Rousseau & the First Discourse

This was a paper written for Professor Curtis Stokes at Michigan State University for my MC 370 class (taken for the 2nd time).

Note: Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the First Discourse: on whether the restoration of the Sciences and Arts has contributed to the purification of morals.

In Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s First Discourse, the blame he puts on the Arts and Sciences for contributing to the lack of morals and virtues in his modern society is very relevant today. Just look in the morning paper to see the variety of morals that are diminishing. We have people killing other people to support hallucinatory habits. Corporate takeovers and monopolies controlling the market are commonplace. We constantly see the religious right and other morally right peoples try and persuade our government to correct our immorality. Wear your seat belt. Don’t do drugs. Don’t let this big mean company hurt my innocent little company. How did most of these things come about? They were by-products of the arts and sciences. All stems from education. We are taught that we must have a good education to succeed in the world. Perhaps it’s the education that is really the root of all of this evil and purging of our morals. After reading both Rousseau’s First Discourse and his Preface to “Narcissus” it becomes clear that Rousseau abuses the arts and sciences in the former and becomes a defender for them in the latter if they are taken in moderation and not idolized.

In Rousseau’s First Discourse, it is not “Science… [he] abuse(s) … it is Virtue [he] defend(s) before virtuous men (page 5).” He defends virtue in an era where education of arts and sciences is precedent to being good. Time and time again, Rousseau gives argument after argument how the sciences and arts have led to men preferring luxury over hard work and a moral living. He claims that Arts and Sciences rarely exist without luxury, and luxury cannot exist without them (16, 18). What is it that most of us want? Is that what education really teaches us? How to want expensive things? Why are we in college? We want the good life. We want the nice car, the great house on the beach, the apartment in the city. We want to do better than our parents, and our parents want us to do better than them. We want to support our children better than our parents supported us. We want to have more toys and gadgets to make our lives easier and more pleasurable. Our parents want to spoil our grandchildren, as good grandparents do. All of these things are luxurious. Do we really need the nice car, the house on the beach, the apartment in the city, and the fun toys and electronic gadgets to make life easier? Are they necessary to a healthy life? Rousseau would argue no. Rousseau is very admirable of the vulgar or rustic man, although they wouldn’t have the ability to comprehend his writings, he loves their simplicity. Their lives aren’t complex, and they innately understand what virtue is by acting on it and not explaining it. Rousseau claims that in the modern society, people do a lot of talking about virtue, a lot of analyzing it, but they fail to understand and act on it. Only the common rustic man can really live the virtuous life, for once corrupt you are doomed to always be corrupt. The educated man is corrupt once learned from the corrupt education institutions. Rousseau states that “until the Romans had been content to practice virtue; all was lost when they began to study it (13).” It isn’t difficult to find examples of Rousseau’s arguments in our world today. As humans are innately good, we recognize hints of immorality. Therefore we despise the learned wealthy cooperate financier for his ruthlessness. We despise the all-knowing politician for his corruptness. We despise the intelligent scientist who cloned Dolly the Sheep for corrupting our morals. We despise so many people who are learned because they degrade our morals in society today. What good has our education done but to make us want more of what we don’t really need? Do we really need the $300,000 dollar a year job to support our futuristic families and ourselves? Can’t we get by on $40,000 or maybe even $10,000? If there’s a will there’s a way, right? (Unless we don’t really want to be virtuous.) Do we really need any monetary compensation? Can’t we get along in the wilds of Canada picking berries and sleeping under trees? We’d have the barest of necessities, just enough to survive on. We wouldn’t care about the newest, fastest car that has come to the market. We would only care about our survival, and the survival of our friends and families. We wouldn’t need an institutional education because we’d be surviving on instinct to survive.

Another interesting similarity between Rousseau and our modern day society, is his claim of lack of citizenship. He argues that “we have Physicists, Geometricians, Chemists, Astronomers, Poets, Musicians, Painters; we no longer have citizens; or if we still have some left, dispersed in our abandoned rural areas (24)…” What do we have today but Scientists of all sorts, physicists, chemists, and astronomers. We have Mathematicians, and musicians; we have artists who specialize in painting and poetry. How many times do we hear how awful a country is? How often is it said that people are not proud to be from their birth country? We have a lot of inhabitants that choose different paths, but despise where they come from. As far as our abandoned rural areas, what job is disappearing very quickly? Recently a town next to my hometown of Greenville held its annual Applefest. Oddly, there were no apple orchard representatives. There was one scheduled, but it could not come for it went out of business a few months earlier. Our nation’s farms are being sold for expanding cities and corporate mergers. An honest man’s wage is getting harder to come by. Rousseau would be saddened that there has been no real improvement in our morals.

In the “Preface to Narcissus” Rousseau defends himself against his critics by claiming that it wasn’t all sciences he is against, just when one pours all of his energy into defending and expanding them without a thought for the common good. He feels that Science taken abstractedly is wonderful. However, one needs to be better rounded. Do not devote all of your energy into them. Take the good and move on (97). Rousseau’s argument in the First Discourse was very strong. He put a good case against the Arts & Sciences in his defense of virtue. His attempts to save face in “Preface” are weak at best. He raises many good points and he does clarify the overall argument, however, he seems to sidestep the replies and comments to the First Discourse like a well-staged politician. Despite his meager retreat to please the critics, Rousseau still had good points about Sciences and the Arts and modern Society.

“What a strange and ruinous constitution, where having wealth invariably makes it easier to get more, and it is impossible for the man who has nothing to acquire anything (101).” Isn’t that true of our modern day society? Single mothers dependent on welfare rarely get out of this cyclical system. If, and when they do, it is usually by marriage. Sometimes that is not even enough and both parents’ end up struggling together. How wrong is it that a rich man can get richer (Bill Gates before the anti-trust suits) and by bigger gadgets and things, while the poor man must beg for food so he can live to see another day? How awful is it where our children aren’t learning and are dying malnourished (third-world countries around the globe)? Isn’t it backward to live in a society that encourages learning but fails to teach people to care? A society that proclaims freedom and equality for all while we have people sleeping on park benches because they lost their house or were abandoned by their parents. We speak the learned languages and philosophies of the Ancients, yet fail to act virtuous.

“What have we gained from all this? Much chatter, rich men and argumentative ones, that is to say enemies of virtue and common sense. In return we have lost innocence and morals. The multitude grovels in poverty; all are the slaves of vice. Uncommitted crimes dwell deep inside men’s hearts, and all that keeps them from being carried out is the assurance of impunity.” (101)

In “Preface to Narcissus”, Rousseau makes a stronger argument against corrupt men who cannot distinguish between good and bad, while he is much more favorable towards the Arts and Sciences. It’s as if the Arts and Sciences are the unwitting accomplices in the corrupt man’s plight to torture the civil and virtuous man. Rousseau does offer a small solution while acquiescing to the problem.

“It is no longer a matter of getting people to do good, but only of distracting them from doing evil, they must be kept busy with trifles to divert them from evil deeds; they must be entertained rather than sermonized.” (104)

Here, Rousseau gives an example of what today would be called your local YMCA, United Way, or any other Keep Kids Off the Street Organization. Keep people entertained at ball games, charity events, working on their gardens, or enhancing their crafts. Keep them busy with things they enjoy, and they will cease to do evil. If this pattern continues for many generations, maybe a virtuous lot will be born again.

Rousseau’s First Discourse is very relevant, no matter how emphatically he claims it was feasibly argued in his Confessions. Of everything Rousseau has to say in his First Discourse, the most important thing we should get out of it is a warning. If we continue on our paths of seeking riches instead of a form of salvation, if we continue to use the arts and sciences for evil by enhancing laziness, our society will be doomed. We should do useful things with our arts. Create things to be used usefully such as better farm equipment and building things with our hands, not things that abuse the human body and soul such as television (because it leads to apathy). Once we find the perfect harmony between the Arts and Sciences and virtuous living, this will be our hope and a virtuous man will again be born.

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Ingres: Critiques and Line

Michelle Lasley | Art History 481: Prof. Lee Stewart

Born in 1780, Ingres came into a world rife with conflict and revolution. Trained in the school of neo-classicism, Ingres is known for using his own system for the art he created. In addition, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, the eldest of seven children1, maintained a childlike hypersensitivity2 that would provide him the motivation to quit the Salon and the French Academy and move to Rome after much criticism over his painting The Martyrdom of St. Symphorien (Image 1). Andrew C. Shelton, in his thorough review, describes how the conflict surrounding St. Symphorien is less about Ingres’ technique and more about the politics of the time. In this paper, I will argue that Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres is more concerned with maintaining his style and securing commissions than in fully participating in contemporary politics.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was commissioned to paint The Martyrdom of St. Symphorien in 1824 after his Vow of Louis XIV was shown at the Salon of the same year. Monseigneur Roch-Étienne de Vichy, the Bishop of Autun requested that Ingres paint the martyr at the most dramatic moment preceding his death, outlining seven points in which he required Ingres to follow. Although Ingres hesitated, at first, in the end he followed exactly the Bishop’s recommendations. The painting was to replace Fra Bartolomeo’s The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine in Autun in the Romanesque Cathedral Saint-Lazare. Ingres reworked St. Symphorien several times during the ten years taken to complete the work before it was exhibited, untimely, at the Salon of 1834, during the July Monarchy of Louis-Philippe. As a result, instead of being viewed as a simple commission completed under specific criteria, many critics at the Salon condemned the piece as warming to a religious monarchy instead of a free republic.3 4

The amateur’s eye sees the Martyrdom of St. Symphorien as a dramatic piece that focuses on the Saint, who stands nearly in the center of the canvas, slightly to the left, with his arms and body making an “X” shape, like he his parting the crowd that surrounds him. The eye is directed up and to the left where we see Augusta, Symphorien’s mother, reaching over the edge of the monumental architecture behind which she stands. She reaches toward her son in a manner reminiscent of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel. The eye travels the canvas to the right along the monstrous Roman architecture down to a spired colonnade amidst the crowds, and back to the left where we come full circle to St. Symphorien. The light comes from the right side of the canvas illuminating the saint to emphasize his godly qualities while casting the crowd to the viewer’s left and behind him in shadows. A man directly above the Saint’s right hand, in a diagonal line between the saint and his mother, points to the painting’s right side toward a sign, with illegible text, held by one of the lictors leading Symphorien away.

Ignoring the politics surrounding the piece, one can clearly see how Ingres interpreted the painting in his own style while following, verbatim, the Bishop’s instructions.

The moment chosen is that in which the young Symphorien, dragged outside the gates of the city by the governor’s satellites and executioners, is being conducted to the temple of Berecynthia in order either to sacrifice to the idols there or lose his life. 5

The Bishop’s description clearly explains how Ingres was to visual the piece. The viewer sees Symphorien as the centerpiece of the painting, illuminated in white, forming the diagonals in which the rest of the painting is based. The eye next moves onto the Saint’s mother.

His mother, situated nearby atop the walls of the city, encourages her son to suffer courageously the agony that is before him and reminds him of the immortal rewards that God reserves for him in the afterlife.

The young martyr turns toward his mother in order to bid her a final farewell and to show her that his heart, fortified by faith, was ready to brave torture and death, and that he yearned to confirm with all his blood the Gospels of Jesus Christ. 6

Symphorien’s right hand is extended in a defiant pose, points towards his mother, who reaches down frantically repeating the Saint’s pose, which emphasizes the strife of fighting for religion. Although the proportions of the mother are exaggerated, it fits well within Ingres’ style and only serves to reinforce the bond between mother and son by making her appear nearly the same size as he. The viewer sees the gloriousness of answering to a higher calling, turning towards God and abandoning all worldly possessions for dying for honor of faith. The Saint’s steadfastness is juxtaposed to the mixed reactions of the crowd.

A large crowd of onlookers displays the various sentiments of astonishment and indignation, sadness and pity, that such a spectacle would inspire in a city that was still almost entirely pagan. 7

Cast in shadow, the various onlookers of the crowd, from rich to poor, individuals, and mothers with their children, surround St. Symphorien. All gaze towards him with varied emotions on their faces.
Next, the Bishop outlines the placement of the painting.

The scene takes place just outside the gate that is currently called the Portail Sante-André, which should occupy at least a portion of the background of the painting. It should be rendered faithfully after the drawing that is engraved in the work of M. Delebrode on the monuments of France.

One should perceive a bit further in the distance the colonnade forming the peristyle of the temple of Berecynthia. This last detail is left to the discretion of the artist. 8

Since the city of Autun was under Roman domination at this time, the costumes should be Roman from the time of the Antoinines’ reign.9

The people portrayed are all dressed in the age-appropriate garb, the colonnade forms the diagonal opposite Symphorien’s mother, and the location seems accurate without having visited. Regarding the politics of the time, Shelton with his thorough review points out that of sixty-three reviews, thirty-five are opposed to Ingres’ piece, twenty-five curry favor with the Saint, and three reviews are non-committal.10 Shelton further points out that the negative reviews are often found in political journals and compare Ingres to an aristocratic supporter of despotic regimes, instead of looking at the commissioned instructions. Symphorien’s mother is a strong female character, taking the role of the father figure as portrayed by David’s Brutus, for example, so it can be believed that Ingres tailored his portrayal to the request of his patron, and not to the politics of the time. For example, when painting commissioned works for Napoleon, Ingres and David both portrayed women as weaker to parlay towards Napoleon’s desires and wants for how his painting should look.11

Ingres reworked paintings and subjects for the length of his career. He is known for maintaining a style, ingrisme, which was a blend of classical and romantic intentions, although not juste milieu. He is known for his design interests and consistency. He is also known as a superb draftsman, using hard graphite points on a coated paper12 to achieve the magnificent look of being able to define texture with what appears only a few simple strokes, such as in his Portrait of Paganini. Ingres was guided “by the marvelous functional design of the ideal human body, and … the linear and spatial pictorial design which Raphael perfected.”13 With this style and sure hand, Ingres supported himself and his family by charging for graphite portraits he made for tourists when stipend dollars ran out in Rome.14 To understand Ingres’ method, it is important to look at his own words such as, “Line is drawing. It is everything,” and when instructing, “Draw for a long time before thinking of painting. When one builds on a solid foundation, one sleeps in peace.”15 One can understand better why he reworked pieces several times and exhibited a piece twenty years after its completion to show his consistency, wanting to say, “Look from where I have departed and where I have arrived.”16 He desired to be a safe investment for his patrons, and that too confined him to a particular style and level of production.17

Although Ingres was part of contemporary politics, when it came to satisfying his patrons requests, he focused more on those requests and his design elements rather than creating an overt political piece. By focusing, and refocusing on line and reworking his pieces for years, Ingres created a solid foundation, his system, for establishing his consistent type and stature as an artiste. St. Symphorien serves as a great example of how politics muddied the commissioned intent and Ingres’ interpretation, and it is understandable why the thin-skinned artist gave up the Salon and its hype and retreated to a place where perhaps he would be freer to express himself and his system of art.

References

  • Boime, Albert. 1985. Declassicizing the academic: A realist view of Ingres. Art History. 8(1)(03):50-65.
  • Brown, Marilyn R., and Rose R. Weil. 1984. Ingres’s pursuit of perfection. Art Journal. 44(2)(06):179.
  • Carrier, David. 2007. Politically incorrect art. Foundation for International Art Criticism.
  • Mitchell, Mark G. 2007. Learning from the masters: Ingres’ miraculous lines. Drawing. 4(12):42-57.
  • Shelton, Andrew Carrington. 2000. Ingres versus Delacroix. Art History. 23(5)(12):726.
  • Shelton, Andrew Carrington. 2001. Art, politics, and the politics of art: Ingres’s Saint Symphorien. Art Bulletin. 83(4)(12):711.
  • Shelton, Andrew Carrington. 2005. Ingres and His Critics. Cambridge University Press: New York, New York. Pp 320.
  • Siegfried, Susan L. 2000. Ingres’s reading – the undoing of narrative. Art History. 23(5)(12):654.
  • Skira, Albert. 1967. Ingres: The Taste of Our Time. The World Publishing Company: Cleveland, Ohio. Pp 131.
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Allergy, Asmtha & Immunology vs. Farm Life

Farm residents with livestock, except poultry, have protection against allergy later in life

Michelle Lasley | Environmental Science & Resources 428, Professor Alan Yeakley

Abstract

There has been a worldwide increase in asthma and allergies over the last half-century. Many studies link this to the Western lifestyle and increased standard of living. In addition, the rise of atopic diseases has been linked to the decline of infectious disease. Furthermore, several studies have linked the use of antibiotics in infancy and early childhood to the prevalence of asthma, eczema, and allergy rhinitis. The post-industrial period saw changes in the development of allergies, increased risk of asthma and allergy rhinitis, or hay fever.

To discuss why these changes are happening, numerous European studies have linked less likelihood to experience allergies if children have parents who are farmers and more specifically children who live on farms in the presence of animals. These children, who live on farms with animals, have decreased adult asthma, allergy rhinitis, and eczema. A New Zealand study found that this was null when children were on farms with poultry. This is important because pediatricians find asthma and allergies, during the late 1970s, to be difficult to treat. Farm environment for children protects against allergic rhinitis and asthma. Exposure to environmental mycobacteria and actinomycetes could be the explanation. If planners could incorporate these findings in urban designs, perhaps symptoms of allergies in children would decrease, increasing the quality of life for all.

Introduction

Society’s quick change from an agrarian society to an industrial society has had many unforeseen affects on the urban landscape, or in the urban ecology. One such unforeseen affect is in allergies. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, there were few documented cases of hay fever, asthma, and other allergies. Victims of allergies can tell you that allergies have a debilitating affect on the sufferer. Because allergies affect every facet of the sufferer’s life, allergy has a direct correlation to Quality of Life (QOL) issues and measurements. As QOL decreases, the potential to treat allergies gets harder.1 Treating allergies and the occurrence of allergies has startling costs to society. Additionally, allergy is so prevalent that new professions have arisen out from this increase and formation of allergy.

With such a wide-ranging affect, it is helpful to know what is included in allergy. Recent papers include in allergies the following types: allergy rhinitis (hay fever), asthma (inflammation of the bronchial tubes), and atopic/eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS) (skin rashes and conditions).2 Several studies over the past two decades indicate a strong correlation between protection against allergies in adulthood and exposure to farm animals, except poultry, as a child. This paper will show the debilitating affect allergy has on young people, a basic introduction on what happens in allergy sufferers; a discussion of the studies showing links between livestock and allergy protection; a discussion of the studies that show an adverse link, especially in regards to poultry; and finally a summary of what was shown with suggestions on where studies should next proceed.

Allergy – Symptoms & Basic History

For one hundred years now, modern science has known that synthetic antihistamine would protect an animal from induced anaphylaxis, meaning that for one hundred years we have known what allergies look like and a basic idea of how to control allergies. Then, about 65 years ago, immunoglobulin E (IgE) was discovered as the acting carrier of ragweed, and later other allergens, the main component whose sensitivity chooses who has allergies and who does not.3 It was learned that allergies occur when people have a hypersensitivity to triggers, and in this instance, ragweed. This sensitivity follows across the board from allergy rhinitis to asthma, and as Leffert describes asthma as an immunologic hypersensitivity, sometimes where emotional stress triggers and exacerbates symptoms. One of the key components of asthma is when antigens sensitive a child and then these antigens trigger an immunologic reaction, i.e. an asthma attack. Likewise, for allergy rhinitis, it would seem that exposure to allergens, the body developing a hypersensitivity to these allergens, and then triggers by the allergens force allergies in the sufferer, i.e. hay fever or sneezing attacks such as when a burst of pollen from sniffing a flower itches the sufferer’s nose.

Through the past 100 years, medicine has continued to study allergy, the causes of allergy, and how to treat allergy. Questionnaires have been issued, studies have been tallied, and the basic findings are that allergies are expensive to treat, can often confound the pediatrician in charge of care, and clearly makes the victim of allergy suffer sometimes year round. Some questions used to decide if someone suffers from allergy are found in Table 4.4 The questionnaires studied for this paper generally follow an if-then format. If the sufferer experiences this symptom, then continue here, if not, go to this place. It is important to differentiate between colds, flu, and actual allergy symptoms. All studies used had a 95% confidence index, suggesting strong credibility.

Livestock as an Allergy Protection

Beginning with studies in the mid-90s, several European scientists in Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, and other places in Europe, have been curious about the connections to allergies comparing urban and rural children. In the early 19th Century, it was thought that urban children had fewer allergies than rural kids did because at the time, rural places were cleaner than urban places, making exposure to allergens higher in urban places, rather than rural. Modern studies have found the opposite to be true. Ironically, studies from the past twenty years, mostly in Europe, have shown that exposure to farm animals has a protective affect against allergens, especially in regards to allergy rhinitis, or hay fever. Bråbäck illustrates the relationship between occupations and habitat in his 2004 article in Clinical & Experimental Allergy.5 Data is taken from Swiss conscript data from 1952 on. Although occurrences of allergy increased for habitats from both rural and urban dwellings, urban people had a higher increase and the gap between urban and rural grew larger.

Braun-Fahrländer and colleagues found, in 1999, that farming as a parental occupation decreased the risk of children developing symptoms of allergies.6 This paper has been documented in many following, suggesting a leading insight into this allergy conundrum. Braun-Fahrländer and colleagues hypothesized that children growing up on farms were less likely to be sensitized to common allergens and then that they would suffer less from allergic disease. To carry out their study, Braun-Fahrländer and colleagues used the Swiss Study on Childhood Allergy and Respiratory Symptoms with Respect to Air pollution (SCARPOL), a data set used by most of the European studies examined. Methods were a questionnaire at the school health services, a routine visit for the three ages groups studied, and blood samples for the older age groups. Of note in their findings was that farming families had a lower socio-economic status; had more children; had more humidity or visible mold in their home,;used traditional heating such as coal and wood; were more likely to keep furred pets, but the furred pets were less likely to be in the children’s bedroom; had mothers that were less likely to smoke; and had less hay fever, asthma, and eczema in their family history. From their findings, they discussed that the possibility exists that the living in an agricultural environment could provide a model of primary prevention. If this proves to be true, then, these findings could be taken into the urban environment as preventive maintenance for allergy sufferers.

Poultry – An Adverse Affect

Contrasting the European studies, a New Zealand study also looked at farms, children’s exposure to animals, and resistance to allergies as an adult.7 This study found that the children in the sample, their risk increased with exposure to farms. The most striking difference is the New Zealand study had more poultry, or in general poultry farms. The European studies did not, indicating that it is exposure to poultry that either increases or does nothing to the risk of being affected by allergy. Wickens, in Table 5 shows incidence where exposure to poultry nearly doubles the risk of hay fever compared to other triggers studied, such as cats and residence, the farm abode.8 Additionally, this study noted a higher incidence of allergy in regards to pigs and hay fever, farm abode in current allergic rhinitis, farm abode for asthma, and cats (inside or outside) regarding AEDS (skin problems).

The study discusses that all children living on farms had increased risk of all studied forms of allergy: hay fever, allergic rhinitis, asthma, wheezing, and eczema. Of the European studies examined, they concluded that living on farms with livestock had the protective affect against allergy later in life, but the published results did not pare down which animals were on the farms like this New Zealand study. On the other hand, the New Zealand study did not mention animals like cows (a European animal attributed to the protective affect), horses, goats, or other farm mammals besides pigs. Regardless, examining these causes in more detail and from a different vantage point, this study pushes further research to examine more fully which animals actually have the protective affect. If this is not done, one could believe that it may be something in the air in European farms rather than the animals present.

As a rebuttal to the New Zealand study, Braun-Fahrländer points out that having contact with farm animals shows the substantial decrease in the development of hay fever and asthma comparing children living on farms and non-farming children.9 He introduces in this editorial the ALEX study (ALlergy and EndotoXin) where dust samples were obtained from enrolled children and tests were done to see the development of IgE sensitization. Although not well supported, it was this sensitization that farm animals protect against, a known cause of allergy. Subsequently, although growing up on a farm does not suppress the process of IgE sensitization it protects against it. Still, though, animals remain undefined, and the New Zealand study, of the obtained articles, is the only one that specifies which animals were tested against.

Conclusions

In this paper I showed the debilitating affect allergy has on young people, studies showing links between livestock and allergy protection; and studies that show an adverse link in that protection, especially in regards to poultry. Several European studies over the past two decades have shown that when children live on farms with livestock, this experience later in life acts as protection against allergies, allergies that are increasing in society. This is important because of the discomfort and adverse affects to Quality of Life, the costs of health care for the afflicted persons, and the cost of healthcare for the public. If we can pinpoint what causes allergies, what can keep allergies at bay, and lastly how to overcome allergies, we would live in very different places than we do now. To take these findings further would be to introduce them into the planning stage of urban centers. If these findings could be more pinpointed for policy gurus, then we could try to make our cities allergy free. This would allow us to cure or control allergy at a local level with less cost to the individual and public. The next question could be, “Besides livestock, which animals that protect against allergies could be introduced as part of the urban landscape?” We’ve seen that poultry does not, so does that mean we need more dogs? Should every household enjoy the company of a dog, further reducing the need for places such as the Human Society?

References

  • Asher, M.I., U. Keil, H.R. Anderson, et al. 1995. International study of asthma and allergies in childhood (ISAAC): rationale and methods. European Respiratory Journal. 8:483-491.
  • Bråbäck, L., A. Hjern, and F. Rasmussen. 2004. Trends in asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema among Swedish conscripts form farming and non-farming environments; a nationwide study over three decades. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 34:38-43.
  • Braun-Fahrländer, C. 2002. Do only European cattle protect from allergies? Allergy. 57:1094-1096.
  • Braun-Fahrländer, C., M. Gassner, L. Grize, et al. 1999. Prevalence of hay fever and allergic sensitization in farmer’s children and their peers living in the same rural community. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 29:28-34.
  • Emanuel, M. B. 1999. Histamine and the antiallergic antihistamines: a history of their discovers. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 29(supplement 3):1?11.
  • Gerth van Wijk, R. 2002. Allergy: a global problem; Quality of life. Allergy. 57:1097-1110.
  • Kilpeläinen, M., E.O. Terho, H. Helenius, and M. Koskenvuo. 2000. Farm environment in childhood prevents the development of allergies. Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 30:201-208.
  • Leffert, Fred, M.D. 1978. Asthma: a modern perspective. Pediatrics. 62(6):1061-1069.
  • Wickens, K., J.M. Lane, P. Fitzharris, et al. 2002. Farm Residence and exposures and the risk of allergic diseases in New Zealand children. Allergy. 57-1171-1179.

Tables & Figures

Table 11

Association of physician-diagnosed asthma during a lifetime with background factors in young Finnish adults. Adjustment performed by logistic regression model for all the other factors in the table and parental education.

Total N* Prevalence (%)* Crude OR* 95% CI P-value Adjusted CR† 95% CI P-Value
Place of Residene at Age 0-6 years
Rural non-farm 1,243 5.3 1.00 1.00
Farm 1,095 3.7 0.68 0.45-1.01 NS 0.70 0.46-1.06 NS
Urban 7,276 4.5 0.81 0.64-1.10 NS 0.81 0.61-1.07 NS
Day care outside the home at 0-2 years
No 9,324 4.5 1.00 1.00
Yes 1,127 5.1 1.14 0.86-1.52 NS 1.09 0.80-1.49 NS
Passive smoking at age 0-2 years
No 8,292 4.3 1.00 1.00
Yes 2,257 5.6 1.32 1.07-1.62 <0.01 1.30 1.03-1.64 <0.05
Gender
Male 4,142 5.1 1.00 1.00
Female 6,488 4.2 0.81 0.67-0.97 <0.05 0.72 0.59-0.88 <0.01
Parents’ asthma or atopy
No 6,258 2.9 1.00 1.00
Yes 4,299 6.39 2.46 2.04-2.97 <0.001 2.32 1.89-2.84 <0.001
Number of older siblings
0 5,672 4.9 1.00 1.00
1 3,597 4.3 0.88 0.72-1.08 NS 0.94 0.76-1.17 NS
2 920 4 0.82 0.58-1.16 NS 0.91 0.62-1.33 NS
3 256 3.5 0.71 0.36-1.40 NS 0.74 0.36-1.53 NS
?4 144 3.5 0.70 0.29-1.73 NS 0.90 0.36-2.25 NS

* Using all available information.

For subjects with complete data on all the background variables.

1 M. Kilpeläinen, E.O. Terho, H. Helenius, and M. Koskenvuo. “Farm environment in childhood prevents the development of allergies” in Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 2000. 30:201-208.

Table 21

Association of physician-diagnosed allergic rhinitis and/or allergic conjunctivitis during a lifetime with background factors in young Finnish adults. Adjustment performed by logistic regression model for all the other factors in the table and parental education.

Total N* Prevalence (%)* Crude OR* 95% CI P-value Adjusted CR† 95% CI P-Value
Place of residence at Age 0-6 years
Rural non-farm 1,243 20.80 1.00 1.00
Farm 1,095 13.90 0.61 0.49-0.77 <0.001 0.63 0.50-0.79 <0.001
Urban 7,276 22.40 1.10 0.95-1.27 NS 1.08 0.92-1.26 NS
Day care outside the home at 0-2 years
No 9,324 20.50 1.00 1.00
Yes 1,127 25.20 1.30 1.13-1.51 <0.001 1.22 1.04-1.42 <0.05
Passive smoking at age 0-2 years
No 8,292 21.00 1.00 1.00
Yes 2,257 20.60 0.98 0.87-1.09 NS 1.03 0.91-1.17 NS
Gender
Male 4,142 21.90 1.00 1.00
Female 6,488 20.20 0.90 0.82-0.99 <0.05 0.82 0.74-0.91 <0.001
Parents’ asthma or atopy
No 6,258 15.40 1.00 1.00
Yes 4,299 28.90 2.23 2.03-2.45 <0.001 2.25 2.03-2.49 <0.001
Number of older siblings
0 5,672 22.30 1.00 1.00
1 3,597 19.50 0.85 0.76-0.94 <0.01 0.86 0.77-0.96 <0.01
2 920 20.40 0.89 0.75-1.06 NS 0.99 0.82-1.19 NS
3 256 19.80 0.86 0.63-1.17 0.99 0.71-1.37 NS
?4 144 9.00 0.35 0.20-0.61 <0.001 0.47 0.26-.84 <0.05

* Using all available information.

For subjects with complete data on all the background variables.

Table 32

Association of respiratory and allergic symptoms and allergic sensitization with farming as a parental occupation.

Symptom prevalence accounting to parental occupation Association with farming as parental occupation
Total study population (n,%) Farming (n,%) Non-Farming (n,%) Crude OR (95%, CI) Adjusted3 OR (95%, CI)
Questionnaire (N = 1620)
Repeated cough 594/36.7 103/33.6 491/37.4 0.85 (0.65-1.10) 0.90 (0.63-1.29)
Bronchitis 156/9.6 31/10.1 125/9.5 1.07 (0.71-1.62) 1.37 (0.77-2.40)
Wheeze 135/8.3 16/5.2 119/9.1 0.55 (0.33-0.94) 0.77 (0.38-1.58)
Asthma (ever) 150/9.3 24/7.8 126/9.6 0.80 (0.51-1.26) 1.17 (0.64-2.13)
Sneezing during pollen season 125/7.7 8/2.6 117/8.9 0.27 (0.14-0.54) 0.34 (0.12-0.89)
Hay fever (ever) 197/12.2 22/7.2 175/13.3 0.50 (0.32-0.79) 0.89 (0.49-1.59)
Itchy skin rash (ever) 193/12.0 27/8.9 166/12.7 0.67 (0.41-1.02) 0.86 (0.49-1.50)
Eczema (ever) 305/18.8 48/15.6 257/19.6 0.76 (0.54-1.07) 1.15 (0.74-1.81)
Serological test2 (N=404)
Positive SX1 test (CAP-class?2) 139/34.4 16/18.6 123/38.7 0.33 (0.18-0.59) 0.31 (0.13-0.73)
Specific IgE’s to outdoor allergens (CAP class?2) 119/29.5 15/17.4 104/32.7 0.43 (0.24-0.78) 0.38 (0.16-0.87)
Specific IgE’s to indoor allergens (CAP class?2) 81/20.1 4/4.7 77/24.2 0.15 (0.06-0.38) 0.15 (0.04-0.57)

1 During the past 12 months if not otherwise specified.

2 318 serological tests were done in children from non-farming families, 86 in farmers’ children.

3 The logistic regression model included the following variables: age, sex, parental education, a family history of asthma, hay fever, eczema, number of siblings, maternal smoking, pet ownership, indoor humidity, study area, and heating fuels.

Table 43

SAMPLE – Core questionnaire rhinitis module for 13-14-year-olds NOT INCLUDED

Table 54

Adjusted odds ratios for the association between various exposures and having hay fever ever, allergic rhinitis in the last 12 months, asthma ever, wheeze in the last 12 months, atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS) ever, and skin prick test (SPT) positivity

n (293) Hay fever ever Current allergic rhinitis Asthma ever Current wheeze AEDS ever SPT positivity
First year of life
Farm abode 94 1.3 (0.4-3.9) 0.5 (0.2-1.2) 0.7 (0.3-1.8) 0.5 (0.2-1.4) 0.7 (0.3-1.8) 1.3 (0.5-3.6)
Regular poultry 36 1.8 (0.5-6.6) 2.0 (.07-5.9) 2.7 (0.9-7.7)* 2.1 (0.7-6.6) 3.7 (1.3-0.7)** 1.1 (0.4-3.5)
Regular pig 29 0.4 (0.1-1.9) 0.6 (0.2-2.0) 1.0 (0.3-3.3) 0.6 (0.2-2.3) 0.6 (0.2-1.8) 0.2 (0.1-0.9)**
Cats inside or outside 223 0.4 (0.1-1.0)** 1.4 (0.6-3.1) 1.4 (0.6-3.1) 1.0 (0.4-2.4) 0.4 (0.2-0.8)*** 0.6 (0.3-1.3)
Dogs inside or outside 185 0.5 (0.2-1.3) 0.7 (0.4-1.4) 0.4 (0.2-0.8)*** 0.6 (0.3-1.2)* 0.8 (0.4-1.5) 0.8 (0.4-1.6
Current exposures
Farm abode 95 1.3 (0.4-3.9) 2.7 (1.0-6.9)*** 2.0 (0.8-5.2) 1.9 (0.7-6.6) 1.7 (0.7-4.1) 0.8 (0.2-1.7)
Regular poultry 45 2.2 (0.7-7.0) 1.5 (0.6-3.8) 0.8 (0.3-2.0) 1.0 (0.4-2.6) 0.5 (0.2-1.2) 2.8 (1.0-6.9)**
Regular pig 22 2.8 (.6-12.2) 1.0 (0.3-3.6) 0.7 (0.2-2.3) 1.6 (0.4-5.9) 0.7 (0.2-2.2) 3.3 (0.9-11.8)*
Cats inside or outside 234 0.7 (0.3-1.9) 1.0 (0.5-2.2) 1.5 (0.7-3.3) 0.9 (0.4-2.1) 2.8 (1.3-6.1)*** 1.4 (0.6-3.3)
Dogs inside or outside 214 1.5 (0.5-4.0) 1.0 (0.5-2.2) 1.6 (0.8-3.5) 1.5 (0.7-3.4) 1.3 (0.6-2.7) 2.0 (0.9-4.3)
Geomean endotoxin 0.9 (0.6-1.2) 1.0 (0.8-1.3) 0.9-0.7-1.2) 1.2 (0.9-1.5) 1.0 (0.8-1.3) 1.0 (0.8-1.3)
Diet at < 2 years
Yoghurt once or more a week 225 0.3 (0.1-0.7)*** 0.3 (0.1-0.7)*** 1.1 (0.6-2.4) 1.1 (0.4-2.3) 0.6 (90.3-1.20) 0.8(0.4-1.7)
Unpasteurized milk ever 38 1.1 (0.2-5.0) 0.3 (0.1-1.1)* 0.7 (0.2-2.4) 0.6 (0.2-0.8) 0.2 9 (0.1-2.20**) 0.6 (0.2-1.9)
Pasteurized milk once or more a day 192 1.7 (0.7-4.6) 1.5 (0.7-3.3) 1.3 (0.6-2.7) 1.1 (0.5-2.5) 1.4 (0.7-3.00) 0.8 (0.4-1.7)
Cheese once or more a week 200 2.1 (0.8-5.6) 1.3 (0.6-2.8) 1.1 ()0.6-2.4) 1.4 (0.5-3.3) 1.3 (0.6-2.7) 0.7 (0.3-1.4)

* P = < 0.10

** P = < 0.05

*** P = < 0.01

Adjusted for all variables in table, plus gender, ethnicity, mother’s education level, family history of allergic disease, family size, antibiotic use in first year, mother’s smoking in the first year and currently, coal and wood fires in the fires year and currently, having a history of measles and whooping-cough infection and current dairy food consumption.

Per unit increase in endotoxin per gram of dust.

Figures

Not Included