New culprit for asthma

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The Independent Online
Scientists puzzling over why asthma rates are soaring in developed countries have a new suspected culprit - good health.

British and Japanese researchers report in today'sedition of the journal Science that they have found evidence that childhood respiratory infections might make people less likely to develop asthma and other allergies.

Dr Julian Hopkin of the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, and colleagues in Japan, studied nearly 1,000 children who had been immunised against tuberculosis. They found that those with the strongest immune response were less likely to get asthma. "Childhood infections may, paradoxically, protect against asthma," Dr Hopkin said. Reuter - Washington

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