A professor based at the Institute of Cancer Research in London thinks he might have a cure to childhood leukemia. But it might be more his research and findings that are proving startling to a modern society that’s likely contributing to the original cause.
Professor Mel Greaves believes that a yogurt-like drink may offer a cure to childhood leukemia. According to an article in The Guardian, Greaves received a knighthood in the New Year honors list for the research he has carried out in the field.
“For 30 years I have been obsessed about the reasons why children get leukemia,” he says. “Now, for the first time, we have an answer to that question – and that means that we can now start thinking about ways to halt it in its tracks. Hence my idea of the drink.”
The 1950s version of common acute lymphoblastic leukemia was deadly. Today, most cases are cured, however, the treatments that cure it may have long-lasting side effects and consequences. In Europe, cases of leukemia are on subtly on the rise. And that’s extraordinarily odd. Why?
Most illnesses thrive in societies which are less modern. Europe is a society that’s as modern as any. In societies that offer less modern amenities, leukemia isn’t on the rise.
“It is a feature of developed societies but not of developing ones,” Greaves adds. “The disease tracks with affluence.”
So why is this happening?
For the illness to take hold, it requires two main influences. One influence is the occurrence of a genetic mutation in the child. That mutation, statistically, happens in 1/20 children. Greaves calls this mutation an “accident in the womb.”
But for leukemia in its most robust form to come to be, it needs a second piece. That second piece is an “unprimed immune system.”
So what exactly is an “unprimed immune system?”
It’s an immune system that essentially untested. It means the immune system has not been primed to defend against common bacterias. This happens in modern societies whereas antibacterial wipes and soaps are now more commonplace.
“For an immune system to work properly, it needs to be confronted by an infection in the first year of life,” says Greaves. Without that confrontation with an infection, the system is left unprimed and will not work properly.”
In other words, those antiseptic wipes are wiping away a needed primer for the immune system that may help it stave off childhood leukemia.
Worse more, it seems that reduced breastfeeding and less contact with other children may also be contributors to the unprimed immune system theory.
In short, babies just aren’t getting in contact with enough germs. And that’s causing the uptick in leukemia. We’re keeping our kids clean to a fault. Eventually, the baby will be exposed to germs and this will cause a “gross abnormal response,” according to Greaves. This begins the second piece of the childhood leukemia puzzle’s insertion. The abnormal inflammation leads to the release of cytokines into the child’s bloodstream. Pending the child possesses the original mutation, this will cause the onset of leukemia.
Childhood leukemia needs two influencers, the second seems to be a result of modern antiseptic behaviors.
If this is true, other theories regarding the cause of the illness may now be on the proverbial wayside. Some believe that the overabundance of power lines are the cause.
In the modern world, a human’s gut will have a less colorful spectrum of bacteria when compared to people in less developed countries. This makes sense considering the modern person’s less germ exposed existence. Greaves now believes that by using roughly 10 species of microbes in a yogurt drink, he can change the fate of leukemia’s second influence. He can stop the abnormal inflammatory response that occurs in “underexposed children.”
He also believes this may help to cure, or stave off, type 1 diabetes and some allergies.
Disinfecting Wipes – The Issue Isn’t New
In 2014, Clorox reported that at least half of all homes in the United States use their disinfecting wipes. That’s no surprise considering our modern society is completely based on conveniences. And disinfecting wipes are incredibly convenient.
Disinfecting wipes have their place in modern society. For example, they are imperative to hospital procedures where lives are on the line. A dirty surgical instrument is a death trap. But are they really needed all over your house and all over your child’s school? Do you really need to use a disinfecting wipe on your grocery cart? Or every time you walk into your office? Just because you touched anything at all?
Exposures to bacterias can be healthy for us. Disinfectant chemicals reportedly cause allergies such as asthma. The hygiene hypothesis says that overcleaning with disinfectant wipes is causing superbugs.
At this juncture in our society, people are nearly addicted to using disinfecting wipes. That makes the matters at hand in more complex. In other words, none of this is an easy solve.
Written By: Jim Satney