“Bits of paper, Bits of paper lying on the ground, lying on the ground
Makes the place untidy, makes the place untidy
Pick them up, pick them up”
This rhyme might not go well with infants and toddlers today, at least not among those kids belonging to affluential families! A new study shows that children exposed to infections following germ-free childhoods are at a greater risk of childhood leukemia. A research scientist spent decades together trying to analyze the reason behind childhood leukemia and came up with a multi-step process:
ALL is the commonest form of childhood leukemia (blood cancer) affecting blood-producing cells in the bone marrow. These cells multiply rapidly and don’t mature fully resulting in ALL. It is diagnosed in children between 0 (meaning newborns) and 4 years but the number of cases occurring yearly are still rare. It is essential to diagnose and treat the disease immediately otherwise it can become fatal. The disease spreads rapidly in a few days or weeks’ time accumulating in the blood and flowing to other parts of the body such as the nervous system, lymph nodes and liver. Fortunately, 90% of those affected can be treated and cured with chemotherapy.
The researcher involved in the study came up with definite conclusions that ‘delayed infection’ was the primary cause ALL. Infections in the early stages of development aid the immune system in reducing the frequency of illnesses but absence of infections during these stages set the doors for leukemia wide open. If a child’s immune system is well-utilized during the first year of life in protecting against infections by exposing the child to normal environments, the child is protected and spared of problems such as ALL, allergies or other diseases as well as free of trauma and side effects. Our immune system is a vast ocean to be explored and one can find many interesting facts on this by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
A host of evidences that point to the conclusion of the study include:
The study’s main motive was not to blame parents for nurturing children in germ-resistant environments but to find the actual culprit behind ALL. As a society, we are moving towards development, modernization and evolving to be a sci-tech world. Maybe, ALL and other such illnesses are the price we pay for the progress made in the medical field as well as the path our society has chosen to pursue.
Each of us have a vague idea on how royals nurture kids or at least we imagine the different ways. Most of us would have immediately thought about kings, presidents and the most affluential class of people and their children who are nurtured in such specific kinds of environments that cater to their whims and fancies. If a royal kid wants to fish in a pond, an artificial pond is created; most rich people opt for home schooling and hence, once again the kid is isolated from other kids of their age. So, do many of these children develop ALL due to such restricted environments? This remains a question that needs to be answered!
Even common people have become finicky about their choices. They insist their children to mingle with only some groups of children, go for branded things and choose schools/daycares that are luxurious and over-hygienic. Money matters here and as most households have both parents working, individuals don’t mind shelling out as much money as they wish to. Such is the way in which our societies function and this is also a reason for innumerable diseases to show their presence.
Meanwhile, the study does not request parents to make their children roll in mud and play with worms! Allow kids to live normally. Expose them to the natural environment of mud, dirt, insects and friends. If a child falls down on the mud from a jula, help him/her wash herself and clean up. Don’t run and warn him/her to never play on the swing next time. Schools nowadays have an exclusive period allocated for sand play. This allows children to mingle freely, helps them feel the earthly presence and fall in love with nature. All these might seem trivial but who knows what might come of use at any point in life.
Playing in the dirt or exposure to daycare might not prevent a child from acquiring ALL. Even if the study shows so, evidences are not totally conclusive and further analysis is definitely required. It might be a genetic mutation in the womb that none can be blamed of. But one thing parents must be assured is the fact that if your child had/has leukemia you are not to blame yourself in any way as there is nothing solid known until now that can prevent the occurrence of the illness.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.
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