Ultra-clean homes — trigger cancer? Strong grip = longer life?

Keeping children cocooned in ultra-clean homes away from other youngsters could trigger childhood leukaemia, a landmark study suggests.

A major new analysis by Britain’s leading leukaemia expert has concluded a deadly chain of events is set in motion when susceptible children are not exposed to enough bugs to prime their immune system at an early age.

Without sufficient immunity, if vulnerable youngsters catch even a relatively harmless virus like flu, the immune system malfunctions creating far more infection-fighting white blood cells than needed, causing leukaemia.

Professor Mel Greaves of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said it was a ‘paradox of progress in modern societies’ that advances in cleanliness had caused such a devastating condition.

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The study, which compiled 30 years of research into the cancer, raises the prospect that Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) could become a preventable disease, which charities said was ‘enormously exciting.’


(Reuters Health) – Grip strength may be a better predictor of future health than some measurements doctors currently use to gauge risk, a large UK study suggests.

Although grip strength has long been a good indicator of frailty or health in older people, it could help doctors understand adults’ risk profile at all ages, including the odds of heart and lung disease, cancer and overall mortality, the study team writes in The BMJ.

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“Grip strength is easy to measure and may be useful in helping to predict future disease,” said senior study author Stuart Gray of the University of Glasgow.

“Grip strength showed a stronger association with cardiovascular disease than blood pressure and physical activity, which was a bit of a surprise,” Gray told Reuters Health by email. “It highlights nicely just how strong the association is.”



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