H. pylori may play role in kids’ allergies
Professor Barry Marshall and colleague Dr Robin Warren won the prize in 2005 for proving the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, rather than stress, caused stomach ulcers.
Scientists will now examine whether H. pylori can regulate and balance the immune system in the gut, preventing eczema and more serious allergic disease in children from becoming lifelong ailments.
Over the past decade, there has been a 10-fold increase in referrals for food allergies in Australia – and it's linked to increasingly cleaner environments and reduced exposure to micro-organisms in childhood.
"Less than 5% of children in Western countries have the Helicobacter pylori bacteria in their stomach, indicating that microbes beneficial for immune system development may have become less common in modern societies," said Professor Susan Prescott, who is providing paediatric allergy expertise to the study.
Healthy adults will take part in the first phase of the