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Allergies: Modern Life and Me – BBC Horizon programme tells us how to mind our microbes so they will mind us!

info     “Allergies: Modern Life and Me” is the subject of tomorrow night’s BBC Horizon programme.

The programme features immunologist Professor Graham Rook and APC Director, Professor Fergus Shanahan, along with Professor of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Syed Hasan Arshad, paediatric allergist Dr Adam Fox, and scientists Professor Sally Bloomfield, Professor Ben Marsland and Dr Lindsay Hall.

You may think of yourself as entirely human, but in reality you have approximately ten times more bacterial cells in your body than human ones, and it turns out that the latest scientific research is starting to reveal that they play an increasingly vital role in educating our immune system.

Changes to the bacteria that live inside all of us are responsible for increasing the number of people with allergies, suggests new research. Horizon examines the lives of two modern, allergic families to discover how their bacteria have been impacted by their lifestyles, and why it’s making them allergic.

Fergus Shanahan explains the extent to which we are all covered in bacteria – making us technically more bacteria than human. With a raft of mini cameras, GPS units and the very latest gene sequencing technology, the show discovers how the western lifestyle is impacting their bacteria. Why are these changes making people allergic? And what can be done to put a stop to the allergy epidemic?

Professors Graham Rook, Fergus Shanahan and Sally Bloomfield discuss how we can move forwards in the future to try and combat the allergy epidemic, how we can re-engage with the good bacteria that we’ve been missing, and how a few simple steps can help prevent scores of people developing allergies in the future.

The programme, produced and directed by Rebecca Harrison is first broadcast on BBC2 at 9pm on Wednesday 27th August with further regional broadcasts on Thursday.

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26 August 2014