Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, chief of allergy and immunology at St. Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, said one protective factor that the authors of the Amish study didn't mention is that the Amish live a fairly secluded existence and thus, have a fairly protected gene pool. Since genetics are one suspected aspect in the development of asthma and allergy, it may just be that the Amish aren't passing down the genes for those conditions, she reasoned.
"These are interesting things to think about, but there are so many confounding factors to look at. I don't think it's just Amish living or farm life. Genes play a role, access to care, environmental exposures. Maybe it's not that they're drinking raw milk, but that they're drinking milk without hormones. Or, they're not getting other environmental exposures that non-farm children are," she noted.
Because this research was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Learn more about allergies from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
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