08 May '12, 2pm

City-dwellers’ allergies are so bad because they don’t have enough bacteria

This allergy season has been terrible. It seems like everyone I know has been running around with leaky eyes, even those of us who aren’t typically pollen-sensitive. Granted, there was an unusual amount of tree sperm in the air this year, but it seemed strange that everybody — really, everybody! — was afflicted. But a new study by Finnish researchers explains everything: The reason we’re all so sick is that we live in the city. According to this study , published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and based on research done in Finland, people who live in cities are more prone to developing allergies and asthma because their environments lack biodiversity. That’s not biodiversity as in “not enough kinds of cuddly wildlife” (although that too!) — it’s about the diversity of bacteria that live on your skin. If you live in the city, these freeloaders are less v...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/city-dwellers-allergies-connected-t...

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