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The upside to allergies: cancer prevention
Date:10/29/2008

ever, is a special case. A majority of the studies that the Cornell team examined found that asthma correlates to higher rates of lung cancer. "Essentially, asthma obstructs clearance of pulmonary mucous, blocking any potentially prophylactic benefit of allergic expulsion," they explain. By contrast, allergies that affect the lungs other than asthma seem to retain the protective effect.

So if allergies are part of the body's defense against foreign particle invaders, is it wise to turn them off with antihistamines and other suppressants? The Cornell team says that studies specifically designed to answer this question are needed.

"We hope that our analyses and arguments will encourage such cost/benefit analyses," they write. "More importantly, we hope that our work will stimulate reconsiderationof the current prevailing view that allergies are merely disorders of the immune system which, therefore, can be suppressed with impunity."


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Contact: Kevin Stacey
kstacey@uchicago.edu
773-834-0386
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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