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More on the real causes of Atopic Dermatitis (B) Hygiene Hypothesis

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2. Hygiene Hypothesis

In 1989 the English Dr. Strachan proposed a theory that we, being very cleanly and sanitary Japanese, have been sensing as well. His contention is that a clean environment filled with antibacterial products actually cause allergies more easily. A recent clinical study, conducted over 20 years with the help of over 20,000 people, epidemiologically proved this theory. This is the Hygiene Hypothesis, which was not widely accepted before due to the feeble understanding of Th1 and Th2 cells, but is now accepted as one of the most believable theories.

People who are the youngest of a big family tend to have fewer allergies. Basically, it was proven that if kids are exposed to bacteria and viruses at an early age, they tend to develop less allergies since they did not become sick as much as an infant due to better standards of living and hygienic environments. This is seen through the comparison of the percentages of children with tuberculin skin and allergies or the fact that children with measles tended to not get AD compared to children who didn’t get measles. This phenomenon also applies to hepatitis-A and heliobactor pylori infections.

Also, it is well known that children who work at farms do not usually develop asthma. When the exposure concentration of endotoxins in the dust on the mattresses of children of farm families and other children in Australia, Germany, and Switzerland were compared, it was shown that children who were more exposed to endotoxins tended to not develop asthma (AD businessmen who sell the tick-free blankets will be at a loss of words when they read this!). A study of 500 infants 2 to 3 months old in Boston also showed that the higher endotoxin concentrations were, the incidence of eczemas decreased. In addition, when the concentration of endotoxins were grouped in 4 degrees, it was proven that for every higher degree, the danger of getting eczema and other allergies decreased by 25%. What these studies show is that children who live in a somewhat unsanitary environment are not prone to develop AD. This fact can also be seen in places such as Tibet, Indonesia, and Laos, where AD is not a concern for the children. ( endotoxin is a type of toxin in bacteria. When the Gram negative bacterium breaks and the lipopolysaccharide, a structural component of the cell membrane, becomes free, it becomes poisonous.)

  In general, newborns tend to have more Th2 cells, but as the child gets exposed to bacteria, viruses and toxins from germs, the body produces more Th1 cells and the balance between Th1 and Th2 stabilizes. To grow healthily, it is necessary to be exposed to microorganisms to a certain extent; kids should grow up playing in mud and running around in the woods. However, although not completely germfree, staying indoors is just going to keep the Th2 levels the same, and the child will get AD, asthma, and hay fever easily. Also, if babies are shot with antibiotics at an early age, the body will be cleansed of not only the bad bacteria, but also harmless bacteria, so they will be more susceptible to allergies later on. Wise parents who sensed this fact tried to let their children grow freely without antibiotics, but ignorant doctors, AD businessmen who take advantage of the doctor’s stupidity, and pharmaceutical companies all facilitated an extreme surge of antibiotics.


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