A forest-based yard improved the immune system of daycare children

A research article has been published

A research article written by Marja Roslund, Riikka Puhakka, Mira Grönroos, Aki Sinkkonen and other researchers of the ADELE research group has been published in Science Advances. A high level of hygiene, an urban lifestyle and an insufficient contact with nature has reduced diversity in the organ system’s microbes. Homogeneity in microbes has increased the risk of disorders in the immune system, such as atopy, diabetes, and allergies.

This study was the first human intervention trial in which urban environmental biodiversity was manipulated to examine its effects on the commensal microbiome and immunoregulation in children. The results showed that contact with nature increased microbial diversity in children’s skin during one month. The intestinal microbiota of children who received greenery was similar to the intestinal microbiota of children visiting the forest every day. There were also changes in blood counts. Increases in gammaproteobacteria, which strengthen the skin’s immune defence, increased the content of the multifunctional TGF-β1-cytokine in blood and reduced the content of interleukin-17A, which is connected to immune-transmitted diseases. The findings thus support the assumption that contact with nature prevents disorders in the immune system. Aki Sinkkonen who led the study recommends that the yard areas of all daycare centres should be transformed into green areas.

The study was the joint study of Natural Resources Institute Finland, the University of Helsinki, the University of Tampere, the University of Eastern Finland and Charles University in Prague.

Science Advances: Biodiversity intervention enhances immune regulation and health-associated commensal microbiota among daycare children

Natural Resources Institute FinlandA forest-based yard improved the immune system of daycare children in only a month