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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:12 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Is clean living making us sick?
Hygiene hypothesis on food allergies


POSTED ON 20/02/06

The rise of food allergies in the developed world remains a disturbing mystery of modern medicine.

Speculation abounds, but scientists have yet to confirm exactly why it is that nearly 6 per cent of North American children and 4 per cent of adults are now allergic to various foods, including wheat, shellfish, sesame, soy and tree nuts, such as almonds or walnuts.

"The real explanation, is that we just don't know," said Dr. Susan Waserman, president of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

But the theory with the most support contends that modern society's clean living is partly to blame. Experts call it the hygiene hypothesis. "In the past few decades, since World War II, we have antibiotics, vaccines, we live in insulated homes, and the cells of our immune systems have become uneducated and reprogrammed to react to allergens," Dr. Waserman said in explaining the theory.

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