Children will be given the green light to get dirty on health grounds, if one study's findings reach fruition.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that farm children had a significantly decreased risk of developing asthma.

The researchers identified several types of "dirty" bacteria and funghi that seemed to help prime the immune system against developing asthma.

This evidence provides strong support for the "hygiene hypothesis" theory that children's immune systems are compromised if they live in conditions which are too clean.

If a vaccine is developed, it's hoped an estimated 1.1 million children in the UK will be protected from developing this debilitating condition.

Posted by Penny Hosie on 27.2.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com