Thursday, April 28, 2005

Leukemia, Infection, and Day Care

From Nature this week: A strong link was observed between childhood infections (toddler age) and leukemia. We've known for a while now that infections lead to leukemia in animals, but this is the first convincing, large-scale study to demonstrate such a correlation in humans. The data indicate early exposure to infections (within the first year of life) may help build up the immune system and protect children from developing leukemia, whereas infections in toddlers may be a trigger for leukemia.

London reporter, Roxanne Khamsi wrote the article quoted below:

"But the United Kingdom Childhood Cancer Study, which compiled information from studies of more than 10,000 children, including 1,737 with leukaemia, concludes that infection is a far more important factor. The group says their work agrees with previous studies that have shown no connection between power lines and leukaemia".

For working moms who have to defend themselves for using daycare and who struggle with the germs that come with daycare:

"Exposure to pathogens in the first year of life may help to train a child's immune system to somehow prevent this, says Greaves. He points out that the incidence of childhood leukaemia in East Germany before reunification was a third less than its Western counterpart. This may be in part because every three-month-old infant in East Germany was sent to playgroups, he says, exposing them to a healthy dose of disease."

This hypothesis was supported by a different study by
Gilham D., et al. (2005) that came out this week. The Gilham study demonstrated:

"From a survey of more than 9,000 UK children, it concludes that infants who attend group day care twice a week in the first few months of life are half as likely to develop childhood leukaemia"

I thought you moms or soon-to-be moms may want to know.


At 12:53 PM, Blogger trisha said...

Good reading.

I have raised my son via the "dirty baby" theory. expose them to the regular stuff: messy children with colds, shopping carts, the ground...and it will help boost their systems.

I am so afraid of the anti-bacterial parenting. Don't they know?


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