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Allergies & Cancer Roundup

November 28, 2008

Allergies are associated with a lower risk of certain cancers.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
The upside of allergies. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The next time you’re sneezing, scratching and miserable because of allergies, count your blessings. According to a new study published by researchers at Cornell, people with allergies are less likely to get a variety of cancers, including cancer of the skin, lungs and digestive system. The scientists say the coughing, sneezing, scratching and phlegm-production engulfs or expels irritants that could be carcinogens.

In other news, researchers at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Harvard have found a genetic "off switch" that shuts down our immune cells after they’ve stopped an infection. The researchers say that a defect in this gene could be responsible for auto-immune diseases like lupus, in which the immune system attacks the body’s own cells. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.