Farm exposure and childhood atopy, wheeze, lung function, and exhaled nitric oxide

Some interesting new results from the GABRIEL study examining children living on farms and the development of wheeze and other objective markers of asthma and allergies today.

The project, which involved nearly 9,000 children, reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that children living on farms are protected against wheeze independently of atopy.

Nor is the so-called farm effect attributable to improved airway size or lung mechanics; the team found no farm-related effect on lung function or exhaled nitric oxide.

I’ll admit that these kind of findings – which “imply as yet unknown protective mechanisms” – are exactly what makes asthma so continually intriguing to me. We’re gradually, unevenly, unravelling a very complicated relationship between patterns of squarely cultural human behavior and ecology, the human immune response over time, and the development of chronic respiratory disease. And maybe viruses are involved too. 

The article is here.