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17 August 2009

Immune gene evolution may be driven by parasites (The Dana Foundation Website - 22 July 2009)

Dana Helminthes, or parasitic worms, may have helped shape the human immune system.  And that symbiotic relationship may be responsible for the rise of auto-immune disorders in developed countries.

Excerpt:

Soon after I brought my newborn son home from the hospital, my grandmother admonished me not to bathe him too often. If babies are too clean, they are more likely to get sick, she said. Now researchers are finding there may be something to that folk wisdom. A population genetics study published in the June 8 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine suggests that parasites have helped shape the human immune system—and that a lack of exposure to helminthes, or worms, may account for rising rates of autoimmune disorders such as irritable bowel disease (IBD), Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

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