Chai Digest: Jesse James, Direct Flight China Deportation and more

Dateline: Southern Namibia



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  • Shannon

    thank you for publishing this issue in Africa!

  • Thanks for featuring my article on mountains that can be summited frugally. Would love to hear about your Mt. Fuji assent!

  • Jamie

    I find the issue of rising incidence of peanut and tree nut allergies very interesting. That article, on the other hand, no new or insightful information. I guess it’s enough to get a person interested and then they could read the scientific journal articles he linked to?
    Putting aside my criticisms of that actual article, I wonder what is going to happen with peanuts. It remains true that almost do one in developing countries is allergic to peanuts. This is still consistent with the hygiene hypothesis as well as the hypothesis that rising allergies of all types are tied to the western diet. Both of those are probably true. It is now established that non-lethal exposure to peanuts reduces the incidence of the allergy: through your mother eating them while you are in the womb as well as young children eating them (as described in the article linked to), through to the work that has been done to eliminate an allergy by exposing the patient to microscopic amounts of peanut and then increasing it until the person can eat normal amounts of peanut. This makes me think that eliminating peanuts from schools while protecting allergic students in the short term (a very important goal!) will have the effect of contributing to the rise in allergies in the long term, by eliminating another ambient microscopic peanut exposure.
    I also wonder if the two types of nut allergies are linked. Since peanuts and legumes and not nuts. Yet, it seems that tree nut and peanut allergies are both rising? I’m not sure if that’s true. I wonder if the seeming rise in tree nut allergies is due to us being much more aware of allergies. I have an allergy to Brazil nuts, but I found out sort of accidentally as a teenager and no one really cared much. I just didn’t eat Brazil nuts and became sort of good at checking labels of things containing mysterious things like “mixed nuts”. Nowadays, you’d have a note in your file at school and an epipen. This is no criticism of that policy, just making the point that the tree nut allergies seem to get a lot more public exposure than they used to.
    Anyway… quite a long ramble about a subject that is fascinating to me. I thank my lucky stars that my kids are not allergic and that our school is not peanut free. They have to bring a peanut free snack, because the kids eat those outside on the playground together, but at lunch time they can have peanuts. The school just keeps the peanut lunch eaters separated from the rest. I’m not sure how they do that, but the biggest thing is probably how they drill into the kids that they can’t share food.