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面对流行病人类为何如此脆弱

(2009-05-05 13:24:31)
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杂谈

Why are humans always so sick?

人类为何如此脆弱

Swine flu is just the latest ailment to beset our species

猪流感只是困扰人类的一种最新慢性病

 

 

updated 1:23 p.m. ET May 4, 2009

The swine flu outbreak this spring is just the latest in the mountain of ailments that seem to beset humanity, from the incurable common cold to each potentially deadly cancer diagnosed at the rate of every 30 seconds in the United States.

春天爆发的猪流感仅仅是困扰人类的很多慢性病中的一种。这些疾病从可治愈的普通感冒到每30秒钟检测出来的致命的癌症。

So is our species sicker than it has ever been? Or is our current lot far better than it used to be?

人类是不是比原来更容易生病?或者我们现在比以前强的多?

It turns out the answer to both questions might be yes. While humans as a whole do live longer than ever before, we now suffer certain illnesses to a degree never seen in the past — including skyrocketing rates of diabetes and obesity and, surprisingly, ailments such as hay fever.

这两个问题的答案可能都是是的。人类整体的寿命比以前长了。我们现在也忍受着一些以前从来没有的疾病---包括极高比率的糖尿病和肥胖。更令人吃惊的是花粉过敏的疾病。

Among the possible causes for our modern ills: super-hygiene, sedentary lifestyles, and a lack of worms in our stomachs.

这些现代疾病的可能的致病因是:超高的保健学,静坐的生活方式,胃中缺少虫子。

Life expectancy shot up dramatically on average across the world during the 20th century, increasing from just age 30 or so in 1900 to roughly age 67 now. (It’s not that many people didn’t live to ripe old ages back then. Rather, the shift was due in large part to vast reductions in the number of infant deaths, which brought the average way down .) In 1900, there was just one country worldwide where under one in ten children died before their first birthday, while now out of the 187 nations for which there is data, this holds true for 168. These striking changes are due in large part to improvements in nutrition, sanitation and medicine.

20世纪以来,人类的平均寿命在世界范围内增长迅速。从1900年的30多岁到现在的67岁。(这不仅仅是因为人类的寿命更长。这种转变最主要的原因是儿童死亡数量的大量减少。他们降低了平均寿命)在1900年,全世界只有一个国家她的小孩的周岁以前死亡率是1/10。现在有187个国家可以达到这个数据。更确切地说是168个。这个巨大的改变主要来源于营养卫生和医疗的提高。

"As a world population, on average we are far healthier than before," said historian of medicine Naomi Rogers at Yale University.

 耶鲁大学药物历史学家Naomi Rogers 说:“就整个世界的人口来说,我们比以前更健康了。”

Modern ailments

现代疾病
Infectious diseases once were the main cause of death worldwide, "but around 1950 or so, there was a moment called the epidemiological transition, a long term that just means that in most Western nations, chronic diseases became the major causes of disability and death instead," Rogers explained.

传染病曾经是世界性死亡的主要因素,“但是在1950年左右,有一个时期被叫做转换期。这个转换期是指在大多数西方国家,慢性疾病成为致残和致死的主要原因。”罗格解释说。

Although infectious diseases seemed to Westerners to only be a "back then" or Third World problem for decades, ever since HIV in the 1980s and 1990s, "I think that element of hubris is gone," Rogers added. "But the infrastructure of public health facilities that responded to infectious disease and epidemics that disappeared in the United States has only slowly been rebuilt, and there's now that shock that comes with new epidemics."

尽管在过去的几十年里,传染疾病对西方人来说仅仅是落后地区或者第三世界的事情。但是自从在20世纪80年代末90年代初发现的艾滋病毒后,“我认为这种自大的因素就没有了。”罗格说。“但是过去为了在美国应对已经消失的传染病和流行病的基础公共医疗设施已经开始被重建。现在又出现了新的流行病非常让人吃惊。”

The modern era has brought a unique host of problems. The number of American children with chronic illnesses has roughly quadrupled in the past 50 years, including an almost fourfold increase in childhood obesity in the past three decades and twice the asthma rates since the 1980s.

现代带来了一些更独特的问题。美国患有慢性的小孩数量在过去的50年里增加了四倍。这包括在过去30年里儿童肥胖四倍的增长和自从20世纪80年代哮喘的两倍增长。

"It's a combination of environment and lifestyle," Rogers said. People are more sedentary and less physically active than before, and fast food is more available.

罗格说“这是环境和生活方式组合的结果。人们座着的时候更多,比以前体育锻炼更少。快餐更常见。”

"A powerful way of thinking of metabolic problems such as obesity and diabetes regards toxic environments," she explained. "One study showed that pregnant women living in areas that had large numbers of fast food places gained very unhealthy levels of weight during pregnancy compared with pregnant women who maybe lived a mile further away. That's a toxic environment. So the society we live in has its own dangers."

她解释说,最有力的方式考虑新陈代谢的问题比如肥胖和糖尿病别人为环境中毒。一项研究表明如果怀孕的妇女居住的区域有很多的快餐,她比离快餐区稍远的人更容易在怀孕期间增加不健康的体重。这就是环境中毒。我们生活的环境有自己的危险。

Body fights itself

身体自己的抵抗
Unusually, the number of ailments involving malfunctions of the immune system has gone up as well.

一般来说,与免疫系统失效引起的疾病数量也已经上涨。

Multiple sclerosis, a disease where the fatty insulation around the nervous system comes under attack, appears to be on the rise, and type I diabetes, "a childhood form of diabetes almost unheard of at the turn of the 20th century, is up from one in 5,000 or 10,000 to one in 250 in some regions," said Joel Weinstock, chief of gastroenterology at Tufts University Medical Center in Massachusetts.

多发性硬化是一种危险极大的疾病。常见于神经系统周围的脂肪隔绝突然受到攻击。也就是I型糖尿病,“在20世纪之交的时候,儿童糖尿病根本未曾听说过。现在发病率是 1/5000或者1/10000 在一些地区甚至上升到1/250 。”曼彻斯特塔夫大学医学中心肠胃中心主任Joel Weinstock说。

Even hay fever, which plagues roughly 1 out of 4 people in the United States, is something that may have largely emerged only in the 20th century, Weinstock said "What if I told you that there are some countries that don't even know what hay fever is?" he asked.

Weinstock说,花粉过敏在美国发病率大概是1/4。是20世纪最大规模的流行病。但是在一些国家它们甚至不知道什脈是花粉过敏。

The rise of these disorders might be due to the very improvements in hygiene that have helped reduce infections in much of the world. The body's immune system is regularly exposed to antigens, molecules that it recognizes and reacts to, such as compounds from viruses or bacteria.

这些不正常上升是因为医疗保健的大幅度提高所致。医疗保健确实减少了许多国家的传染。人体的免疫系统经常暴露在病原,细菌的环境中。 他们可以识别并对一些比如性细菌或者病毒联合体进行反应。

"But the immune system needs to be controlled, needs to not act up when exposed to things that aren't truly injuring you," Weinstock explained. "What we think is happening is the regulation mechanisms are becoming less effective. As to why that is, is it possible that it's due to lack of exposure to antigens? Do you need to be exposed regularly to antigens for it to work properly?"

Weinstock解释说:但是免疫提供需要被控制,需要对一些不是真正伤害你的东西不产生抵抗。对于已经发生的进行管理控制变得越来越没有效果。至于原因,是不是有可能因为缺少对抗原的暴露减少?为了使你的免疫系统工作正常,你是不是需要经常暴露在抗原中?

You need worms

你需要虫子
For instance, many fewer people are infected with worms than before.

比如,很多人比前更不容易生蠕虫。

"If you look back at the human race in the 20th century, every child and adult had worms in their gastrointestinal tracts," Weinstock said. "They were part of the ecosystem of the gut. As it turns out, worms are very potent at controlling immune reactions, in order to live happily ever after in the gut. Our theory is that when we started deworming the population, that is one factor that led to the rise in immunological diseases."

Weinstock说“如果你回顾20世纪的人类,每个小孩和成人在他们的胃肠道都长有蛔虫。他们是肠胃系统的一部分。当他们长出来,就会对抗我们的免疫体统的控制。为了生存的更好即时是在我们的消化道。 我们的理论是当我们在人群中消灭会蛔虫。这就会引起一些免疫疾病的上升。

As part of this "hygiene hypothesis," Weinstock also notes that dirt roads, horses and cattle used to be far more prent in life than they are now.

作为卫生学假设的一部分,Weinstock注意到泥土路,马牛以前比现在更流行。

"Our theory is that when we moved to this super-hygiene environment , which only occurred in the last 50 to 100 years, this led to immune disregulation," he said. "We're not saying that sanitation is not a good thing — we don't want people to jog up to river banks and get indiscriminately contaminated. But we might want to better understand what factors in hygiene are healthy and what are probably detrimental, to establish a new balance and hopefully have the best of both worlds."

我们的理论是:当我们到了一个卫生极好的环境这个环境只存在于最近的50-100年之间。这个导致了免疫系统的非正常。我们不是说,卫生本身不是一件好事。我们不希望人们在河边慢跑从而收到非必要的污染。我们想让人们知道保健知识那个方面是好的。那些是不好的。这样可以建立一个新的平衡。这样对世界和我们都有好处。

© 2009 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.

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