The Corner

An Md On Asthma

He writes: “There is growing evidence that asthma, like polio, is a disease of cleanliness. It is rare in farm children and seems to be related to a failure to expose very young children to dirt when their immune systems are sorting out friend from foe. Polio was the same and the epidemics first appeared in Sweden, in villages, where a combination of isolation and cleanliness isolated children from new pathogens. This was finally figured out in the 50s when Mexican children were tested, once the antibody test was available, and all the poor kids were found already immune even though none had paralysis. A similar mechanism is postulated for asthma although there is no proof yet. Epidemiology will probably prove it one day. In the meantime, asthma deaths are climbing steadily.”

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