The findings suggest that the protective effect of raw milk consumption on asthma might be associated with the whey protein fraction of milk.
Like so many things food related, the bias of some people is extremely obvious. I read that as researchers looking for the cause of something. It took seconds to confirm that what I thought is indeed the truth of the matter.
The researchers discovered that children who drank farm milk were much less likely to suffer from hayfever and asthma. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070510093349.htm
So we have researchers who know that a certain population suffers less from hayfever and asthma. They were trying to discover if raw milk is why.
Farm milk consumption has been identified as an exposure that might contribute to the protective effect of farm life on childhood asthma and allergies. The mechanism of action and the role of particular constituents of farm milk, however, are not yet clear.
It seems they were wanting to know if the natural raw milk (and products made from it) contributes to better health. Certainly they weren't trying to see if it was a factor in poor health.
It's one of those terrible situations where science isn't the arbitrator of truth. And issues become complicated very fast. The safety of raw milk is one issue. The health effects are another.
But only some complete tool could think milk is somehow "better for you" after being cooked. That isn't even a real question. If we were trying to prove that heated milk was "better" we would simply take a bunch of newborn cows, let half of them have raw milk, and feed the other half cooked milk, and compare what happens. (make it double blind for good measure)
That's how science decides truth. Not because somebody declares something to be true. OK in most cases, but not when there is an economic factor involved. (think smoking, alcohol, or any other lucrative field where people sell something for humans to consume)
Turning again to the Science Daily article
The researchers discovered that children who drank farm milk were much less likely to suffer from hayfever and asthma.
Lower levels of diagnosed asthma were also observed for all farm-produced dairy products and eating farm eggs also provided protection against hayfever. However, these foods only provided increased protection when the children also drank unpasteurised farm milk -- not in isolation.
None of the farm products had any effect on eczema levels. "All the children drinking unpasteurised farm milk and eating other farm-related dairy products showed the same level of protection against asthma and allergies, regardless of whether they were living on a farm or not" says lead author Marco Waser, a doctor in natural sciences from the Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
"This is an important finding as it rules out other protective factors that farm life may provide, such as exposure to microbial compounds in animal shed and farm homes. For example, earlier studies have shown that farm children are less likely to be affected by pollen. "Our research showed that the children who enjoyed the best protection from asthma and allergies had been drinking farm milk since their first year of life."
Oops. I should have read the whole thing before my earlier commentary. Of course this is where the true believer (raw milk bad, cooked milk good) will ignore all scientific evidence, because they alone know the truth.
Of course the issue of contamination is separate from the mysterious health benefits. Not that such a scientific matter will matter.