Caution: Killing Germs May Be Hazardous to Your Health

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Caution: Killing Germs May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Postby Chris55 » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:38 am

http://www.newsweek.com/id/57368

Exerpts:

In terms of infectious disease, the environment of the American suburb is unquestionably a far healthier place than most of the rest of the world. But we've made a Faustian bargain with our antibiotics, because most researchers now believe that our supersanitized world exacts a unique price in allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases, most of which were unknown to our ancestors. Sachs warns that many people drew precisely the wrong conclusion from this, that contracting a lot of diseases in childhood is somehow beneficial. What we need is more exposure to the good microbes, and the job of medicine in the years to come will be sorting out the good microbes from the bad.

And that's an essential step in the development of a healthy immune system. The immune reaction relies on a network of positive and negative feedback loops, poised on a knife edge between the dangers of ignoring a deadly invader and over-reacting to a harmless stimulus. But to develop properly it must be exposed to a wide range of harmless microbes early in life. This was the normal condition of most human infants until a few generations ago. Cover the dirt on the floor of the hut, banish the farm animals to a distant feedlot, treat an ear infection with penicillin, and the inflammation-calming interleukin-10 reaction may fail to develop properly. "Modern sanitation is a good thing, and pavement is a good thing," says Sachs, "but they keep kids at a distance from microbes." The effect is to tip the immune system in the direction of overreaction, either to outside stimuli or even to the body's own cells. If the former, the result is allergies or asthma. Sachs writes that "children who receive antibiotics in the first year of life have more than double the rate of allergies and asthma in later childhood." But if the immune system turns on the body itself, you see irritable bowel syndrome, lupus or multiple sclerosis, among the many autoimmune diseases that were virtually unknown to our ancestors but are increasingly common in the developed world.
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Postby Lyon » Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:49 am

Thanks Chris!

I read what you copy and pasted but I look forward to clicking on the link and reading the whole article tonight.

I can see already that I disagree with the author about the good microbes/bad microbes thing ("good" microbes =benefit/"bad" microbes=not) because the experience in Sardinia Italy and others has shown that even the "bad" have an immunomodulatory effect on the human immune system.

Of course, if the people of Sardinia have to consider higher MS/autoimmune rates the cost for getting rid of malaria, they still would probably consider it a good deal, but the question is-can we alleviate both parasite related diseases AND autoimmunity? It's going to involve some thinking and some work, but I'm convinced that we can.

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Postby Chris55 » Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:07 am

Bob--after you read the whole article (actually quite long(, get back to me. You will see very fast acknowledgment that reserachers admit there is much TOO much they don't yet know about this subject. And that what they are discovering is very interesting. There is one study focused just on this subject.

Anyway--a lot of what they are saying really does make sense albeit it goes against everything we have ever learned! Hope you find it beneficial in some way.
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Postby Lyon » Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:51 am

Chris55 wrote:Bob--after you read the whole article (actually quite long(, get back to me. You will see very fast acknowledgment that researchers admit there is much TOO much they don't yet know about this subject.
Hi Chris,
I read the entire article. Thanks for including it because I found it very interesting. If you hadn't posted it, I probably would never have seen it.

I have to agree with the researchers that there is an abundance which isn't known and likely will never be provable. It's the most frustrating situation I've ever dealt with because, in the developed countries, any conclusive evidence which might have existed was lost to the passing of time.

Despite its seeming simplicity, in total it's terribly complicated. It doesn't help that it's based on an inverse situation which isn't easy for the human mind to wrap itself around. We like to envision "something" being the cause of MS. The "loss of something" greatly complicates things. The fact the missing "something" is hideous and something we're glad to be rid of, doesn't help raise open minded interest either.

At the most very base level, it seems that this "loss of evolutionary normal conditions" amounts to an evolutionized human dependency. In the developed populations a "deficiency" resulting from the loss of these "non-self" organisms in our systems whose presence our systems had, over millions of years of co-existence, evolved to depend upon.

Because an important factor in the hygiene hypothesis is the pre-puberty education of our immune systems by exposure to these environmental pathogens, I'm not sure that adding these things back into our systems in adulthood could/should be expected to be "THE CURE" because adult exposure could reasonably be expected to be too late.

Despite that, researchers seem to have been producing pretty good results with a variety of "autoimmune" diseases in adults anyway.

Thanks again!
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Postby Chris55 » Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:37 am

Thanks for your thoughts/comments. I realize I am not an "Einstein", but I have never been able to accept the autoimmune theory in that: You went to bed last night and when you woke up this morning, your immune system decided to attack you but we have no clue why." (And I am referring to ALL autoimmune diseases, 3 of which I have.)

For me, there has to be a reason why this happens for EACH disease and research should be focusing on why and exactly what is happening.

As we all know when we read the very fine print, those in the know "think" MS is an autoimmune disease--and all meds treat that way, but there has never been any proof that that is the cause.

All I know is my daughter is doing exceptional on her supplements. Why, I have NO clue! But I choose not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Do I believe the Monster is gone for the rest of her life? I don't. But we become like alcoholics--one day at a time!

I continue to want nothing but the best for ALL of you--truly! And I will always support the decisions you make for what is best for you! All of you are the bravest folks I have ever know.

Keep on keeping on!
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Postby gibbledygook » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:12 am

Multiple sclerosis has been around for long before antibiotics were developed and was first described in the 19th century. Hence I don't buy the theory that antibiotics are the cause of auto-immunity. However you might think I'm prejudiced because I've been taking antibiotics to treat my MS. However I don't think the antibiotics are helping very much so I'm not some kind of antibiotic convert. MS has been around for centuries and our better abilities at diagnosing and labelling it probably account for the "increase" in the West.
3 years antibiotics, 06/09 bilateral jug stents at C1, 05/11 ballooning of both jug valves, 07/12 stenting of renal vein, azygos & jug valve ballooning,
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Postby Chris55 » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:46 am

One quick PS (and note to you Gobbly). The doctor who is providing the regimen for my daughter has as his goal the ultimate return of the immune system to its natural, most healthy functioning status thus enabling the body to fight its own diseases itself. (This in a relatively short period of time.) Certainly in line with some of the thoughts in this article!

Gobbly--I endorse/support antibiotics 1000 percent! My daughter started a "natural" regimen for a strep bacteria infection (as diagnosed by a doctor who treats with supplements only.) So far, she has experienced very positive results.

I say ANYTHING that is not harmful, does not cause you to sell your house and your soul, is worth trying! What do ANY of you have to lose and you just MAY get some help? Any treatment for MS is at best a crap shoot since we don't have a cure yet. Everyone seems to be different so if it works for you, go for it. That's just how I feel about this disease.
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Postby Lyon » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:51 pm

Chris55 wrote:I realize I am not an "Einstein", but I have never been able to accept the autoimmune theory in that: You went to bed last night and when you woke up this morning, your immune system decided to attack you but we have no clue why." (And I am referring to ALL autoimmune diseases, 3 of which I have.)
Hi Chris,
We've got a lot of smart people here but only when one of them cures MS will I consider them an Einstein :lol: I've never noticed that it really matters whether or not MS is autoimmune.....one of the most widespread misconceptions regarding "inflammatory" diseases is that the first symptom or the diagnosis has some direct relationship with the actual inception of the disease process. Most researchers AND logic seem to agree that the disease process begins many years before symptoms leading to diagnosis. Despite seeming that way, it isn't an overnight situation.

Chris55 wrote:For me, there has to be a reason why this happens for EACH disease and research should be focusing on why and exactly what is happening.
As a person with three "inflammatory" diseases you, more than most, should be considering the fact that most people in the general population don't have ANY diseases and that the odds are astronomically against you getting plastered with three completely unrelated diseases. The odds are that they're closely related and involve the same underlying process expressing different outward symptoms. Your daughter having an "inflammatory disease, but not one that you have, is another strong clue in that it shows the familial link to inflammatory disease, yet she didn't get one that you have.

One of the biggest roadblocks to progress are the remaining misconceptions from early researchers. Because these diseases were discovered separately before awareness of the immune system, because medical specialty is divided into affected body parts, the assumption has always been that these are separate diseases affecting separate body parts rather than one disease of the immune system which expresses different outward symptoms in different people.

Chris55 wrote:As we all know when we read the very fine print, those in the know "think" MS is an autoimmune disease--and all meds treat that way, but there has never been any proof that that is the cause.
You're giving our state of medical advancement FAR too much credit. If we really could design drugs to do exactly what we want, to the degree that we want, I would wholeheartedly agree with you. MS treatment failures could just as easily be owed to the misdirection and ineffectiveness of our treatments which doesn't necessarily prove that MS is, or isn't autoimmune.

gibbledygook wrote:Multiple sclerosis has been around for long before antibiotics were developed and was first described in the 19th century. Hence I don't buy the theory that antibiotics are the cause of auto-immunity. However you might think I'm prejudiced because I've been taking antibiotics to treat my MS.
Hi gg,
Yours is a valid thought process but I would argue that there is a lot more to the "hygiene hypothesis/loss of evolutionary normal conditions" situation than just that.

The idea behind the hygiene hypothesis is that the human immune system evolved experiencing all these parasitic pathogens (protozoans, viruses, bacteria and helminth parasites) in our youth so that by about the age of fourteen, with or without continued exposure to them we had a "mature" immune system capable of correctly directing its actions.

In articles you'll often see vaccines and antibiotics quoted as playing a part, and to a degree they probably did, but the strength of this effect likely is based on the size of the pathogen and time in the system. A two week stint with head lice or the bacteria in our stomachs seems to have shown not to have given our immune systems enough experience in the developed populations and as the largest of the human parasites that is why recent research has been focused on the helminth parasites.

One helminth has the surface area to "hide" from the immune system which would equal millions of bacteria. With that in mind, in undeveloped populations helminth infections can range from thousands and in the worse cases up to a million.

It might seem that the use of abx towards MS is contrary to the hygiene hypothesis and might reflect on the validity of the hygiene hypothesis, under the current conditions the two don't reflect on each other at all.

Because there has always been pampered royalty and wealthy people who didn't have to walk barefoot through the "poo" of others and who probably demanded (and sometimes found available) higher quality food and water than the general population, I think there have been scattered cases of MS through the history of humanity.

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Postby Chris55 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:41 am

Bob--thanks so much for your very intelligent and thoughtful comments! I still think the MS medical community should come to this site and read the posts!
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