Author Topic: Fascinated by a hypothesis  (Read 956 times)

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Offline Heorhij

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Fascinated by a hypothesis
« on: November 09, 2009, 02:52:03 PM »
Dear folks,

Have you heard about the so-called "hygiene hypothesis?"

It's been first formulated by D.P. Strachan in 1989, and it claims that by being too "hygienic" with our kids, by preventing them from getting common childhood infections and helminth infestations, we increase in them the risk of asthma and autoimmune disorders.

While preparing for the today's lecture in Pathophysiology (on the topic of asthma), I came across a Wikipedia article describing this hypothesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis), and it just struck me how convincing the evidence in favor of this hypothesis seems to be.

Interesting, isn't it?
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Offline GiC

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2009, 03:06:29 PM »
It seems intuitively obvious, though I'm sure it will take some time before we can adequately prove or disprove the hypothesis. Genetic resistances are only one part of the development of our immune system; failure to be exposed to various pathogens means a failure to gain an active immunity to them and to related pathogens, resulting in a, relatively speaking, compromised immune system as an adult. IMO, this hypothesis makes more sense than those that focus on infant feeding practices, since most those immunities are passive and will not be incorporated into the immune system over the long-term.
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Offline Schultz

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2009, 03:14:30 PM »
I always tell my wife, who has a terrible immune system, that her penchant for bathing (twice a day at least) is why she's sick all the time ;)

It's definitely an interesting one but I agree with GiC.  This will take a long time to test properly and I doubt it will ever be conclusive for many people either way.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2009, 03:25:01 PM »
It's an interesting hypothesis for sure.  I wonder if all the chemicals in our food enhances autoimmune deficiency?  If your food has a barcode, you're probably eating chemicals we're really not designed to eat. 
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Offline GiC

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2009, 03:35:28 PM »
It's an interesting hypothesis for sure.  I wonder if all the chemicals in our food enhances autoimmune deficiency?  If your food has a barcode, you're probably eating chemicals we're really not designed to eat. 

I suspect they have negative impacts on our body, especially in regard to obesity and poor cardiovascular health (and maybe cancer, though just as one of thousands of contributing factors) based on anecdotal evidence. As to whether or not they have a negative impact on the immune system...I honestly don't have enough information on the matter to even form an opinion. Though I would be very interested in the results of a study that addressed that hypothesis (and the general affect of additives on our body), but how one could reliably carry out such a study...I do not know. But I would suspect that, whether or not this is a factor, lack of exposure to pathogens is a notable factor in compromised immune systems in the general population.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2009, 03:48:21 PM »
It's an interesting hypothesis for sure.  I wonder if all the chemicals in our food enhances autoimmune deficiency?  If your food has a barcode, you're probably eating chemicals we're really not designed to eat.  

I suspect they have negative impacts on our body, especially in regard to obesity and poor cardiovascular health (and maybe cancer, though just as one of thousands of contributing factors) based on anecdotal evidence. As to whether or not they have a negative impact on the immune system...I honestly don't have enough information on the matter to even form an opinion. Though I would be very interested in the results of a study that addressed that hypothesis (and the general affect of additives on our body), but how one could reliably carry out such a study...I do not know. But I would suspect that, whether or not this is a factor, lack of exposure to pathogens is a notable factor in compromised immune systems in the general population.

There are so many variables involved in human metabolism & digestion that, when coupled with the numerous checks & restraints on human research, will make it a very difficult study.

As to the OP: from my POV it is a very logical hypothesis, one that I believe will be clearly demonstrated by even further research when completed (think of it - this was formulated before instant sanitizer bottles began appearing in purses and offices everywhere).  Between the increased autoimmune disorders (& allergies, maybe), and the lack of training to combat more serious diseases and infections that are harder to avoid, I think it is very possible to put our kids at a disadvantage by over-sanitizing life.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2009, 03:49:51 PM by Fr. George »
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Offline Vocatio

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2009, 04:04:04 PM »
I like this thread and agree with it to some degree.  But collecting evidence to prove it's accuracy will be difficult.  I have serious allergy problems.  That's coming from a soldier that spend weeks at a time in the field and became very ill from various elements.  I used to eat mud pies as a child.  We were those grungy dirty children everyone despised so much, military brats that ran amuck in the neighborhood.  Unfortunately my only living blood brother has similar health issues.  I live in constant discomfort and would give a limb to get rid of the pain associated with it.  I've become accustomed to living with the pain and discomfort, offering it up.  But I may be the exception to the rule as I tend to be with everything else.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2009, 03:45:21 AM »
An old fossil like me subscribes to the "eat a pound of dirt" and "play outside" and "keep your bedroom window open at night, as long as the flyscreen is secure" philosophies.

Never knew that asthma existed until I was in my teens, and that were a LOOOONG time ago!
« Last Edit: November 10, 2009, 03:45:45 AM by LBK »
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2009, 04:22:55 AM »
Don't scold your little ones when they eat dirt; after all, that's the stuff from which we are made. ;)

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Offline jnorm888

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2009, 04:45:12 AM »
I think the more we get away from nature, the more foreign to nature we will become.....In not wanting to "get sick" and persevering through the suffering of germs, our natural smell.......etc. then we will eventually x ourselves out  from our natural environments. Even to the point of one day not being able to survive "naturaly" in the wild.










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Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2009, 05:21:31 AM »
It is a fascinating hypothesis, although I do suppose it's safer these days to be allowing children to be a little more dirty than it was at a time of horrendous childhood diseases. My mother was paranoid about me getting infected cuts, but later on I realised that she was brought up at a time before there were weapons like vaccines and anti-biotics against killers like tetanus and septicemia.
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Offline Vocatio

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2009, 12:02:32 PM »
Don't scold your little ones when they eat dirt; after all, that's the stuff from which we are made. ;)

Selam
Don't worry, my daughter is as bad about eating dirt as I was.  My 2 older sons are finiky compared to her.  The schools had my oldest scared to death of dirt on his hands and I had to take him outside into dirty situations and dig in for his own good while making fun of the getting dirty.  Of course this was an extreme.  But I worked on a farm in my teens helping haul hay, dig wells, build fences, round up cow/bulls and hunt and fish.  It was part of a wonderful experience and greatly missed.  But today some of this would almost be considered abuse.  I believe it's healthy and as a society we've pulled children away form nature out of fear of the unknown and since people are not growing large families anymore parents are overly fearful of losing a child by not allowing them to experience the wonders of nature.  My 2 cents.
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2009, 12:11:08 PM »
It is a fascinating hypothesis, although I do suppose it's safer these days to be allowing children to be a little more dirty than it was at a time of horrendous childhood diseases. My mother was paranoid about me getting infected cuts, but later on I realised that she was brought up at a time before there were weapons like vaccines and anti-biotics against killers like tetanus and septicemia.

My paternal grandmather was paranoid about me running and sweating in winter, because she had this idea that children become ill when they sweat and get exposed to air draft when they are still sweaty. She was also paranoid about preventing these air drafts, so she kept all windows firmly closed. On the other hand, my maternal grandmother loved it when I was running, and had her windows at least partially open even on freezing winter nights. I guess I got a perfect balance, alternating between the two grandmas' apartments. :)
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Offline mike

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Re: Fascinated by a hypothesis
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2009, 02:30:22 PM »
Luckily I have my grandpa, whom I was helping to unload cow muck from the wagon using pitchfork and no protective clothes. Beautiful times :)