About the episode
There are many people who believe that you need to be in touch with your microbiome to some extent to stay healthy. For example, it will better train your immune system and reduce the risk of developing allergies.
Within this theory, the fact that more and more people are walking around with allergies could have something to do with living a very healthy way. But a new study contradicts this.
In this study, the researchers compared mice living in a feral environment rich in microbes with genetically identical mice raised in a highly sterile laboratory. They found no differences in allergy resistance. Immune cells responded similarly to the presence of allergens, and the response of good bacteria in the gut was also no better in wild-type mice.
And yes: these are mice and we are humans, of course, but the researchers hope to contribute to research in the field of allergies and the usefulness of actively affecting the composition of the microbiome in treatments.
For example, fecal transplants are being considered in the treatment of inflammatory diseases. The idea of “using infections and microbes to our advantage” is of course a nice one, and can make an important difference in some cases, but at the same time this finding is a good reminder that it may not be so obvious and more research is urgently needed.
Read more about the research here: Allergy study on ‘wild’ mice challenges the hygiene hypothesis