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Friday, October 27, 2006

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed. In his personal diaries, John Winthrop the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote that the Native Americans that he encountered regularly lived to be in excess of 100 years old. Humanity has been on a power trip since the agricultural revolution and we are now starting to pay the price for it. Unfortunately, I have very little hope that our fellow Americans will ever be willing to give up most all of the conveniences of industrialized society.

I'd like to note now, that while I've clearly laid blame on certain issues before, I agree with you.

Some people feel that its because we've only learned how to recognize these illnesses. I'm in doubt of that. The hell my body goes through improved dramatically with moving to cleaner city, eating non-chemicalized foods, and such.

This is part of why I'm so angry at the generations before me and their lack of standing up for their responsibilities.

Of course, the best part is that because I'm so sick I couldn't work the last two years, I won't lose as much when Social Security gets divied up.

You may be right, it could be any of those things you listed; I certainly would be happy if we would cut down/remove those from our environment. On the other hand, let me play the devil's advocate for a moment and suggest these:

1. Most people know more older (50+ people) than they ever have in the past (since most babyboomers are that old). Older people get diseases more than younger people.

2. People are more likely to talk about diseases with friends/family/random people than they were in the past. There were probably lots of people sick in the past (20 years ago) that just kept it to themselves.

I believe that the stress of "keeping up" with our society is to blame for many of these illnesses. I see it all around me, the pressure to consume consume consume. More than ever, money drives people in almost every aspect of their lives. It's sick. And it's making us sick.

Mostly what I see is depression on the increase. It's a direct result of people not being content with what they have because they are constantly hearing about how "more is better" and "new is better" and when they can't work hard enough to get "more" and "new" they fall into a depression, which then leads to a lower immune system and other illnesses.

Zmmiller: I agree, it seems unlikely the industrialized world will give up its conveniences. And with world population still growing, there is much reluctance to give up chemicals, etc. in order to maintain that lifestyle. That will change as we run out of clean water and oil.

Autumn: My health changed dramatically, too, when I changed my diet. What's Social Security? ;--)

Brian: Very good points. The New York Times had an interesting article a couple weeks ago about how awful it was for Americans and Europeans 50+ years ago. It illustrated just how much health has improved overall.

But those gains seem to be getting erased amongst many of the people I know. The worst off seem to be the post Baby Boomer, who are coming down in great numbers with these new ailments.

This generation seems to be having a totally different experience than the Boomers. And don't forget, many Boomers are living longer because of medical treatment, not better health.

As for the reporting of diseases, yes, people are far more likely to speak out. But you know, even my grandfather, who never complained about anything, went to the hospital decades ago because he was having prostate problems. The act of getting the problem treated meant it probably was reported.

And you know, a lot of these problems I'm talking about are quite debilitating. Enough so that I'm sure some would have been reported 50 or 100 years ago as a result. (Of course, they may have been written off as "unexplained," but I'm not sure that would account for everything going on today.)

Phil: I was thinking about adding Depression right after posting but decided against it. I definitely categorize it as one of the new diseases even though it's been around for some time. Another big one I left out are fertility issues.

I totally agree about the stress. The average American works a heck of a lot of hours just to keep afloat, not to mention those driven by material wealth.

To make matters worse, many Americans work extra hard to pay off medical debt, which makes them all the sicker.

I disagree - I think that these 'new fashion' diseases are showing up in greater numbers because we have cured many of the other diseases that usually killed people off first. So while a small portion of these newly diagnosed may have been happening in the past, but undiagnosed, more often folks were simply stricken by other diseases first. So in good time, I have faith that we will progress in our abilities to cure some of these diseases ... though unfortunatly that means that there will likely be a 'new' batch of diseases that our grandkids will have to worry about.

It's a good point Eric, and definitely possible, but my personal experiences -- which are by no means scientific -- leads me to believe otherwise.

I know that eating gluten (the protein part of wheat (including spelt, kamut, triticale, durum, semolina) is the cause of gluten intolerance and celiac disease, which in turn can lead to Fibromyalgia, autism, ADD, some MS symptoms, diaetes, lupus, respiratory allergies, chemical sensitivities, osteoporosis, anemia, GERD (gastro-espohageal reflux disease) and many others. Read DANGEROUS GRAINS by Braly and Hoggan and also look for articles on celiac.com. The agricultural revolution has brought us many ills as gluten grain-growing has spread across the world.

Oops! Gluten grains include rye, barley and oats--hough oats are not intrinsically gluten--they are often contaminated in the fields, trucks, and processing machines by gluten grains.

Thanks Alison. Several of our family members avoid most or all grains because of allergies or health issues. Oddly, I have little problem with grains, but my wife is allergic to corn.

She also couldn't consume wheat during the earlier months of nursing because both of our kids would react to it.

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