Infants and Illness
Friday, April 03, 2009
Infants and Illness
Written by Dr. Dan Murphy, D.C.
TAC, Research , Volume 28, Issue 12
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
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
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