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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nature or nurture?

"Evidence suggests asthma may be caused by a combination of genetics and the environment," says Professor Robyn O'Hehir, director of the Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology department at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

The children of parents with asthma are more likely to be asthmatic than children of non-asthmatic parents and it's thought an inherited abnormality causes a predisposition to airway hypersensitivity.

But O'Hehir is careful not to overlook the importance of environment, which is illustrated by the incidence of asthma among different native tribes in Papua New Guinea. Australian researchers found that asthma is unknown in highland areas not previously reached by missionaries or aid agencies, but is common in villages exposed to westerners and their dust-mite infested blankets.

Another theory, supported by observations of a higher incidence of asthma in neighbouring regions of West compared with East Germany, suggests the relatively affluent West Germans may be increasing their children's sensitivity to allergens by maintaining a cleaner environment for them to grow in.

Through exposure to potential allergens, East German kids are thought to develop tougher immune systems and become desensitised to the same pollens and dust mites that might trigger an asthmatic reaction in their West German cousins.

Indeed, O'Hehir says desensitisation with small amounts of an allergen is a common method of developing tolerance to grass pollen and dust mites. But don't rush out to roll in a pollen-rich paddock before talking to your doctor first.

Mannatech is #12 in Business Week’s “Hot Growth” Companies 2007:

A report released this week by Business Week appropriately named "The Hottest Of The Hot Growth 100" lists what they foresee as the Top 100 Growth Company's for 2007 - world wide, in their words "This fascinating group of small companies is tearing up the charts...the Hot Growth Class of 2007 are an incredibly diverse group...they're determined to be faster, and better, than the next guy."
The big spin on this story, is that Mannatech is not only listed in the Top 100, they are listed as #12!

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