Infants and Illness

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Friday, April 03, 2009 

                        Infants and Illness

                        Written by Dr. Dan Murphy, D.C.
                        TAC, Research , Volume 28, Issue 12
                        Published:November 2006


                        Key Points from Dan Murphy
                        Atopic diseases include allergies, asthma, eczema, hay
                        fever, etc. Atopic diseases are caused by the
                        over-production and sensitization of immunoglobulin E
                        (IgE), which is also known as the thymus helper cell
                        response 2 (Th2).
                        1) The “hygiene hypothesis” indicates that infections in
                        early life protect from atopic diseases.
                        2) This study supports the hygiene hypothesis, showing
                        that exposure to infections between pregnancy and age
                        one year is associated with overall reduced odds of
                        asthma, eczema, hay fever, atopic sensitization and
                        total IgE.
                        3) Most importantly, this study showed that exposure to
                        sub-clinical infections [infections without symptoms]
                        within pregnancy and the first year of life are also
                        protective in atopic diseases development.
                        4) Exposure to both clinical infections and to
                        sub-clinical infections in the first nine months of life
                        had the most pronounced protective effect against atopic
                        5) Three other non-pathogen microbial stimulators that
                        protect against the development of atopic disease
                        A.Endotoxin exposure [endotoxins are the dust made from
                        the membranes of dead bacteria].
                        B.Administration of probiotics [probiotics are the
                        ingestion of live, beneficial, symbiotic bacteria that
                        produce vitamins and other nutrients that help support
                        the immune system].
                        C.Being raised in a farming environment.
                        6) The life-long balance between the production of IgG
                        (Th1 immune response) and IgE (Th2 immune response that
                        results in atopic diseases) is determined early in life,
                        mostly starting in utero through the first year.
                        7) Early in life, microbial stimuli “confer protection
                        against allergies by the induction of “protective” Th1
                        immune responses.” [Important]
                        8) There is an increased risk of atopic diseases in
                        children treated with antibiotics.
                        Comments from Dan Murphy

                        Based on this article and many others I have reviewed in
                        my Article Review service on this topic over the last
                        seven years, I believe that it can be said:
                        1) It is unwise for a pregnant mother to take
                        antibiotics unless there is a very good reason.
                        2) It is unwise to give infants and small children an
                        antibiotic unless there is a very good reason.
                        3) In the first year of life, infants should be exposed
                        to other children (including at day-care), in the hopes
                        that the infants will pick-up some sort of infection. 
                        Infants should also be exposed to dust, dirt, and farm
                        4) One might question the utilization of some vaccines
                        in the first year of life.
                        5) The parents of chiropractic children who do not
                        develop the symptoms of clinical infection need not
                        worry; this article shows that asymptomatic sub-clinical
                        infections also offer protection against a lifetime of
                        atopic diseases.
                        6) All parents should understand that, when their infant
                        is sick from infections, it affords their child lifelong
                        protection against atopic diseases.
                        A 1978 graduate of Western States Chiropractic College,
                        Dr. Dan Murphy is on the faculty of Life Chiropractic
                        College West, and is the Vice President of the
                        International Chiropractic Association. For more
                        information, visit