A Little Dirt Could Actually Be a Good Thing:
Championing the emerging field of being as Drrrty as possible, model citizens like Carmen Electra, Paris Hilton and Christina Aguilera may actually be on to something.
In a recent study by Duke researchers, it was shown that wild rats which are exposed to microbes have much higher levels of two antibodies than lab rats.
The difference in the two groups was as low as +2x and as high as +11.5x.
More Dirt = More Microbes, More Antibodies:
So for now, scientists have evidence to suggest that though you shouldn’t ditch your apartment to go live in the sewer, a little dirt might not be such a bad thing after all.
With almost 50 million Allergy and Asthma sufferers in the United States alone, scientists have been wondering if industrialized western civilization is missing something and a Victim of its own success.
—Enter the “Hygiene Hypothesis”:
-Which states that modern western life is too hygenic, esp. during childhood, there are immune system consequences to over-urbanization.
-And that this is where many allergies and autoimmune diseases get their foothold in our lives.
A few examples of Autoimmune Diseases that may be involved are Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
-An autoimmune disease is when an overactive immune system attacks some tissues of the body.
In addition to the Duke research, some early studies between American healthcare workers and rural farmers in Rwanda showed increased antibodies in the farmers.
It’s All About Giving Your Little Soldiers A Good Enemy To Fight:
—The second, or core part of the “Hygiene Hypothesis” is that there are many naturally-occurring nonlethal microbes in soil, on plants, and possibly animals.
And exposure to them gets our immune system going and keeps the levels of those antibodies chronically high, which strengthens it.
A Chronic, Mild, “Battle-Stations!” Keeps Targeting Computers Aimed Correctly:
After this, the immune system seems almost “Prepared” for irritants and *Doesn’t Overreact* with all the collateral issues associated.
One example of things going wrong is a reactive overproduction of histamine and the inflammation that goes with it.
And because it’s got an easily-beatable constant-target, it also keeps going after the Right stuff, and not You, the host.
Science Is Asking How To Make A New Kind Of Magic Pill:
–The next level? Posed by the Imperial College of London, where scientists are asking: “What specific dirt and environment is ideal to strengthening the immune system?
And is there a way to mimic those effects in a modern environment without actually getting all the little diseases?”
–Is there a way to retain the benefits of the medical revolution, (~1850-present) but get back those we’ve lost from having a healthy connection with the earth (4mil BC ~>1914)?
We Evolved Close To The Soil. That’s Where The Solution Is:
(Although it’s hinted at, but never overtly stated, the ideal environment for immune strengthening seems to be a general-purpose organic farm.)
–Perhaps a set of farm-like soil microbes will be identified and encapsulated for repeated intake to keep us in fighting shape. There might even be ailments resolved from the inside out in a general as opposed to specific fashion, kind of the inverse of a Benadryl.
Strangely-enough, there are some other reports that children who grew up either on, or close-to farms, getting dirty and doing kid stuff like playing in the mud have fewer allergies and autoimmune problems when they grow up.
Again, the wisdom seems to be in the Earth…
Antibodies. IgG is involved in autoimmune diseases. IgE is involved in allergic reactions, fighting parasites and early reaction to cancer.
Parasites in animals can raise IgE levels.
Nothing was said about the Lifespan of both rodent groups. -Of course, the immune systems of the dead sewer rats were not measured as they were unavailable for comment.
Check out the rest of the geeky details at the Links:
“Cold Beer, Dirty Girls”, by Sp!ke
“Dirty Girls”, by leliebloem
• Source NewScientist-The dirty truth about allergies
• More Coverage: IC London-Allergies | Wiki-IgE | Wiki-IgG | Histamine
• Source Studies:
• SD-Disconnection of man and the soil: Reason for the asthma and atopy epidemic?
• SJI-Increased Levels of IgE and Autoreactive, Polyreactive IgG in Wild Rodents: Implications for the Hygiene Hypothesis