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Chlamydia pneumoniae and the “Dutch Hypothesis”

David L. Hahn, MD, MS
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Madison, WI
 ,  Dr. Hahn is a member of the Department of Family Practice, Dean Medical Center, and Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin Medical School.

Correspondence to: David L. Hahn, MD, Arcand Park Clinic, 3434 E Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53704-4155; e-mail: dlhahn@facstaff.wisc.edu



Chest. 2002;122(5):1510-1512. doi:10.1378/chest.122.5.1510
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Extract

One argument casting doubt on the validity of early epidemiologic studies associating smoking with lung cancer was the nonspecificity of the association. Since smoking also was linked to a variety of other airway diagnoses such as chronic bronchitis and COPD, critics argued initially that the associations with smoking were too nonspecific to be causal. Chlamydia pneumoniae, a ubiquitous intracellular human respiratory pathogen with a propensity to produce chronic infection, has likewise been associated with many respiratory and nonrespiratory conditions, from Alzheimer disease to asthma, casting doubt on specificity and, hence, casting doubt on the likelihood of causation. Thus, it is interesting to read an epidemiologic report that finds no association with one class of conditions (the metabolic syndrome) yet confirms and extends a previously reported association with another class (chronic respiratory illness).

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