I’ve mentioned previously the “hygiene hypothesis”, but don’t think I’ve ever really discussed it. SEED writer Emily Anthes has a new article on the topic at the homepage.
Interesting articles (although I’m not sure the writer of the first one linked really means “microorganisms” in all cases) but they both miss what I thought was the most fascinating aspect of the work with intestinal worms. Challenges to the human immune system are one benefit, perhaps, but the fact that these worms have been shown to actively alter the response of our immune systems is the real ‘wow’ idea for me.
Carl Zimmer’s book “Parasite Rex” has a good explanation of this concept.
Interesting overview. I particularly enjoyed, “You don’t want to trade sniffles for typhoid”.
I’ve never seen the suggestion about the possible relationship to changes in diet before – this should be testable in those countries that have (comparatively recently) adopted more processed foods into their diets.
Thanks for posting to this.
Regards – Shinga
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