[Sca-cooks] increasing allergies
t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Sat Aug 16 20:36:00 PDT 2008
> <<< In our case, where there are various allergies to this and that, no
> allergy to peanuts exists on either side, to our best knowledge.
> The pediatric allergist we went to, a very good one, said essentially
> really didn't have a clue why peanut allergies have risen so
> dramatically. >>>
> My suspicion is that we'll eventually find out is that *we* are causing
> this problem. Not just by cleaning up the environment of the items that
> might train the immune system, but by confusing it in other ways and this
> might in fact be accentuated by the too-clean environment.
Think about the use of the peanut for a minute. The increased use of
peanuts in the U.S. is primarily due to the work of George Washington
Carver, who did most of his major research in the first half of the 20th
Century. The increased exposure to peanuts, penut product and peanut
antigens is an artifact of the 20th Century. The more peanuts are used, the
more likely you are to see peanut allergies.
> Immune systems are probably not perfectly specific. It comes down to a
> trade-off. If the immune system is too specific, either through evolution
> or learning, then it is more likely to miss something that *is* dangerous
> to the survival of the individual/species. If it is too general, it
> spends resources attacking something it has no reason to. This wastes
> resources and energy. In the worse case, the "something" it attacks is
> something the organism needs such as a pancreas. In our case we are
> dumping so many compounds into the environment that evolution has had
> time to tweak the immune system to be more specific in what it considers
> an enemy.
I think you will find that the immune system is highly specific with
different lymphocytes recognizing only the specific antigens they respond
against. This does not mean they can't be fooled.
> So it may not be peanuts that set off a peanut allergy. It may be
> something else in the environment which the body has decided is bad and
> some compound in peanuts is close enough to what the body got trained to
> fight that it goes into hyper-drive when it sees that compound in peanut
> stuff. This would explain why such allergies could pop up without any
> genetic component.
You probably can't rule out a genetic component since the particular alleles
could be recessive over several generations. If the parents or grandparents
have a mild, ignorable histaminic reaction to peanuts, they could be
allergic without knowing it.
> <<< Respiratory allergies is a different story, I have heard those linked
> "too clean" houses, but not necessarily peanuts. >>>
> It may be that some respiratory allergies are created by the item that
> later creates the problem and others are actually caused by something
> totally different but which matches too well with something perhaps more
> I am not an immunologist or a medical person. This last one about
> synthetic environmental triggers is just my own guess.
I think you will find that repiratory allergies cause histamines to be
released which in turn dialates the capillaries possibly leading to edema of
the tissue in the lungs and bronchial passages reducing the ability of the
lungs to take in air. It's the same kind of reaction that produces tissue
swelling or hives on the skin.
The increase in allergies might also be explained by our increasing
knowledge of the immune system and its diseases. Since we know that
allergies occur and we have a grasp of the basic mechanism of allergic
response, we can test and identify allergies more readily than 50 years ago.
As testing methods improve, more people find they have allergies. Allegies,
in particular lethal allergies, may not be increasing as a percentage of
population. They may just be more recognizable.
As for "too clean" houses, it is more likely they are too dirty. Modern
building technology has produced air tight buildings for more efficient
heating and cooling which trap dust and other allergens in the building.
Without some serious filtration (usually too expensive), the stuff in the
air is going to keep recirculating. When I worked at the Health Department
(30 year old building) we had a half inch layer of dirt on the top of the
ceiling panels, that got disturbed every time we pulled cable through the
ceiling. Too clean?
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