Systems Theory: An Overview
Systems thinking could be conceived as the opposite of reductionism. In systems thinking the whole is the object of inquiry, not the parts. In her excellent book on the subject, General Systems Theory beginning with Wholes, Barbara Gail Hanson points out, “When we begin to see in terms of wholes rather than parts, patterns appear that a classic model of simple linear cause and effect cannot capture.” 1

Setting Up the Immune System: Perinatal Influences
The major factors influencing the development of the immune system in the perinatal period include: the parents’ health; the health, diet, drug and alcohol use of the mother during pregnancy; the type of infant feeding at breast or bottle; the child’s diet; and the use of antibiotics and vaccines. This paper presents a brief overview of the role of each of these influences, with some suggestions for maximizing immune system health.