The medical school at Newcastle upon Tyne university hopes to improve the diagnosis of the condition, a type of allergy to dust in the lofts housing the birds, and possibly to identify enthusiasts who are vulnerable. Dr Chris Baldwin of the university's immunology department, said: "We have identified a particular type of antibody that is much more likely to occur in those people who have the disease ... The team is now investigating why some people make this type of antibody while others don't."
The research is being supported by the North East England Pigeon Fanciers association. A spokesman said: "Pigeon racing is an obsessional hobby and it is something of a personal disaster when a fancier has to give up because of this condition. Anything that can help detect this disease in its early stages is most welcome."
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