The hygiene hypothesis states that as a result of improved hygiene and reduction of childhood diseases, the human immune system overreacts to relatively harmless stimuli, offering an explanation for the increase in the prevalence of eczema, asthma and allergies in the industrialised world. On the 20th of September 2018, a debate on the hygiene hypothesis took place in ARTIS-Micropia, Amsterdam. Experts in the fields of microbiology, immunology and infection prevention debated with each other and with the audience about 5 statements regarding the hygiene hypothesis. The first 3 statements dealt with the use of the name ‘hygiene hypothesis’, whether we can confirm or disprove the hypothesis and whether prevention of allergies by administration of micro-organisms is effective. The last 2 statements stated that intensive contact with micro-organisms prevents an overactive immune system and that playing outside and having a certain dietary pattern can prevent autoimmune and allergic diseases. The experts in the panel reached consensus about the importance of exposure to a high diversity of micro-organisms in early life to prevent an overactive immune system. They agreed that more research is needed in the coming years to be able to substantiate effective and practical interventions in our daily lives.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Allergie, Astma en Klinische Immunologie (NTvAAKI) = Dutch Journal of Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - May 2019|