Monday, July 5, 2010

Proposed Asthma Etiology

Asthma is everywhere these days.

Something like 8% of the US population has it. I have it.

And no one knows the cause with any degree of certainty.

I have read several theories over the years, My favorite theory used to be The Invisible Viral Epidemic Theory -- that a large portion of the world's population contracted a virus with no symptoms at all except one: Annihilation of lung cells whose job is to dampen the immune response in the lungs, so that the disease leaves a person crippled with over-protected lungs, which begin to swell-up and interfere with breathing at the slightest provocation.

Since I first heard that theory years ago, another has been proposed in the media every now and again which makes some pretty good sense: The Car Tire Theory.

Car tires wear down as they pass by on the highways. The tread doesn't just disappear. Those rubber tread molecules go someplace. Where?


Into the air, into the soil, into our streams, into the ocean.

And if they go into the air, that means that they go into our lungs.

An important part of those worn-tread molecules are latex -- the same molecule which generates the latex allergy.

In other words, asthma is latex allergy in the lungs, resulting from breathing-in tire tread dust.

Not a bad theory.

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