Childhood Illnesses are Protective

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  All romantics resonate with these famous words the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”   Piet Hein’s ditty is perhaps more easily remembered:   “Here is a fact that should help you fight a bit stronger.  Things that don’t  actually kill you outright make you stronger. Well folks, it looks like childhood illnesses fit into that category of challenging blessings. The immune system is like a muscle and any other part of our body  – it needs to be challenged and developed and fine tuned and then it performs optimally. Denying children the workout of mounting a healthy immune response to the developmental childhood illnesses is a dangerous short cut.  Here we see that having been infected and having mastered the measles and mumps antigens leads to less stroke and less heart disease later in life!
Atherosclerosis. 2015 Aug;241(2):682-6. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2015.06.026. Epub  2015 Jun 18.

Association of measles and mumps with cardiovascular disease: The Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) study.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Although it has been suggested that exposure to infections during childhood could decrease risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD), the evidence is scarce. We investigated the association of measles and mumps with CVD.

METHODS:

43,689 men and 60,147 women aged 40-79 years at baseline (1988-1990) completed a lifestyle questionnaire, including their history of measles and mumps, and were followed until 2009. Histories of infections were categorized as having no infection (reference), measles only, mumpsonly, or both infections. Hazard ratios (HR) for mortality from CVD across histories of infections were calculated.

RESULTS:

Men with measles only had multivariable HR (95% confidence interval) of 0.92 (0.85-0.99) for total CVD, those with mumps only had 0.52 (0.28-0.94) for total stroke and 0.21 (0.05-0.86) for hemorrhagic stroke, and those with both infections had 0.80 (0.71-0.90) for total CVD, 0.71 (0.53-0.93) for myocardial infarction, and 0.83 (0.69-0.98) for total stroke. Women with both infections had 0.83 (0.74-0.92) for total CVD and 0.84 (0.71-0.99) for total stroke. We also compared subjects with measles only or mumps only (reference) and those with both infections. Men with both infections had 0.88 (0.78-0.99) for total CVD. Women with both infections had 0.85 (0.76-0.94) for total CVD, 0.79 (0.67-0.93) for total stroke, 0.78 (0.62-0.98) for ischemic stroke and 0.78 (0.62-0.98) for hemorrhagic stroke.

CONCLUSIONS:

Measles and mumps, especially in case of both infections, were associated with lower risks of mortality from atherosclerotic CVD.

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Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  All romantics resonate with these famous words the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”   Piet Hein’s ditty is perhaps more easily remembered:   “Here is a fact that should help you fight a bit stronger.  Things that don’t  actually kill you outright make you stronger. Well folks, it…
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