Dr. Mark Holbreich, an allergist in Indianapolis, has been treating Amish communities in Indiana for two decades, but he noticed that very few Amish actually had any allergies.
He teamed up with European colleagues to compare Swiss farming children and non-farming children to Amish kids in Indiana.
Among 138 Amish kids given a skin-prick test to determine whether they were predisposed to having allergies, only 10 kids -- or seven percent -- had a positive response.
In comparison, 25 percent of the farm-raised Swiss kids and 44 percent of Swiss children who were not raised on a farm had a positive test.
The going theory is this early exposure to the diverse potential allergens and pathogens on a farm trains the immune system to recognize them, but not overreact to the harmless ones. Drinking raw cow's milk also seems to be involved, Holbreich said.
This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Reuters.