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  • Writer's pictureDr. David satterfield

Control What You Can


I recently came across this article entitled What Is a Host? Attributes of Individual Susceptibility by two authors from the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, & Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Albert Einstein College of Medicin.I wanted to share it with you because it is easy to forget we are exposed to thousands of pathogens a day whether they be bacteria, viruses, etc. Our body is constantly protecting us and as with social distancing, the best method is prevention. 

So if our body is so good at protecting us, why do some people get sick and some do not?


"We identify 11 attributes that, although not independent, are sufficiently distinct to be considered separately: microbiome, inoculum, sex, temperature, environment, age, chance, history, immunity, nutrition, and genetics. We use the first letter of each to create the mnemonic MISTEACHING, underscoring the need for caution in accepting dogma and attributing disease causality to any single factor."

1. "Microbiome.The use of antimicrobial drugs is known to be associated with the development of certain infectious diseases, such as colitis and candidiasis, through disruption of the host-associated microbiome"

2. "Immunity.A properly functioning immune system is essential for reducing susceptibility to many infectious diseases."

3. "Sex.The sex of a host can be a major determinant of susceptibility to infectious diseases."

4. "Temperature.Host temperature can have a major effect on host susceptibility since it can create a thermal exclusionary zone for the growth of certain microbes."

5. "Environment.The attribute of the environment includes all conditions that may influence host-microbe interaction, including vitally important entities such as nutrition, climate, crowding, hygiene, and the presence of environmental toxins."

6. "Age.Many infectious diseases are associated with high mortality at the extremes of age, while others appear to occur most commonly in young, healthy persons."

7."Chance.At a fundamental level, many natural process are stochastic, and thus the element of chance plays a role in who lives and dies."

8. "History.Two individuals can reach the same age with very different timelines, or histories."

9. "Inoculum.A major factor influencing susceptibility is the microbial inoculum, which has been known to be a determinant of the outcome of infection since the earliest days of the germ theory."

10. "Nutrition.Proper nutrition is critical for homeostasis, and nutritional deficits are likely to have protean effects on physiology, including immune function. "

11. "Genetics.The genetic makeup of the host is known to be an important determinant of host susceptibility for decades"


You can't control everything on the list and I'm positive there are many other things that increase our suspecitbility but control what you can. Our defense are cumulative so ensure you areincreasinghabits that  make you well andlimitingones that subtract from defenses. 



Sincerely, Dr. David Satterfield


Link To Original Article: https://iai.asm.org/content/86/2/e00636-17

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