Is there scientific evidence that suppression of acute diseases in childhood induce chronic diseases in the future?

Homeopathy. 2002 Oct;91(4):207-16. doi: 10.1054/homp.2002.0050.


Seeking to understand the individual in his symptomatic totality has been an aim of homeopathy since its beginning. Throughout its history, homeopaths have been concerned that inadequate treatment of acute diseases in childhood may lead to future chronic diseases. Hahnemann cautioned that by treating acute diseases with allopathic medicine, with strong doses of drugs, or suppressing local symptoms of those diseases, would increase the risk of future chronic diseases. Burnett proposed the theory of vaccinosis and warned of chronic manifestations subsequent to smallpox vaccination. French homeopaths, seeking the physiopathological origin of chronic diseases, correlated it to the abnormal reaction of the reticuloendothelial system (RES). Through the study of experimental pathology, Maffei attributed symptomatic manifestations to the imbalance between the immunological phenomena of allergy and immunity. He termed the sensitizing and pathogenic effects of medications and vaccines, 'metallergy' and 'parallergy', respectively. The hygiene hypothesis is based on evidence that the imbalance of immunological response in childhood, specifically among the Th1 and Th2 lymphocyte subpopulations, is responsible for the development of some allergic and chronic diseases in the future. The deranging factor for the predisposition to future allergic response (Th2) is the obstruction of natural manifestations of infectious diseases (Th1 response) in young children. Homeopathic treatment aims to equilibrate vital reaction, corresponding to an integrative physiological response, it may regulate Th1/Th2 imbalance. However, clinical trials to support this hypothesis are lacking.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease*
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Homeopathy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology