Dirt: It’s What’s for Supper

Sorry for the delay; in the past couple of days I have both moved houses and started grad school, and both activities have predictably taken up a lot of my time.

I wanted to make a comment on the brief statement I made a week or so ago about sterile environments contributing tho the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I heard a brief interview on the radio this morning about the massive increase in allergies among school-age children of late. One of the theories that is currently being tested to explain this increase is that the increasingly sterile environments that children grow up in nowadays is leading to poorly-developed, “spoiled” immune systems. While part of this phenomenon is a result of antibacterial cleaning products, studies have also indicated correlations between prevalence of allergic diseases and tight seals around doors and windows, household pets, farm animals, and the number of siblings in a household, among other things. These all seem to indicate that a dirty environment is an ideal environment to grow up in with respect to the likelihood of developing immune diseases (see here for some interesting references if you're willing to search).

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