I always wondered why kids in the most polluted cities in Asia had asthma rates 10X lower than kids near, say diesel truck routes, in the United States. And now I have an answer. Fat Knowledge posts a Wired article about how a bacterial imbalance in the gut leads to asthma & related symptoms.
Blaser and NYU colleague Yu Chen analyzed the medical histories and stool samples of more than 7,400 people enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. After controlling for other variables, they found that the presence of H. pylori was associated with a 25 percent fall in asthma rates among people under 20 years old. The drop was even more significant in H. pylori-positive children aged 3 to 13: They were 59 percent less likely to develop asthma.
Many researchers think that H. pylori is transmitted orally by means of fecal matter through the ingestion of waste tainted food or water. A clean and hygienic environment can help decrease the risk of H. pylori infection.
In addition to felling 423,900 trees to put 1 roll of toilet paper in every American household, it seems that toilet paper is indirectly responsible for part of America’s $14 billion dollar asthma bill. (Is that reason enough for anyone to find an alternative?) As disgusting as it sounds, lack of toilet paper is the biggest source of oro-fecal, and thus H. pylori, transmission in the developing world.
So it seems that the miracle Indian cure for asthma has less to do with fish & herbs than it does with your left hand. Which begs the question of what people in other parts of the world used before toilet paper was invented. The roughest is perhaps the frayed end of an old anchor cable was by sailing crews from Spain and Portugal! More pre-toilet paper solutions here.