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Stable dust reduces allergies

A recent study collected, analysed and presented an enormous amount of data worldwide on autoimmune disorders and allergies. The aim is to turn this information into sustainable therapies.
Stable dust reduces allergies
The prevalence of asthma and allergies across Europe is very high with at least a third of the population testing positive for allergies. Apart from the obvious discomfort for the patient, the bill for related healthcare is enormous. Available therapies control the symptoms, but so far research has not come up with a complete cure.

Epidemiological surveys have revealed that children raised rurally and exposed to farm factors such as stable dust have lower rates of sensitisation to environmental allergens. Furthermore, evidence indicates that a lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents leads to increased susceptibility to allergic diseases and maybe autoimmune diseases such as diabetes – the so-called hygiene hypothesis.

With a need to close the gap between research and application to therapies, the EU-funded project 'Forum for allergy prevention' (FORALLVENT) aimed to develop appropriate strategies. In particular, results can be eventually applied in prevention, treatment and formulation of specialised foods, if relevant.

An integral part of FORALLVENT was to follow up on the study cohort from birth from a previous EU Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) project, PASTURE. FORALLVENT provided important resources to continue the collection of data from a follow-up survey as well as clinical examinations including lung function, skin testing and blood tests for genomic, proteomic and peptidomic analyses.

Workshops presented the very latest knowledge regarding the immune system. Research on the effects of exposure of mice to stable dust in particular revealed that the development of hyper-responsiveness is inhibited and that the 'magic' dust contains strong immune-stimulating substances.

A symposium in Poland witnessed significant interest from both industry and the research world regarding in particular the production of safe unpasteurised cow’s milk. Drinking raw cow's milk has a protective effect on asthma.

The immune system presents a highly complex and wide-ranging area for study. As the incidence of autoimmune disease disorders and allergies is growing at an exponential rate, the FORALLVENT study provided a welcome platform for research results having the potential to be translated into new therapies. To continue information dissemination, the website was to be maintained for at least three years beyond the duration of the project.

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