NEW HAVEN, Conn., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they have discovered some bacteria can be used to protect against ills such as type 1 diabetes.
Researchers at Yale University and the University of Chicago demonstrated that mice exposed to common stomach bacteria were protected against the development of type I diabetes.
The finding supports the so-called hygiene hypothesis -- the theory that a lack of exposure to parasites, bacteria and viruses in the developed world may lead to increased risk of diseases such as allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system.
The study was led by researcher Li Wen at Yale and Dr. Alexander Chervonsky at the University of Chicago.
"Understanding how gut bacteria work on the immune system to influence whether diabetes and other autoimmune diseases occurs is very important," Li said. "This understanding may allow us to design ways to target the immune system through altering the balance of friendly gut bacteria and protect against diabetes."
The study that included Changyun Hu of Yale and researchers from Washington University; The Jackson Laboratory, Britain's Bristol University and the University of California-San Francisco appears in the journal Nature.