Cockroaches might not seem to have much in common with farm animals. But a new study suggests urban newborns who share their homes with cockroaches, mice and cats might get the same kind of protection from allergies and asthma that farm children seem to get from the animals in their barns, according to USA TODAY.
The finding, published Friday in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, is no reason to stop exterminating cockroaches, researchers say. But it is the latest evidence for the "hygiene hypothesis" — the idea that allergies might be increasing because many children today grow up in relatively sterile environments. Immune systems that don't have to fight off many germs end up doing battle with harmless pollens, dust mites and animal dander instead, the theory goes.
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