The Western attitude toward disease

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  1. Aya Katz profile image84
    Aya Katzposted 14 years ago

    Should we try to eradicate all infectious diseases, so that children born in the next generation never have to suffer from disease at all, not even the common cold? Or, does surviving a childhood disease confer health benefits on the survivor that would be absent if one did not go through the process of getting sick and recovering? Is there a balance that could be struck between complete freedom from contagious disease and the suffering experienced when these diseases are at large? What do you think?

    1. nyliram profile image58
      nyliramposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I really think if we could get back to just the sniffles etc not bad, its the Travel ones that are causing probs.
      If people want to travel, they should stay somewhere where they can wait for 7-8 days incubation period..... Only while there are bad germs around. Each town Hospital could handle this as the people usually would not be sick.
      I think people are dirty and that is why disease is rife, you can't walk down a street here without finding spit all over the pavers. It is very disgusting.

  2. lumberjack profile image66
    lumberjackposted 14 years ago

    If ALL disease is completely eradicated and there is no chance of foreign contamination of Earth, then it there would be no reason to have children suffer through diseases.

    The "health benefits" acquired from surviving a disease are just a strengthened immune system.  And by strengthened, I mean your body will have antibodies to help fight a reoccurrence of the same/similar infection.

    If there is complete freedom from infectious disease, then there would be no need for these antibodies as it would be impossible to acquire the infection in the first place.

  3. dipless profile image68
    diplessposted 14 years ago

    Good point well made lumberjack I don't think I need add anything else, except we don't have the technology or knowledge to wipe out all existing pathogens from the earth short of destroying all of us in the process smile

    1. Aya Katz profile image84
      Aya Katzposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Dipless, both you and Lumberjack have made good points. When I spoke of eradicating all disease, I should have said "all currently known diseases." I very seriously doubt that we could eradicate all current and future diseases without destroying life on earth.

      So, the question rephrased is this: knowing that new diseases will be spawned in the future, would it make sense to eliminate the diseases we know about now?

  4. lumberjack profile image66
    lumberjackposted 14 years ago

    Oh in that case it would make sense to eradicate those that have very low survival rates if possible.  For stuff like colds, it would be nice if there were better treatments, but I wouldn't recommend everyone getting a vaccine for it.

    Stuff that will kill should be eliminated.  It's kinda silly to subject yourself to something deadly on the chance that a deadlier mutation will arise later.  Besides, surviving one disease isn't gonna help you any when you're hit by a completely different one.

  5. Misha profile image64
    Mishaposted 14 years ago

    Now that's a good question Aya I would say. No would be my response, for obvious reasons of immune system training. smile

  6. LondonGirl profile image82
    LondonGirlposted 14 years ago

    Not catching minor diseases as a child ups the risk of allergies, as I understand it.

    1. Aya Katz profile image84
      Aya Katzposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      LondonGirl, there seems to be some evidence to support the idea that being parasite free is one cause of the higher rates of autoimmune disorders in industrialized countries. (It's called the hygiene hypothesis.) Is there any literature to suggest this also about illnesses such as chicken pox?

  7. profile image0
    urimiddenposted 14 years ago

    Before one can truly consider such a proposition, it is critical to completely understand exactly where the various diseases originate and the particular propensities they inure within and without their environment. What is unfortunate is that far too many agencies and foundations have also seen fit to exacerbate the natural alchemy of disease (which mutated out of humanity's penchant for ignorant activities and engagements, such as mastication of charred dead animal flesh, including its production and processing, and excessive consumption of adverse foods associated with this behavior; perverse social advents. etc..,) by intentionally creating thousands of biological and biochemical agents and diseases aimed at furthering bio-warfare and eugenically minded exploits.

    Furthermore, far too many of the habitual proclivities engendered within various societies have, for millennia, attempted to, and largely successfully, devolve the species into compliant vassals and thus completely morphed the humanity's common intelect and instincts to the point that it is likely to have long term effects on various societies' evolutionary cycle.

    Even more sinister, is the fact that many covert entities have been, for centuries, using the science of vaccination (often under the guise of research and development; "R&D") to create and test thousands of inoculations, including a plethora of chosen poisons which were delivered via their convivial needles, for the purpose of testing a myriad of anthropogenically adverse, and destructive, pathogens and chemicals. The mortality rate of such exploits is staggering to the point that much of the data is hidden deep in medical journals and double speak.

    I am nearly certain that my answer to your query has reached far deeper into your expected response parameters. However, this is nothing short of the truth, and in all honesty, is merely the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

    It would be very wise for this nation, and yea all of humanity, to wake up and begin to investigate the hundreds of ways so many ignorant people contribute to the wicked and nefarious activities these people have employed throughout much of contemporary reality...and certainly continue to this it escalates! People would also be very wise to investigate H1N1 (swine flu) and its bio-weaponized implications.

    1. lumberjack profile image66
      lumberjackposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Lay off the thesaurus urimidden.

      1. profile image0
        urimiddenposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        Are you serious lumberjack? Is there something wrong with my use of the English lanquage?? Or do you merely oppose my thesis?

        What is it with the people in this nation who appear to be mainly offended by intellegence and reality? The fantasy world this society attempts to exist within is extremely destructive, and simultaneously debilitatingly people opt to sleep their lives away, watching idiotic actors and actresses on television and gorging themselves with Doritos and cheeseburgers.

        For what reason do you insinuate I am sitting around reading a thesaurus? For your information, I was never afforded the proper ability to attend classes as many of you people, and I am appalled at the throngs of deranged morons who's entitlent mentality has allowed them to lethargically slither through their education. I am not certain where I got my prodigious abilities from (however, my father was an inventor, machine designer, industrial troubleshooter and author...among many other things) but I have my theories. Having not been afforded such "luxuries" I spent much of my time studying history, sociology, philosophy, language, mathematics, engineering and anything else I could get my hands on...until I tested in the top 2% in the nation and was talked into entering the USN's AECF program...which I blew the doors off of, I might add.

        I cannot eschew (a word I heard once...and just spelled and used my own amazement) for you, your consternation toward, or resentments of, people such as myself. Regardless of the fact that it would please me to no end. I am who I am, and truly attempted to change it for the likes of requests such as yours...I will never again in my life repeat such an asinine mistake.

  8. LondonGirl profile image82
    LondonGirlposted 14 years ago

    This is a rather interesting article on allergy research:

  9. Aya Katz profile image84
    Aya Katzposted 14 years ago

    LondonGirl, thanks for the link. It's an interesting article, but they are examining all sorts of factors at the same time: diet, exposure to animals, bacteria, and even educational level, I suppose. What role immunization for childhood diseases might have in all this will be hard to pinpoint, I fear.

    1. LondonGirl profile image82
      LondonGirlposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I agree, but I think it's a good overview of current thinking and research.

      There are some vaccines I could have had but either I chose not to have them, or my parents chose on my behalf when I was a child.

      Whooping cough, for example, I didn't have because my uncle had epilepsy, and one of my sisters had infantile febrile fits. Cholera I avoided for the same reason when I went to India.

      1. Aya Katz profile image84
        Aya Katzposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        When I was little, there was no vaccine for chicken pox. When my daughter started kindergarten, she was required to receive a chicken pox vaccine. As far as I know, there was no adverse effect, but what this means is that my daughter has never had any childhood disease except colds or flu. I hope she is not disadavntaged by this in the long run.

        1. Lisa HW profile image61
          Lisa HWposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          I wouldn't think, as long as she had no side effects from the Chicken Pox vaccine, that she would be disadvantaged; because, essentially, having been exposed to the virus amounts to placing her immune system in the position of doing what it would do if she had the "real" illness.   

          The only childhood disease I had was measles when I was three.  There was no MMR vaccine then.  My mother was so worried about me and my sister (who also had it), because of the things that can come about as a result of measles.  We were fine, but I know how worried my mother was.  I grew up thinking I was "probably immune" to Chicken Pox (my father had never had them), but when I was 22 someone brought an infected two-year-old into my home and started a whole chain of adults getting the disease.  It was actually kind of funny, I guess.

          Then the next disadvantage of not having vaccine was before I was planning to have a family.  I had to get the Rubella vaccine long enough before planning to start a family that it wouldn't be a danger.

          My son didn't receive the last Pertussis boosters because he had a febrile seizure, the way my younger brother did when he was a small child.  Both were premies, so I don't know if it was being premies or a familial thing (although they were the only ones to have them).  Anyway, I wasn't very comfortable knowing he hadn't had all the Pertussis vaccines.

          I don't think anyone really feels completely comfortable with choices about "vaccine or no vaccine" or how to deal with infections.  My father's parents lost a three-year-old to Diptheria.  A 19-year-old girl I knew got strep throat (not that there's a vaccine for that), and it turned into a horror show of Rheumatic Fever, heart disease, brain damage, etc. etc.  She ended up dying at 31 after 12 years of serious health problems.  In a case like that, you wonder if she had had a better immune system whether it would changed the course of events.  Then again, a doctor once told me how sick someone gets from any infection can depend on what kind of "dose" of exposure he gets.   I tend to think a lot of illnesses could be prevented if people had the right diets and sleep, didn't have too much stress to compromise their systems, and practiced careful handwashing/precautions, etc.  In other words, maybe all we can do (ideally) is aim to make people stronger and healthier, rather than ever hope to eradicate ever-changing bacteria and viruses.

          1. LondonGirl profile image82
            LondonGirlposted 14 years agoin reply to this

            I didn't have measles jabs as a young child, they weren't brought in until later. I did have measles, when I was 9. In fact, all 4 of us had it - I was 9, my sisters 7 and 3, and my brother was 2. My mother recalls that as a difficult time, oddly enough!

            I did have the standard infant ones, polio, diptheria, and tetanus. No whooping cough vaccine, because like your son, my sister had an infant fit, and my uncle had epilepsy as a young man, so it was contra-indicated.

            We all got rubella and meningitis jabs at school, and most people BcG - anti-TB vaccination.

            When I started going to places such as India and Mongolia, I also had Hepatitus A & B, and typhoid, and one other which escapes me now. But not cholera, for the same reasons as above.

            Isaac's had measles, mumps and rubella injections (separately done at my GP, not MMR), polio, tetanus, diptheria, meningitis, and something beginning with pn that escapes me.

  10. ledefensetech profile image68
    ledefensetechposted 14 years ago

    Perhaps the question should not be "Should we try to eradicate all infectious disease?", but rather "Should we try to strengthen the immune system so that people no longer fall prey to illness?"  One of the more interesting lines of research I've heard about concerns a firm in Egypt, I think, that has found a way to insert genetic code from a person immune to the AIDS virus to someone who lacks that immunity.  Should that prove to be the case, the implications are staggering.  I'll have to research where I heard it, it was a part of a newsletter about the implications of Obama relaxing the rules on the use of federal money on stem cell research. 

    In theory, such a thing is possible, should a viable way be found to pass along immunities to disease, the future could look very different than the world of today.

    1. Aya Katz profile image84
      Aya Katzposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, I think that is an interesting take on the problem. Isn't it possible for us and infectious diseases (or the entities that cause them) to coexist in greater harmony?

      In the case of AIDs, isn't it true that those individuals who are infected with HIV but immune to AIDs simply have a less active immune system that does not find it necessary to combat the viral intruder?

      1. ledefensetech profile image68
        ledefensetechposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        No those that are immune to the AIDS virus lack some sort of protein, I think that the virus uses to latch on the immune system cells of the body.  If the virus can't grab hold of a cell, it' cannot inject its rogue DNA into the cell and take it over.  If the cell is not taken over, then the virus cannot replicate and spread itself around.  You could say that those people have a more active immune system that better identifies and destroys infectious intruders. 

        I'm not sure where this less active immune system is better thing is coming from, that is incorrect.  The AIDS virus in fact weakens the immune system such that even animal viruses we're normally immune to are able to affect those who have AIDS.  So a weaker immune system that "doesn't fight" doesn't do you much good.

        Swine Flu Parties eh?  They might have been started by someone who knows something about the Flu Pandemic of 1919.  Before the Spanish Flu circled the world to ravage humanity, a smaller less virulent form of the flu ravaged Kansas and several areas in Western Europe, presumably where Kansas farmboys were seeing the elephant for the first time.  The second wave, the more virulent one, hit in late 1918.  The thought is that wartime conditions created a virus laboratory where the virus multiplied and accelerated it's mutations.  One of those mutations acted as an accelerant to the immune response of the infected, cytokine storms, which is why children and the elderly were not as affected.  The people who had the first, less lethal version, were immune to the Spanish Flu, so that's probably why people are holding these parties.

        Since this version of the swine flu doesn't cause a cytokine storm, those exposing themselves will probably be OK.  One fact that has been little reported in the news is that the majority of deaths in Mexico were due to people's nutritional deficiencies making them more susceptible to things like pneumonia, which was the real killer.  Once the doctors understood that, mortality declined drastically as they began treatment of secondary infections.  It would seem this a variety of a much more common flu strain than we've been getting from the news.

        1. Aya Katz profile image84
          Aya Katzposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          If it's a question of simply not producing a certain protein, then it does not seem correct to say that those with immunity to AIDs have more active immune system. Instead, it would seem that the virus is not designed to work in the environment they provide, and in fact their immune system is never activated against the intruder.

          Here is where the "less active immune system" idea is coming from: we all know that fevers are not caused by diseases. Fevers are a reaction of our immune system to the presence of an intruder. Some people have a high fever every time they get a cold. Some people do not. Without medical intervention to lower the fever, the people with a high fever are more likely to suffer brain damage or even death. In a natural setting, without modern medicine, the people who don't overreact to the presence of the cold will survive. The ones who do overreact will not.

          The immune system, when it is overactive, goes after the body's own cells. This causes autoimmune disorders. Diabetes Type I is thought to be triggered by a virus. However, not everybody reacts the same to the virus. So there is also a genetic component. Those whose immune system overreacts are the ones who end up damaging their own pancreas. It's not the virus that does it. The immune system is responsible for producing antibodies that go out on a rampage.

  11. Lisa HW profile image61
    Lisa HWposted 14 years ago

    Not long ago I read that nurturing in the first three years of life can actually affect how efficiently the immune system functions for the rest of a child's life.  (It also affects the stress response system.)  The "wrong" kind of "nurturing goings-on" can mean a person's immune system and stress-response system could be adversely affected for the rest of his life.  To me, this information is something that needs more understanding and discussion among the general public.

    In view of the fact that infections can be far more serious in babies and young children than in older children and adults (I lost a 20-month-old nephew to an infection that would not have killed someone older), I think it would be well worth aiming to prevent as many infections as possible in children, at least until getting the infection would carry less deadly risk.

    My eldest son was 8 when he got Chicken Pox.  I had a three-year-old who was more severely affected by illnesses because he had been a premie, and I had a small infant.  I kept my eldest son away from the younger ones, based on the reasoning that I wanted to hold off their getting Chicken Pox until they were a little more able to deal with it.  The two younger ones got it in early elementary/mid-elementary school, and it just didn't pose the same risks.  (At the time, my pediatrician did say that if the baby or my "premie" got it there could be more risk of complications.)   I've known other people with two-year-olds who get Chicken Pox, and it can just be a more miserable situation than it is when the child is six or seven.

  12. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 14 years ago

    Interesting that you should raise this issue now. I just heard on the radio that some people are having 'swine flu parties' designed for voluntary infection. The idea is, catch swine flu now while it is relatively mild so that if it comes back more virulent in the fall you'll have an immunity.

    I'm pretty suspicious of conventional medicine and wish more emphasis was put on building good health instead of diagnosing and treating disease. IMO we focus too much on disease and end up making more disease by trying to battle disease.

    1. Aya Katz profile image84
      Aya Katzposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I'm not sure that I'd want to volunteer to catch swine flu at the moment, but I agree with your concerns about conventional medicine. It's not necessarily that conventional medicine has created more suffering -- after all, every year children used to die of ordinary childhood diseases like measles -- but there doesn't seem to have been an overall reduction of suffering, either. It seems almost that we are spinning our wheels, or as if there were some law of preservation of suffering, so that every time suffering is relieved by one means, it is created elsewhere as a counter-reaction.

  13. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 14 years ago

    Oh I wouldn't go to a swine flu party either! lol!

    I just thought it was interesting that people are doing that now.

    1. Lisa HW profile image61
      Lisa HWposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      People are pretty much doing everything these days, aren't they...  smile   I have to say my approach to aiming to prevent the flu is the tried-and-true washing hands method. (I got some kind of ridiculous, non-descript, "flu-thing" at the beginning of April, spent May fighting off complete loss of my voice, and am just now seeing it clearing out.  I'm not sure getting the "Swine Flu" would be much worse than that, if worse at all.  All I know is I'm not about to go to a Flu Party and try to get yet another "lovely" thing.   smile  )

      1. profile image0
        pgrundyposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        I'm with you on that one! lol

        I got actual influenza in my mid-40s (I'm 56), and I was astonished by how scary it was. Up until that point, I thought the flu was no big deal--I hadn't realized that people died from it and I didn't know at that time about the 1918 pandemic, so when I got it myself, it not only knocked me for a loop physically, it rattled me emotionally.

        I was immobile for five days with a fever of 103-104, which very high for an adult. Just standing up to walk to the bathroom was excruciating. After the fever broke it was another month before I felt myself again. I thought then, god, if I was sick or elderly this would have killed me, and it really does kill older people and sick people.

        So, yeah, I'll pass on the swine flu parties too. I 'get' why they are having them, but you never know what the flu will do to you.

  14. Lisa HW profile image61
    Lisa HWposted 14 years ago

    pgrundy, I'm like you.  Until fairly recently I wasn't really aware of the number of people who die each from flu.  My husband's mother lost both her parents in that 1918 epidemic.  She was six, and she and her four siblings were sent to an orphanage.  Even being that close to her "story", though, I just kind of assumed it was a "that-was-then/this-is-now" kind of thing.  I guess I just kind of thought they didn't have the same level of medical care back then (or something like that).

    The timing of this thing I got in early April has been "great" (sarcasm) because I got sick two or three weeks before the Swine Flu thing showed up in the news.  Of course, by the time it was getting all the attention in the news I was going around coughing my head off.  To make me even more "comfortable" coughing my head off in public, a few weeks later it came out that in my state it's my country where the most Swine Flu cases are!  So now (I still have some cough left) I want to put a sign around my neck that says, "I got this before the first case from Mexico was diagnosed."   smile  I went two whole years without as much as a cold, and this is when I had to get some "pneumonia-like thing"!

  15. Shalini Kagal profile image55
    Shalini Kagalposted 14 years ago

    Aya - great to see you back smile
    It's such a tough decision isn't it - because more often than not, you're making that decision for someone else - in most cases your child.
    We grew up having them all - chicken pox, measles, mumps and whooping cough but my parents did make sure we got the smallpox vaccination. My daughter has had all the jabs because it is mandatory to do so.
    It's so tough to know where to draw the line even if we had a choice - I've said No to 'flu vaccines but the rest, I don't know - even though I'm a strong proponent for natural remedies!

    1. Aya Katz profile image84
      Aya Katzposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Shalini, thanks! It's the second time you've weloomed me back, and I appreciate your noticing the absence. Things have been hectic.

      I don't have the answers where vaccines are concerned, either. I'm not even sure that we're asking the right questions. Collectively, vaccines have saved a lot of lives and taken only a few. But... from the individual's point of view it is always a gamble. And then there is the long view of things, where environmental impact is concerned. High population density is the real reason that diseases proliferate.

  16. Lisa HW profile image61
    Lisa HWposted 14 years ago

    My kids got all but the "pn" one twenty-plus years ago (except for the child who didn't finish his Pertussis series).  These days it's routine for children to get the Haemophilus influenzae (HiB) vaccine, which - to me - is one of the best things to ever happen.  (We lost a 20-month old nephew to a Haemophilus infection; and his mother was so unhappy to know that the vaccine was available but not routinely given out because it was believed to cost too much.)  Of course, that particular bacteria doesn't always turn deady, but I still see today's parents as fortunate to have it available.   I was nervous when my kids got their shots, but when you think of what those immunizations prevent I can't imagine parents not getting them. 

    I was little during the polio "epidemic" (there's argument about whether it was an epidemic or not).  I recall kids living in iron lungs, and my parents not letting us swim in anything but the ocean.  Polio shots came out, and then right after that the drink came out.  Before that, people were really worrying about polio all the time.

    Just when I, as a parent, thought the decisions about immunizations were, for the most part, over; there came the issue that it's recommended college students in dorms get the Meningitis vaccine.  Now there's the one for cervical cancer.  There is that point where one does start to wonder whether too many vaccines could "all mix" and lead to negative consequences that may outweigh some of the benefits.  Then again, my kids weren't require to have Small Pox vaccines the way kids of my generation were, because all the vaccinating led pretty much to eradicating Small Pox.  Maybe tomorrow's children won't need some of vaccines little folks get today.

  17. LondonGirl profile image82
    LondonGirlposted 14 years ago

    "My kids got all but the "pn" one twenty-plus years ago (except for the child who didn't finish his Pertussis series).  These days it's routine for children to get the Haemophilus influenzae (HiB) vaccine, which - to me - is one of the best things to ever happen."

    Isaac had HiB, too, I forgot that. WHat is Pretussis?

    1. Aya Katz profile image84
      Aya Katzposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Pertussis is whooping cough.

  18. LondonGirl profile image82
    LondonGirlposted 14 years ago

    Thanks, Aya.


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