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posted by mrpg on Sunday March 24, @12:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the a-good-reason-not-to-shower dept.

Lyme disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks, affects nearly half a million people in the United States every year. In most cases, antibiotics effectively clear the infection, but for some patients, symptoms linger for months or years.

Researchers at MIT and the University of Helsinki have now discovered that human sweat contains a protein that can protect against Lyme disease. They also found that about one-third of the population carries a genetic variant of this protein that is associated with Lyme disease in genome-wide association studies.

[...] "This protein may provide some protection from Lyme disease, and we think there are real implications here for a preventative and possibly a therapeutic based on this protein," says Michal Caspi Tal, a principal research scientist in MIT's Department of Biological Engineering and one of the senior authors of the new study.

[...] "This finding opens the door to a completely new approach to preventing Lyme disease in the first place, and it will be interesting to see if it could be useful for preventing other types of skin infections too," says Kara Spiller, a professor of biomedical innovation in the School of Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University, who was not involved in the study.

The researchers note that people who have the protective version of SCGB1D2 can still develop Lyme disease, and they should not assume that they won't. One factor that may play a role is whether the person happens to be sweating when they're bitten by a tick carrying Borrelia burgdorferi.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ChrisMaple on Monday March 25, @09:48PM

    by ChrisMaple (6964) on Monday March 25, @09:48PM (#1350333)

    If washing clears off sweat residue, and sweat residue protects against Lyme disease, bathing is unhealthy. Cleanliness is next to godliness, in the sense that it makes you more likely to die.