Are we making the world too clean?
By Kishan Thakar 10T
“Are cleaner homes causing an increase in Asthma?”
Are we overusing antibiotics?
Are cleaner homes/areas causing an increase in people getting allergies?
Evaluation of the studies:
This topic investigates the question “Are we making the world too clean.” It explores the hygiene hypothesis, which suggests that people from a young age are now living in a much cleaner and sterile environment, so when exposed to a different environment, health problems arise quickly. In order to answer this question effectively I will divide the question into three sub-categories “Are cleaner homes causing an increase in Asthma,” “Are we overusing antibiotics” and “Are cleaner homes/areas causing an increase in young people getting allergies.” I will weigh up the arguments and consider the evidence presented from both sides. The evidence will be analysed critically to ensure its reliability and accuracy. This project will also include a glossary to highlight the key scientific words in this paper.
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways, where obstruction of the bronchi occurs in response to certain triggers. This results in the airway becoming narrow and causes breathing problems, normal symptoms are described as wheezing and coughing.
From figure 1 we can see that inflammation causes narrowing of the bronchiole, which reduces the amount of oxygen available to the patient. Normal trigger factors, which can cause an asthma attack include, pollen, dust and exercise. In asthma sufferers the airway is ‘hyper-responsive’ to these triggers, and therefore becomes inflamed. This can result in the ‘asthma attack’ which is why patients carry an inhaler.
The hygiene hypothesis was a theory proposed by David P. Strachan. The idea was that a lack of exposure at an early age to germs and other microorganisms due to upbringing in a clean and sterile environment, does not allow the immune system of children to develop. Hence people become more prone to allergies and other illnesses, for example if exposure from a bacterium in cats fur occurs, then the immune system overreacts and ends up creating an allergy for the person.
Bacterial resistance (antibiotics resistance)
Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic  Penicillin, which is still used today to combat infections. An antibiotic is a chemical substance produced by a micro-organism, which kills or inhibits the growth of another microorganism. These natural compounds have been structurally modified in a lab, to increase their effiency. There are many of different types of antibiotics available, which can be specific for gram positive bacteria or gram negative bacteria. All antibiotics function by preventing the formation of the bacterial cell wall. However overuse of these antibiotics has resulted in resistance. This can happen when bacteria are repeatedly exposed to the same antibiotics, or when the bacteria are not completely killed after an antibiotic course (maybe because the patient does not finish the full course, or doesn’t always remember to take the medicine). Mutations in the bacteria can occur, which make them less selective to the antibiotic. As the antibiotic can no longer kill them, they are able to divide and replicate. These offspring also contain the resistant gene, which allows them also to be less specific for the antibiotic. This process relates back to Charles Darwin’s theory on ‘survival of the fittest.’ Therefore the antibiotic is no longer effective in treating the infection. To try and avoid this problem in common infections such as TB, two or three antibiotics are given together. So if the bacteria become resistant to one antibiotic, then the others will still be effective in destroying the...
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