Thursday, 28 August 2014

Allergies: Modern Life and Me

BBC2's Horizon aired last night, covering allergies.  Explicitly they looked at the gut mircrobiome and bacterial populations in and around humans and their principle habitats.
  • Changes to the bacteria that live inside all of us are responsible for increasing the number of people with allergies, suggests new research. In this episode of Horizon, the show investigates this claim by conducting a unique experiment with two allergic families in order to find out just what it is in the modern world that is to blame. With a raft of mini cameras, GPS units and the very latest gene sequencing technology, the show discovers how the western lifestyle is impacting their bacteria. Why are these changes making people allergic? And what can be done to put a stop to the allergy epidemic?

It would appear that highly allergenic individuals have very low on non existent populations of certain bacteria (I wasn't completely sure which way this relationship worked; correlation does not equal causation), but there was plenty of interest here and was certainly thought provoking.

The underlying message being that our modern lives are novel to our detriment and, that we should seek out those 'drivers' concordant with our ancestral/evolutionary past.

You can catch it on iPlayer.

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