Genetics, Environment, and Asthma

iStock_6759635_MEDIUMWhat can Amish and Hutterite people teach us about genes, the environment, and the development of asthma?  Lots, according to a study Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study looked at two groups of people who originally emigrated to the US from geographically similar central European areas and share the majority of their genes. They ultimately settled in two different farming communities in Indiana and South Dakota, respectively, and their farming practices are also distinct.  The Amish have generally small, family run operations while the Hutterites tend to work large corporate farms, thus their exposures are quite different.

It turns out the prevalence of asthma among the Amish children is just over 5% while  over 21% of the Hutterite children develop the condition.  Allergic sensitization is also divergent: 7.2% in the Amish versus 33.3% in the Hutterites.  By employing a mouse model, this study was able to demonstrate that dust from Amish homes inhibited airway reactivity and cellular proliferation characteristic of allergy. Researchers conclude that early and presumably sustained exposure to this allergen mix engages the innate immune response that is ultimately protective against asthma and allergy. Rick and I agree that precise identification of the allergens as well as timing of exposure may provide a likely therapeutic strategy to prevent asthma.

Other topics this week include a look at obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular events among a group of identical twins with divergent weights in JAMA Internal Medicine, off site cardiac monitoring in at risk patients in JAMA, and in MMWR, a look at preparedness nationally for preventing Zika-related fetal abnormalities.  Until next week, y'all live well.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
No Comments

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Johns Hopkins Medicine does not necessarily endorse, nor does Johns Hopkins Medicine edit or control, the content of posted comments by third parties on this website. However, Johns Hopkins Medicine reserves the right to remove any such postings that come to the attention of Johns Hopkins Medicine which are deemed to contain objectionable or inappropriate content.

Previous post:

Next post: