Seasonal Allergies Could Change Your Brain

Austrian study suggests that allergies can help your memory.

Summer allergies can be downright miserable.  It’s a time of the year that you want to get outdoors, but that’s not the case when you’re suffering from itchy, puffy eyes and a running nose.

But guess what…  some experts say there’s actually a benefit to it.

Researchers at the Institute of Molecular Regenerative Medicine in Salzburg, Austria, have found that an allergy to grass pollen could help your memory.


In an experiment, researchers exposed mice to grass pollen to induce an allergic reaction.  The scientists then studied the area of the brain associated with memory.  Well, the allergic reaction stimulated growth of new neurons (nerve cells).

The brain has billions of neurons, and these are responsible for communicating signals and forming new memories.  As we get older, however, this all declines.  But an allergic reaction suppresses it.

Now experts want to know if those who have hay fever are less prone to dementia or memory loss.

Researchers say more needs to be known.

In this one study, the mice were exposed to pollen for a short period of time… just three days.  The next study would look at a longer time frame.  Other allergens, such as foods or house mites, would be used in the study.  The group also wants to see if dampening down the immune system has any disadvantages.

Finally, the scientists admit that findings in mice can’t directly be applied to people.


Regardless, this group believes that this could lead to something bigger.  The theory is that people who get a lot of colds might be at a disadvantage because their immune system is constantly inflamed.  But allergy seems to induce a different response as it seems to have a different impact on brain aging.

(sources:  Medical News Today, Science Daily)

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