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Allergies & Cancer Roundup

November 28, 2008

Allergies are associated with a lower risk of certain cancers.


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.