PureInsight | April 15, 2002
Asthma is a common ailment. There are currently about five million children suffering from asthma in the United States of America. Asthma is a common reason why many children stay home from school. It has been estimated that in the year 2002, there will be 29 million asthma patients. In the last 20 years, the number of people diagnosed with asthma has increased by 1.5 times. This increase in the number of asthma cases had caught the attention of the medical field and researchers alike. At a convention held on asthma in New York on March 1, 2002, scientists announced a surprising discovery. The reason that asthma is on the rise is not because the air is polluted or because of dust particles, but because our environment is getting cleaner.
These new studies also showed that if children escaped various infections during infancy, then their immune systems would overreact when exposed to dust and other foreign matter and this causes allergic reactions or asthma. Research shows that children from poor nations are frequently sick, but they rarely get asthma. It’s interesting to note that East Germany had a low incidence of asthma before Germany was reunited. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the incidence of asthma increased in East Germany.
Andy Liu from an asthma clinic in the National Jewish Hospital in Denver said, “Our clean living ways perhaps might be leading to this global rise in asthma and allergies.” Researchers also discovered that children from day care centers have a lower risk of developing asthma because they are sick more often. Children raised on farms are also more resistant to asthma.
This new research offers us a chance to reflect upon ourselves. There is an ancient Chinese principle, “if a child frequently suffers from minor illnesses, no major diseases will befall him.” This ancient wisdom sums up why it’s not a bad thing for a child to be sick once in a while, since he’ll grow up to be a healthier person. It has been scientifically proven that this ancient wisdom is correct when it comes to asthma. This leads to another question that we must ask ourselves. If people get more infections living in dirty environments, and clean environments give rise to asthma and allergies, then in what environment should humans be living?
Since the 18th century, when Robert Krevers concluded that external influences cause sickness, humans began their never-ending quest to find the causes of illness by searching for bacteria, viruses and other environmental factors. In the last few hundred years, medical research has been faced with an annoying fact. Every medical breakthrough leads mankind toward a worse predicament. For example, every time we create a new antibiotic, we breed a new germ that’s resistant to this antibiotic. We are then caught in a vicious cycle. We develop new antibiotics to kill resistant bacteria. Then, the bacteria become resistant to this new antibiotic. Developed nations are cleaning up their environments and minimizing infectious diseases, but these new environment are perfect breeding grounds for asthma and allergies. It’s obvious that controlling the environment can’t control sickness. Doesn’t it make you wonder what the real cause of disease is?