The farm effect: preventing allergies and asthma

How does asthma and other allergies appear? How can resistance be increased? What is the prevalence of asthma and allergies among farm and non-farm children? What is the ‘farm effect’? What is the role of cow shed exposure? What are the effects of consumption of unprocessed cow’s milk?

Allergies have developed into a major health concern in Europe with over 80 million people affected by some form of allergic disease and with around 30 million people suffering from asthma. Allergic diseases can currently be managed effectively but not cured. They diminish patients’ quality of life and have considerable socio-economic costs, such as health care utilization, medication, and school or work days missed. More and more people are developing allergic diseases and it is estimated that, by 2015, one in two Europeans is likely to suffer from at least one form of allergy.

The incidence of allergic diseases is highest early in life. In this episode of Science & Cocktails, Erika von Mutius brings science data on how children exposed to certain “harmful” environmental factors are far less likely to suffer from asthma and allergies.

Numerous studies have shown that growing up on a traditional farms results in a strong protection against childhood asthma and allergies. Farms are rich environments for microbial exposure, given the close contact of children to farm animals and their fodder. It seems that the most traditional farming families have the best protection, as shown among Amish people in the United States. Part of this protection is mediated by contact to farm animal sheds, in particular to cow sheds. The other component conferring protection against asthma and allergies is the consumption of unprocessed cow’s milk. In the EFRAIM project, the importance of early life exposures has been highlighted: contact to cow sheds and consumption of raw cow’s milk in the first year of life showed a clear protective effect against the development of infections and asthma symptoms in infants.

Afterwards, non-allergic chilled cocktails that will make you think about the state of the allergic world while The Tremolo Beer Gut brings some microbes, bacterias and allergens onto the stage. They love tremolo, they love beer and they’ve got guts! The Tremolo Beer Gut plays old school surf & western, a genre they’ve thought up themselves, which draws inspirations from the ultra cool rough twangy guitar sound of 50ies and 60ies surf as well as the great film music of Mancini, Barry and Moricone.

Entrance to the event is free. Event held in English. No registration is necessary. Doors open at 19:00. CASH ONLY.