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Asperger Syndrome, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, biofilm, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, David Strachan, discovery of penicillin, Drosophila, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, germ theory of disease, hygiene hypothesis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, Maui Hawaii, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, the scientific method
For everywhere in between the developed world and increasingly rare pockets of tribal culture, the merciless rise persists, sweeping more and more people into this state of unnatural immune overreaction as the generations go by. Since the rise began in the West around the 1950s, the question has always been: What is the underlying cause? For most of the last century, the traditional theory was that allergies are triggered in children when they suffer from infections. In 1989 a British doctor named David Strachan challenged that theory. He did so, in a brief and straightforward paper, by suggesting the exact opposite: that allergies were the result of too few infections. Strachan had studied a national database containing health and social information about a group of over 17,000 British children born in a single week in March 1958, who were followed until they reached the age of twenty-three. Of all the data collected on these children – social class, wealth, location and so on – two things stood out as being connected to their chance of suffering from hay fever.
As anyone who has children knows, toddlerhood can bring a constant stream of sniffles. Young children are a hotbed for bacteria and viruses, as their immune systems are naive to the onslaught of pathogens facing humans every day. Toddlers’ habit of putting everything within reach into their mouths means that their microbes, both good and bad, are spread liberally wherever they go. The more children, the more microbes are left in snail trails of snot and saliva. David Strachan’s suggestion was that children in bigger families were benefiting from the extra infections that their siblings – particularly the older ones – brought home. Somehow, he thought, these infections in the early years of a child’s life carried with them protection from hay fever and other allergies. Quickly dubbed the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, Strachan’s idea was supported by the fact that the rise in allergies was matched by improvements in hygiene standards over time.
The idea has been extended from bacterial and viral infections to parasites, particularly worms, of the tape, pin and hook variety. As with microscopic pathogens, your chances of taking on board a worm have dwindled to nearly nothing in the developed world. It has left a suspicion amongst both scientists and the public that worms had been keeping the immune system occupied, and their absence has now left it overstaffed and underworked. The connection that David Strachan had uncovered between family sizes and allergies bore up in dozens of other studies. A neat theory emerged of exactly how that idea might work. Imagine for a moment that the immune system has two divisions: the army and the navy. Now, please forgive me for the following oversimplification of the armed forces. Let’s assume that the army deals with threats on land, and the navy with threats at sea.
The Microbiome Solution by Robynne Chutkan M.D.
Almost a century later, we still don’t know what causes autoimmune illnesses such as Crohn’s, although there’s been lots of speculation—from infections like measles, E. coli, and enterovirus to lifestyle factors like smoking and stress to common and seemingly benign practices like the use of toothpaste and refrigeration. In keeping with Dr. Crohn’s initial theory, emerging evidence suggests that bacteria do indeed play a major role, but it may be their absence rather than their presence that leads to the diagnosis. The Hygiene Hypothesis In the late 1950s, Professor David Strachan, a lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, embarked on an epidemiological study of hay fever and eczema in British children. These diseases had been steadily increasing since the turn of the century when large populations left the farm for the factory. The study followed seventeen thousand children from birth to adulthood, and the results revealed a startling and unexpected association: both conditions were far less common in large families with lots of early childhood infections from exposure to siblings.
See also salads Baked Root Vegetable Chips, 245–46 Bring on More Root Veggies, 246 Cauliflower Mash with Garlic, 241–42 Curry & Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower, 240–41 Green Bananas, 240 Quinoa with Dried Fruits & Nuts, 242–43 Roasted Asparagus, 244–45 Roasted Brussels Sprouts, 243–44 Roasted Fennel, 244 Simple Chia Seed Pudding, 202–203 sinus infections, 157–59 skin health alternative therapies, 161–62 chemicals in commercial products, 140, 149–50 coconut oil, 145–46 Coconut Oil Exfoliating/Moisturizing Body Scrub, 147 conditions associated with dysbiosis, 82–87 Dry Skin Facial Scrub, 147 Essential Oil Scalp Treatment, 149 manuka honey, 146 Moisturizing Citrus Lotion, 148 Moisturizing Hair Mask for Dry/Damaged Hair, 148 Oily Skin Facial Scrub, 146 Rinse for Oily Hair, 149 topically applied microbes, 140–41 Vanilla Moisturizing Lotion, 148 Warm Brown Sugar Exfoliating/Moisturizing Body Scrub, 147–48 Sliced Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad, 218 small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), 56, 68–69, 141 smoothies Apple Pie Green Smoothie, 209–10 Blueberry Bliss Smoothie, 211 Creamy Sweet Potato Smoothie, 210 Everything but the Kitchen Sink Smoothie, 211–12 Live Dirty, Eat Clean Signature Smoothie, 208–209 Mint Chip Dessert Smoothie, 262–63 snacks and sweets Banana Blueberry Flaxseed Muffins, 207–208 Chickpea Herbed Crackers, 257–58 Chocolate Mousse, 260–61 Creamy Sweet Potato Smoothie, 210 Dates with Nut Butter, 256–57 Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, 261–62 Guilt-Free Chocolate Orange Truffles, 259–60 High-Fiber Trail Mix, 255 Live Dirty, Eat Clean “Ice Cream,” 262 Mint Chip Dessert Smoothie, 262–63 No-Bake Energy Balls, 255–56 Omega-Rich Granola, 205–206 Raspberry Chia Seed Jam, 259 Seeded Almond Flour Bread, 258 Simple Chia Seed Pudding, 202–203 soups Bone Broth, 254–55 Chicken & Veggie Immunity Soup, 247–48 Easy Gazpacho with Avocado, 252 Homemade Vegetable Broth, 253–54 Lentil Soup with Leeks, 251 Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, 249–50 Split Pea Soup/Dal, 250 Vibrant Veggie Soup, 246–47 spinach Apple Pie Green Smoothie, 209–10 Artichoke & Spinach Dip, 223–24 Blueberry Bliss Smoothie, 211 Chicken & Veggie Immunity Soup, 247–48 Green Lemonade, 214–15 Lentil Soup with Leeks, 251 Live Dirty, Eat Clean Signature Bowl, 227–28 Live Dirty, Eat Clean Signature Smoothie, 208–209 Mint Chip Dessert Smoothie, 262–63 Vegetable Frittata, 200–201 Vibrant Veggie Soup, 246–47 Split Pea Soup/Dal, 250 spreads. See dips and spreads Steak, Flank, 239 steroids, 53, 157 stool transplant. See fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) Strachan, David, 22–23 strawberries, in Fruit Salsa, 236 stress, 4, 56–57, 143 sugar cravings, 61, 131 sunflower seeds Colorful Kale Salad, 216 Grain-Free & Vegan Veggie Burgers, 231–33 High-Fiber Trail Mix, 255 Omega-Rich Granola, 205–206 Seeded Almond Flour Bread, 258 supplements, 176–78 sweet potatoes Baked Root Vegetable Chips, 245–46 Creamy Sweet Potato Smoothie, 210 Grain-Free & Vegan Veggie Burgers, 231–33 Honey Roasted Chicken, 236–37 Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, 249–50 Roasted Chicken with Vegetables, 237–38 Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Hash, 199–200 White Bean Vegetarian Chili, 230–31 sweets.
The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat by Tim Spector
biofilm, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, David Strachan, double helix, Drosophila, epigenetics, hygiene hypothesis, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, Steve Jobs
A study recently found that babies who had their rubber dummies sucked clean by a parent then popped back into their mouths had considerably fewer allergies than those with parents dutifully replacing hygienic sterile dummies.12 The old-fashioned practice of mothers pre-chewing their baby’s food, which is rare in the West nowadays, served both to break down tough starchy foods and meats and to transmit a wide range of helpful microbes via saliva. Licking babies is common in most mammals and in some human cultures, and of course kissing is pretty universal. The Hygiene Hypothesis is an idea you may have heard of. It was developed by a colleague I trained with in epidemiology, David Strachan, whose interest was sparked when he was looking at the national data of children followed up from birth for asthma and eczema. He found a correlation between damp housing conditions and allergy in the UK.13 But the link was not what we might intuitively have expected: the damp, poor conditions and overcrowded families were actually protective, even after adjusting for other possible sources of bias.