ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
CANCER
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
CAREGIVING
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
Caffeine May Offer Some Skin Cancer Protection
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
EYE CARE, VISION
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
FITNESS
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Simple Holistic Approach to Fight the Common Cold
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
Swine Flu Fatality Rate a 'Little Bit' Higher Than That of Seasonal Flu
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Add your Article

Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- A stomach bacterium called Helicobacter pylori may reduce a child's risk of developing asthma by as much as 50 percent, a new study suggests.

H. pylori has been present in the human stomach probably since humans were humans. However, the germ began disappearing over the course of the 20th century with the introduction of antibiotics and cleaner water and homes, perhaps making children more susceptible to asthma, the study authors suggested.

"In our study we asked the question, is there any relationship between having H. pylori in the stomach and having asthma and other allergic disorders," said lead researcher Dr. Martin J. Blaser, the Frederick H. King Professor of Internal Medicine and chairman of the department of medicine at the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.

"We found a strong inverse association between H. pylori and childhood asthma, childhood hay fever and childhood allergies," added Blaser, who's also a professor of microbiology and has studied H. pylori for more than two decades.

Blaser thinks that H. pylori may protect the body against asthma. "When children have H. pylori in their stomach, their immune system is different than if they don't have H. pylori," he said.

H. pylori has been disappearing especially since World War II, which is when the incidence of asthma began increasing, Blaser said.

For the study, Blaser and his colleague Yu Chen, an assistant professor of epidemiology, collected data on 7,412 children who participated in the 1999 to 2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Among children in the survey, just 5.4 percent born in the 1990s tested positive for H. pylori. In addition, 11.3 percent of the children under 10 had taken antibiotics in the month before the survey.

Blaser and Chen found that among children 3 to 13 years of age, those who carried the stomach bug were 59 percent less likely to develop asthma than children without H. pylori. These children were also 40 percent less likely to suffer from hay fever and other allergies, such as eczema or rash.

Among children aged 3 to 19, the researchers found that those who harbored H. pylori reduced their risk of asthma by 25 percent.

"This is a new way of saying who's at risk for asthma and who's not," Blaser said. "You can't mess with Mother Nature. This bacterium that has been present forever in the human stomach has been disappearing, and that has consequences."

Some of the consequences are good, however, Blaser noted. These include the decline of ulcers and decreases in stomach cancer among adults, he said. "But these are diseases of old age," he said. "It is possible that H. pylori may be protective of children, but bad for old people."

The study findings were published online July 15 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York in New York City, thinks the findings open a new window on doctors' understanding of asthma and allergies.

"It appears this will add to our knowledge and research looking at incidence and prevalence of asthma and allergic diseases in children and adults in an increasingly sanitized world," he said. "The relevance of H. pylori as a potential risk in asthma is quite thought-provoking by any means."

More information

For more on asthma, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Martin J. Blaser, M.D., the Frederick H. King Professor of Internal Medicine, chair, department of medicine, and professor, microbiology, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; Clifford Bassett, M.D., fellow, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and medical director, Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, New York City; July 15, 2008, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, online

Last Updated: July 15, 2008

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