The stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach cancer and peptic ulcers, may not be all bad. According to a new study, it may help protect children from asthma.
The study, based on an analysis of a health survey of 7,663 adults, showed that a virulent strain of H. pylori was especially associated with being asthma-free before the age of 15. People who carry the strain were 40% less likely to have had asthma at an early age than those who didn’t carry the strain. The study also found that the microbe was associated with protection against ragweed and other allergies due to pollens and molds particularly among younger adults.
The study is published in the April 23, 2007, issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.