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Asthma: Skyrocketing Rates

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Asthma: Skyrocketing Rates

December 15, 2008

Asthma rates have skyrocketed in recent years, with the prevalence of this chronic lung condition increasing almost 59 percent from 1982 to 1996, and increasing by another 6 percent from 2001 to 2006, according to a 2008 American Lung Association report. Scientists are still trying to understand why, with one popular theory postulating that the cause may be due to our overly clean society. The so-called hygiene hypothesis suggests that a lack of early childhood exposure to bacteria and viruses may fail to stimulate the immune system, increasing susceptibility to asthma and allergies. Updated February 2010


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