Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Allergen pacifier

It worked for our ancestors!
  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
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Allergy and asthma rates are rising among children throughout the developed world. The reasons for this are unclear. Some posit that increased hygiene is the culprit - baby kids no longer are exposed to the wide variety of environmental antigens that were around in days of yore. Their naive immune systmes become hyperactive, leading the allergy. The problem with this theory is that asthma is worst among the lowest socioeconmic groups, who live in places least likely to be bleach-clean.

But consider the propensity for baby kids to stuff anything loose in the mouth. It is a powerful urge, suggesting there must have been adaptive value to this tendency in days past. I propose that it is by mouthing stuff that kids are exposed to environmental antigens. This tendency has been subverted by the widespread use of pacifiers. The kids suck away at these bleach-cleaned rubber bits, which block the ability to cram other stuff in their mouths. The reason for increased asthma rates is increased pacifier use!

The solution: Allergen Pacifiers. Just like allergy shots meant to desensitize the hyperactive immune system, allergen pacifiers can be filled with different antigens, which then are gradually delivered as the baby sucks. The pacifier is loaded each day according to a preset schedule. Allergens include parasite parts, animal dander, pollens, peanut butter - all sterilized, of course, but still antigenically intact. This surrogate immune stimulation mimics the natural environment of our ancestors - but without the risk!

bungston, Apr 23 2004

Asthma FAQ http://www.nhlbi.ni...hma/surveil_faq.htm
Halfway down is a brief discussion of asthma epidemiology. [bungston, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Treating inflammation of the intestine http://www.eurekale...04/ns-dow040704.php
Here is your medication, but kissing a pigs butt may also work and could be cheaper. [kbecker, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Medicine delivery pacifier - $6 at Walgreens http://www.kk.org/c...archives/001551.php
(via Kevin Kelly's cooltools.) [jutta, Jan 30 2007]


       I'm not sure about those statistics. Just as we are now suffering from a "plague" of autism, I suspect one problem is that allergies are more widely diagnosed than ever before, even if there is no underlying rise in cases. I suspect another is that more extreme cases led to early deaths that are now avoided with medication.
DrCurry, Apr 23 2004

       On the statistics I'd tend to side with DrCurry on this one.   

       However, I think as a medicinal dispenser of any kind, an interesting idea+
theircompetitor, Apr 23 2004

       [kbecker] I owe you a croissant for the link and for the brilliant comment.
Klaatu, Apr 24 2004

       Doc, have you seen the Autism/Vaccine stats?   

       Kid health in the AMA world is definitely wanting.
subflower, Jan 08 2006


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