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Asthma may actually be prevented by Dust and Dirt ,,

National Jewish Medical and Research Center researchers in USA say that a little dust and dirt in the home may help prevent asthma later in life. Environmental endotoxin may have an allergy-protective effect in some infants whose homes have high levels of the bacteria by-product. "Endotoxin seems to drive the immune system to produce cytokines that inhibit certain processes in the body that may lead to asthma," said Andy Liu, M.D., a National Jewish childhood asthma specialist and principal author of the article in the issue from 11.6.00 of The Lancet. Because asthma rates are very low in many agriculture-based countries and farming communities-compared to metropolitan areas-researchers believe that early exposure to environmental endotoxin may provide protection against developing asthma later in life. "These findings suggest that one common thread in these communities, where allergies and asthma are uncommon, may be early childhood exposure to environmental endotoxin. This may be an important clue in the development of effective and safe asthma prevention," Dr. Liu said. "Exposure to endotoxin may play a role in the prevention of allergen sensitization during infancy," he said. However, if a child or adult already has asthma or allergies, the presence of endotoxin in the home can exacerbate the disease. For more information about asthma and endotoxin,e-mail:

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