A major question facing modern medicine is why atopic diseases such
as asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis, which have in common
the overproduction of allergen-specific or total IgE, are increasing in prevalence.
Atopic diseases are influenced by genetic predisposition and environmental
exposures. However, since the spontaneous genetic mutation rate is quite slow,
it is clear that changes in the environment are responsible for the increased
prevalence of atopic diseases. But which environmental factor(s) is the culprit?
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