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Autoimmune Diseases, Healthy Body

Allergies, Autoimmune Diseases Less Common in Natural Environments

By Rachel Nuwar

Now there’s another reason to get back to nature. A new study reveals that people who grow up in more-rural environments are less likely to develop allergies. The reason may be that environments rich with species harbor more friendly microbes, which colonize our bodies and protect against inflammatory disorders.

“Contact of people, particularly children, with the natural environment and biodiversity could be really important for the development of the immune system,” says Ilkka Hanski, an ecologist at the University of Helsinki and lead author of the study.

Hanski and his colleagues investigated the idea that the global decline in biodiversity and decreasing human contact with it is linked to the escalating prevalence of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

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