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Can Living With Chickens Protect Against Face-Eating Bacteria?

When doctors call a disease "multifactorial in causation" it's a fancy way of obscuring that they don't know what causes it.

by
Theodore Dalrymple

Bio

August 6, 2013 - 9:00 am
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In the end they produced a list of factors which were associated with the disease, many of which were already known or suspected. Perhaps the most intriguing such factor — a new one — was the absence of chickens from the homes of children who developed the dread disease.

Could it be that chickens exert a positive protective effect against noma, for example by influencing the bacterial flora of a child’s mouth? After all, one of the explanations of the rise in allergic conditions in western countries is excessive hygiene cleanliness that means that children are not exposed to enough infections to develop a proper immune system which then, faute de mieux, turns on quite harmless substances instead.

The authors do not consider this possibility, but rather take an absence of chickens as being a manifestation of even more extreme poverty than is normal in Niger. They attempted instead to measure the levels of vitamins in the blood of the children, both victims of the disease and controls, but they were low in both groups.

The authors conclude that a higher number of children in the household, recent diarrhoeal or other infectious disease, poor nutrition and altered bacterial flora of the mouth are associated with noma, which remains therefore a mysterious multifactorial disease, as was peptic ulceration before the discovery of the role of the Helicobacter.

*****

image courtesy Shutterstock.com /  urbanligh / Anna Omelchenko

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Theodore Dalrymple, a physician, is a contributing editor of City Journal and the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His new book is Second Opinion: A Doctor's Notes from the Inner City.

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Top Rated Comments   
Can Living With Chickens Protect Against Face-Eating Bacteria?

So: if I move in with a Republican Congressman or Senator, I will be protected from face-eating bacteria? What about face-saving bacteria? Can we get some for the GOP?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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When it comes to bacteria and Africa, water is huge.

I like this idea, maybe the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation can throw in some billions, or Bono some cash from an "Aid" concert... (although oddly enough, Bono has recently discovered that "capitalism" lifts more people out of poverty than cash to African despots...)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2391107/The-Lifestraw-A-portable-water-filter-save-millions-world-lives.html
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Portentousness was then a substitute for prowess...Doctors are still inclined to use impressive-sounding words for the same purpose..."

Obscuring the negative, the obvious, words like:

IATROGENIC: induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or
by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures


NOSOCOMIAL: hospital acquired infections (e.g., staph)
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you look at the Latin, Iatrogenic means something that generates physicians. If you want a Latin word for something generated by a physician, try iatrogenous.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nicely written. This is mostly anecdotal but people who live and raise their own food usually are more healthy, live longer and more productive lives even when they do things such as smoke or chew tobacco and drink alcohol.

I suspect it has more to do with nutrition than the researchers want to admit.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe they just need more cholesterol or some other protein found in eggs.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can Living With Chickens Protect Against Face-Eating Bacteria?

So: if I move in with a Republican Congressman or Senator, I will be protected from face-eating bacteria? What about face-saving bacteria? Can we get some for the GOP?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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