Today we will talk about positive aspects of allergy. Many of us know how troublesome allergies could be. A separate field of medicine, call allergology, is devoted to study and fight with multiple allergies. But allergy is not only a killer, it might have positive aspects.
Increased activity of the immune system as it is in allergic reactions, could actually prevent development of some malignant brain tumors, according to the recent research of scientists from the US and Great Britain. A team of scientists from Harvard University and Saint Thomas Hospital in London examined charts of 4,500 patients with brain tumors on the frequency of allergies. The hypothesis was that allergies increase the risk for brain tumors. The results, however, were just the opposite. In persons suffering from asthma, atopic dermatitis and polyps, malignant brain tumor glioma developed 30-39% less frequently than in the general population.
Glioma is one of the most malignant brain tumors, and only 3% patients with this affliction are alive after 5 years from the time of diagnosis. The leading author of this study E. Linos believes that there is a biochemical basis for protective role of allergy. Most probably it is connected with increased activity of cytokines – enzymes responsible for initiating of allergic reactions.
Experiments with tumor cells cultures were demonstrated that cytokines could slow down the growth of aggressive malignant tumor cells. There are also data that allergic reactions did not affect frequency of the benign slow growth tumors like meningioma. Tim Rene, co-author of the study, notes that positive effect of cytokines consists in their ability to slow down the multiplication of malignant cells, but not affect the division of the normal cells.
According to Judith Schwarzbaum from OhioUniversity(Columbus), explanation of the positive role of allergies to delay of brain malignancy might be just the opposite: It is known that gliomas could suppress immune activity, and tumors “protect” their “host” from severe allergic reactions.
Allergic reactions could protect the person from malignant brain tumors, or malignant tumors could “protect” from severe allergic reactions their host bodies to prolong lives of their malignant cells, either, our body has a long chain of events when a small disorder could contain a big disease, and help to keep body in “order”.
We better learn to use it before a “big disease” develops, which will “protect” us from small and irrelevant symptoms.
Ref: A. Golbin, A. Umantsev; A small disorder could contain a big disease.
I. Genn. “Seven Days” Periodical, Health & Medicine. Sept 19, 2007