Ask Doc Jun


The Hygeine Hypothesis states that those exposed to germs when young will have less allergies when older. The diseases that seem to be prevented are: diabetes type I, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, eczema, some cancers, nasal allergies, and Alzheimer disease. In 2002 a study showed that those who grew up on farms had less allergic diseases than those who grew up in cities.
Another study showed that having a dog or cats as pets during childhood was protective against allergies and the more animals, the more protection.

Two recently published reports showed that there were less allergies in those who washed dishes by hand as a child than in those who used a dishwashing machine.
Eating peanuts is the largest cause of food allergy deaths in the US. Giving peanuts to very young children until age 5 prevented this allergy compared to those who were not fed peanuts. This effect is explained by early exposure to the product. Those encountering it late had a higher risk of allergy. The recommendations for feeding food to infants later in life in the US may need to be relaxed and allow food introduction earlier, when the immune system is in the stage of learning which is a friendly chemical vs. which is to be attacked. This peanut study had some controversies.

The intestinal bacteria in a vaginally delivered baby is quite different from the bacteria in a baby delivered by cesarean section. Likewise, breast fed babies have very different bacteria in their intestines than bottle fed babies. These two “un-natural’ practices are more associated with asthma and allergies in the child. Our bodies’ bacteria and viruses are called our microbiome and different microbiomes are associated with different diseases, e.g. obesity.
The conclusion of many is that we are sometimes too clean and that results in problems. Humans have been working with good bacteria and viruses for centuries and cutting off small exposures are disrupting the normal links. Did you know that small parts of our human cells started as bacteria and that there are viral parts naturally in human DNA? Do you really need that alcohol hand wipe?

A new study showed that those who use these chemicals to build muscle may have up to 65% greater risk for testicular cancer. The association was worse for those who started using these chemicals before age 25 or those who used them for many years. Testicular cancer is the most common solid cancer for those 15-39 years of age (liquid cancers include leukemia). So check your testicles for lumps and see your provider if you are concerned. Some of these products contain chemicals not listed on the label and some of these are highly associated with testicular cancer.

There are some businesses on the internet that advertise a phone or online visit with a physician. The Texas medical board has ruled that a physician may not prescribe without meeting the patient face-to-face. They are concerned that prescribing by phone or internet connection may lead to poor outcomes and therefore will not allow this shortcut. Of course, if a regular patient of a physician is prescribed medication occasionally based upon a telephone or online visit, or an email this is allowed.

There was a recently published study showing that up to a third of the medical treatments promoted on the Dr. Oz and The Doctors TV shows did not have evidence that they were safe and effective. Furthermore, there were no disclosures that those promoting the treatments were or were not going to profit from the TV exposure. We have to remember that the reason shows exist is to make money and evidence may play a small or no part.

When someone says they are a physician and they have the paperwork to back it up, they have been screened by the institutions that gave them their degrees and allowed them to work with them. I was screened heavily to work at Western University, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Riverside County, Loma Linda, and the Veterans Hospital there, not to mention many, many hospitals and clinics I have worked at over my 35 years as a physician. What I say and do reflects on those who have approved me. When a patient sees me (or reads my writings) as a physician there is an understanding that I will not misuse my position for personal profit. We should be skeptical of physicians on TV if they are promoting a treatment since there is no relationship of trust there. TV is about making money and the clinic is about helping you. Let’s not get mixed up.

Finally, the government allowed a needle-exchange program to start in the counties where HIV rates have been discovered to be very high. Ignoring the evidence and using faith in opinion has resulted in many people getting HIV. Previously the opinion was that needle exchange programs promote drug abuse. This has been answered many years ago: No it does not. This reminds me of states, e.g. Texas, that fund sexual abstinence programs still even though we have known for years that it does not work. Uganda HIV rates have surged because funding was only allowed for HIV prevention programs that pushed abstinence—very unrealistic. Millions may have died in South Africa during the period of president Mbeke when he blocked treatment of HIV when he listened to Peter Duesberg, PhD who said HIV was not a bad disease.

Keep those questions coming. Be Safe!

Daniel Pearce, D.O., FACOI, AAHIVS
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine
Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine and HIV, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine and Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
HIV Specialist, Assistant TB Physician, Riverside County Public Health Department
Hepatitis C Specialist and Researcher, Southern California Liver Centers, Riverside