Aug 21

Cultural Changes And Health

Tag: health,HistoryDonna B. @ 9:03 pm

Finally, the appendix gets respect.

And we learn that a system that sees its need reduced just might cause problems. It’s odd to think that because we have learned sanitation techniques that we are underutilizing our immune system so that it attacks something else that it would have ignored previously because something more dangerous was there.

This is just so interesting on so many levels and analogies can just fly off the shelf.

But it makes sense. Haven’t we all read about the absolutely horrific (to our modern standards) sanitation was hundreds of years ago? I have often wondered how anyone survived. Now it’s possible to think their appendix was doing great things for them.

Now I’m wondering just what benefits I’m not receiving from not having a gallbladder and tonsils that were removed because they “might” cause me trouble rather than because they were.

6 Responses to “Cultural Changes And Health”

  1. Caledonian says:

    It’s not clear that not having tonsils leads to any immunological problems later on. Having to undergo the surgery, with the associated risks from anesthesia, and the healing process later on, are probably the biggest losses / costs you paid.

    You probably got no benefit, though. Recent research suggests that even the children who have their tonsils removed nowadays (because they’re regularly swollen) end up having the same outcomes if the tonsils are left alone – in a few years, the results seem to be roughly equivalent. So you were forced to ‘pay’ and got nothing in exchange.

    I’m more sympathetic to the males who had their foreskins surgically removed, though.

  2. Donna B. says:

    Yes. I don’t even remember being asked if my husband or I was even asked if we wanted that done to our baby boy. It was just “done” when he was born.

  3. Caledonian says:

    In some cases, permission was slipped in with the other admissions forms that had to be filled out upon entry to the hospital; in others, permission for circumcision was simply presumed, in the same way that they don’t seek permission to cut the umbilical cord.

    There’s no medical benefit, and I am reasonably confident that there are many harms that simply aren’t generally acknowledged, ranging from meatal stenosis to insufficient remaining skin to loss of sensation. Something like a third of circumcised newborns have their frenulums cut or removed for no particular reason, in some cases because the physician felt it looks ‘neater’; rather a lot of cultures consider it to the most sensitive part of the penis.

  4. Donna B. says:

    The only medical benefit I can think of doesn’t occur until much much later in life and usually in those who have undiagnosed type II diabetes. Those men are often faced with a circumcision in their 60s. You’d think from reading the news that diabetes is so prevalent that would always happen, but that’s not true.

    And… I’ve read lately that circumcisions are going to recommended again for all newborn boys to prevent AIDS.

  5. talina says:

    I am so glad we had a girl because before we knew our baby’s sex we were thinking about the circumcision debate and N didn’t care one way or the other… I was reluctant to decide since it is such a heated and touchy topic.

    Oh and “that we are underutilizing our immune system” made me immediately think of the swine flu vaccine!

  6. Donna B. says:

    talina — I’m not sure I know which way you’re going with the swine flu vaccine comment. Are you saying that it will add to utilization or underutilization of an immune system? Or neither?