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Babies Know: A Little Dirt Is Good for You


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Calliope
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« on: January 27, 2009, 10:06:33 pm »

Babies Know: A Little Dirt Is Good for You

By JANE E. BRODY
Published: January 26, 2009

Ask mothers why babies are constantly picking things up from the floor or ground and putting them in their mouths, and chances are they’ll say that it’s instinctive — that that’s how babies explore the world. But why the mouth, when sight, hearing, touch and even scent are far better at identifying things?

When my young sons were exploring the streets of Brooklyn, I couldn’t help but wonder how good crushed rock or dried dog droppings could taste when delicious mashed potatoes were routinely rejected.

Since all instinctive behaviors have an evolutionary advantage or they would not have been retained for millions of years, chances are that this one too has helped us survive as a species. And, indeed, accumulating evidence strongly suggests that eating dirt is good for you.

In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma.

These studies, along with epidemiological observations, seem to explain why immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergies have risen significantly in the United States and other developed countries.

Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/health/27brod.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2009, 10:47:31 pm »

 :oOMG you mean I have healthy, non asthmatic kids because I am a less than spotless house keeper who never stressed over a bit of dirt? Wink
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