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Too Much Hygiene May Affect Immune System, Study Suggests

Too Much Hygiene May Affect Immune System, Study Suggests

Antimicrobial used in many products such as soaps, toothpaste tied to raised allergy risks in kids

Children and teens who are overexposed to antibacterial soaps that contain the chemical triclosan may be at increased risk for hay fever and other allergies, a finding that suggests that being too clean can actually make people sick, researchers say.

The study also found that exposure to higher levels of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) may weaken an adult’s immune system.

Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent widely used in products such as antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, medical devices and diaper bags. BPA, which is used to make many types of plastics and other consumer products, is believed to affect human hormones.

In this study, researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health analyzed data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

They compared levels of triclosan and BPA in the urine with cytomegalovirus (CMV) antibody levels and diagnosis of allergies or hay fever in adults and children over age 6.

“We found that people over age 18 with higher levels of BPA exposure had higher CMV antibody levels, which suggests their cell-mediated immune system may not be functioning properly,” study first author Erin Rees Clayton said in a university news release.

The investigators also found that children and teens with higher levels of triclosan were more likely to have been diagnosed with hay fever and other allergies.

The study findings are published in the Nov.

30,2010 online edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

“The triclosan findings in the younger age groups may support the ‘hygiene hypothesis,’ which maintains living in very clean and hygienic environments may impact our exposure to microorganisms that are beneficial for development of the immune system,” principal investigator Allison Aiello, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, said in the news release.

Aiello noted that triclosan may change the microorganisms to which people are normally exposed in such a way that children’s immune system development is affected.

“It is possible that a person can be too clean for their own good,” Aiello suggested.


Michael Moore’s Sicko Review – A Documentary of the “Sickening” Health Care System in America!

Article by Sam Smith

There couldn’t be a better word to describe Michael Moore’s latest film “Sicko”. Traveling through the health care world in the United States brings on a new era of realization of how “Sickening” the health insurance industry of America really is.

Almost 50 Million Americans live without health insurance in America. As bad as that is, some insurance companies make it extremely difficult to get any insurance claims at all for the rest of the 250 million Americans that do have health insurance coverage.

Sicko, documents a case where a man had accidentally sawed off two of his fingers, the index finger and the middle finger. When the man was taken to the hospital, he was given a choice – sew back the index finger for ,000 or sew back the middle finger for , 000 – his choice was to keep his index finger, and keep a place for his sacred wedding ring.

This is not an uncommon story in the American health insurance industry, as Sicko depicts that health insurance companies will do whatever it takes to deny a recipient benefit claims.

Another example from Sicko is of a child who was taken to the nearest hospital, after her high fever of 104 would not come down. When she and her mother got to the hospital, they were informed that their HMO, Kaiser Permanente, would not cover the little girls health treatment costs, and that she has to be taken to a hospital that is affiliated with their HMO Kaiser Permanente. After arguing and desperately pleading with the hospital to treat the child there, and not transfer her to a different hospital, by the time the little girl did arrive to the HMO’s affiliated hospital, the little girl Mychelle, was pronounced “expired.”

Michael Moore also takes note of other countries health care systems compared to the American system and profiles countries such as Canada, England, and France – all which provide a free health care system.

In Canada, they can give their thanks to Tommy Douglas, who implemented the universal health care system, known as the Universal Medicare Legislation created in 1961.

In England, they have the NHS – National Health Service, which provides the majority of healthcare in England, from general practitioners to hospitals, long-term healthcare, dentistry and ophthalmology. Founded in 1948 it has become an integral part of British society, culture and everyday life.

In France, they have a system which offers unlimited sick days, vacation time starting at 4 weeks, and to top it off, free nurse and nanny care for new mothers. France was also given the title of “best health system in the world” by the World Health Organization (WHO) in June 2000.

Why is it that countries like Canada, England and France are able to offer their citizens free health care, and be so generous and kind, and then on the other side, the American system being so cruel and cold-hearted?

Sicko, explores the tragic and failing health care system in the United States of America, and can be viewed nationwide hitting the box offices on June 29th, 2007.

The Untold Truth About Health Care System of Bangladesh

On the basis of using the advanced facilities the treatment costs should be higher than usual in the private hospitals. It takes a few solid grants to be able to buy one of those latest medicinal equipment and their accessories. And certainly quite a lot is being spent on training the relevant bodies, i.e. the doctors and the nurses, on how to use those structures with perfection. Besides them, the costs of the medications, the mobility service, maintenance and other relevant taxes must be paid which add to a huge amount. So where do those money come from? The government is not paying the private hospitals, nor is the public aiding money to keep the service on-going.

Well this is where the upper community steps in. They do afford to pay for those tremendous services and their treatment. So they are highly facilitated in terms of the health care. However, what would be the proportion of the superiority i.e. the ones who can afford them and the inferiority i.e. the ones that cannot? Well certainly the latter would number the most.

A massive proportion of our country is poor or lower middleclass. According to The World Bank, more than 60% people (80 million) have no access to modern health services other than immunisation and family planning (BBC Feb 2000).  Being the most important mandatory needs of human life, it is lacking greatly in other cities and rural areas than Dhaka. A lot of deaths of women are caused during and after child birth due to malnutrition. Even those multivitamin tablets are out of reach in terms of the expenses, which could really have reduced this serious issue. Some people do travel from outside cities to get to The Government Medical College Hospitals in cities in order to get a better treatment and on time. Unfortunately, most of them are seen lying on the floor of the little corridor where doctors rarely walk through, therefore they are not noticed sincerely until they reach their last few breaths. I wonder if the authority sometimes is involved in the “classification” business of patients according to their social status or it’s just their lack of awareness and sincerity, or it’s the government’s intervention which really is unnoticeable.

Well let’s now move into the service quality that we have in our hospitals. We do have all the facilities to provide the effective service and there is no doubt about that. I personally would rank them (top hospitals) 7 out of 10. However, some do lack in it. They can be called “minority” but still can be fatal for a patient. A blood sample of one group was about to be given into a patient with a different blood group. Another blood sample was given into the same recovering patient that contained Hepatitis C virus; in one of the top hospitals in Dhakaand I am not going to mention the name of it. This is just an example from my personal life experience but there are thousands out there. And that is just a scenario in one of the most expensive hospitals, and I wonder how it is like to be in the ones which the lower middle class can afford. Well how many of them are compensated for being treated in a way that disabled their lifestyle forever? I guess none.

I believe it is not just the internal health services, our pharmaceutical productivity and quality is also downstream. It would be pretty hard for me to recognise which is the legal and appropriate medication if I was living in small cities or villages. Well I am definitely not blaming all the companies but the illegal ones who “want” to save lives for money, i.e. for business purposes. So many illegal and unregistered pharmaceutical companies with unhygienic environment and cheap, old machineries have been growing up for the last few years in areas that are little noticed and cared by the powerhouse. They do not even have a qualified pharmacist but still they carry on making drugs for people. A little difference in the percentage of required element in a drug can cause a devastated outcome in the locals, e.g. death of around 30 children suffering from diarrhoea, which was a headline of newspapers a few months ago. A lot of those businesses have been recognised and shut down “officially” but I think a vast majority of people in those areas have already undertaken those illegal and rather harmful drugs already, which will have serious consequences in the long term.

I must tell you this story of a little girl who loses both her legs instead of the one which was actually meant to be removed by the appointed “experienced” doctor. His absence on the particular date led a younger doctor to carry out with the procedure of checking the right papers and then the surgery. Well, he did do the surgery but the procedure went wrong leaving the girl with the damaged leg and that was taken off too straight after so that she could at least survive. And the compensation or the punishment for his lack of awareness and for immobilising her forever was just a “sorry” to the ruined family. If this incidence was to happen in the West, the doctor would spend the rest of his life in jail and the compensation would have been almost a million pounds (£) or dollars ($ ). Well, humans do make mistakes and in most of the cases they are forgiven.

We hear or may not hear a lot of these untold stories that change peoples lives. A medical team after undertaking a surgery comes out of the operation theatre smiling at the patient’s relatives thinking they are successful and not knowing that they left a scalpel or a forceps inside that patient’s abdomen. The consequences would be fatal injuries and infections in the abdominal region which can lead to death unless it is taken out immediately. Quite often patients are prescribed medications based upon the faulty test results that they get in the hospitals, both private and public. A pregnant woman was told she had high cholesterol and diabetes and was prescribed accordingly. Lucky she was to get tested again in another place where she found out she was totally normal. So what would have happened to that unborn baby if she had taken those medications? They did apologise to her when they heard she is from DhakaUniversityand told her that they would have taken more care while testing her blood if they knew where she came from, from the very beginning, which does ring a bell of “social classification”. And the patient is no-one else but my own Mother.

It would be wrong not to mention the fact that, we do know generally that services and medications at public/government hospitals are free. Well in some cases the services might be given for free but the “free-giving medication” process is an impossible, and I spoke to many people about it that faced and still face the existence of this crime-like practice in many public hospitals around Bangladesh.

Apart from the lack of sincerity in our health care team, we do have a huge issue that take part in a lot of delays in treatment. Our traffic system contributes a lot to this, in my view. I believe hardly any patient reaches hospitals on time if taken on any type of vehicle due to the traffic. Even though they turn on the sirens, no one is ready to give a little space to that ambulance. Well it becomes quite impossible to move a yard since all the vehicles remain packed for a long time on the same road-space. Who should we blame for this- the tycoons for having more than one car on the road; the government for not widening the emergency roads; the traffic police for not being able to make the cars move so that the ambulance can pass through? Surely it is the whole system that integrates into a chaos resulting in worst conditions of the patients, most probably death.

In my opinion every single citizen of Bangladeshmust equally be eligible to the essential health care service in every corner of cities or villages, since this is the most important and prioritised basic need. And to ensure this our government should take a huge step forward to building up hygiene and affordable medical centres in and around with a better transportation and communication system enhancing the mobility of patients and important medications, which must be free for people of certain age range and disability, i.e. under 18, over 60, people with physical disability that detaches them from work etc. Well, of course the government and the bountiful bunch of people of our country should also notice the quality of services of the existing government hospitals that they are really at the same standard as the private hospitals, because “we may play with our money but not human lives”.