune system against asthma raises the possibility of developing preventive treatments.
The research is reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.