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UCSF Home Page

Here's a cool reuse, thanks to Creative Commons... My photo of flick is making a guest appearance on the UCSF home page.


Here is the summary of their new findings:


“The beetle’s back and the crab’s shell owe their toughness to a common compound called chitin that now appears to trigger airway inflammation and possibly asthma, UCSF scientists have found.


Insects, molds and parasitic worms — all common sources of allergies or inflammation — produce billions of tons of chitin a year. Humans and other mammals lack chitin, but we do have specialized enzymes to break it down. The scientists wondered why…


In the last 10 years, the "hygiene hypothesis" has been proposed and explored to explain why asthma and other allergies have greatly increased in many industrial nations, Locksley explains. The hypothesis holds that modern societies have largely cleaned up living conditions so that people are exposed to far less dirt and all of its organic constituents. At the same time, antibiotics and microbicides have reduced the numbers of microbes in the environment. Bacteria are known to degrade chitin, and Locksley suggests that the reduction in bacteria may lead to an increase of chitin in the environment — largely from molds and insects — perhaps explaining the findings from several studies that the highest childhood asthma risk tends to be associated with the lowest exposure to bacteria.”


Here’s more info on asthma and inflammation from Apieron.

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Uploaded on April 23, 2007