Hygiene Hypothesis Shields Kids From Heart Disease Later On

Another reason you should think long and hard about hygiene, especially if you have children: Viral infections kids catch early on can reduce their risk of heart disease later on by as much as 90 percent.

Researchers from Sweden and Finland compared 350 patients without heart disease with those suffering from myocardial infarctions and unstable angina pectoris in relation to their exposure to contagious diseases, including measles, scarlet fever and mononucleosis.

Not surprisingly, scientists found those who suffered from contagious diseases during childhood had a lower risk of coronary disease. In fact, patients who had two viral infections during childhood reduced their risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent and six infections meant up to a 90 percent drop.

Seems traditional medicine is finally beginning to understand the hygiene hypothesis, centering on the philosophy that children need exposure to some bacteria early in their lives to strengthen their immune systems.

This should sound familiar to you, considering research I posted on my Web site five years ago that found children who frequently use antibacterial soaps aren't exposed to common bacteria that may protect them from allergies and asthma.

Medscape September 23, 2005

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