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Old 03-28-2013, 02:51 PM  
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Is Modern Hygeine Making Us Weaker?

The Unintended (and Deadly) Consequences of Living in the Industrialized World

Scientists believe dirt could explain why some of the wealthiest countries suffer from afflictions rarely seen in less-developed nations

-snip-
The idea that dirt, or the lack of it, might play a role in autoimmune disease and allergy gained support along another border. In the late 1980s, Erika von Mutius was studying asthma in and around Munich. At the time, researchers thought air pollution was the cause. But after years of work, the young German researcher couldn’t clearly link Munich’s pollution and respiratory disease.

On November 9, 1989, an unusual opportunity came along: The Berlin Wall fell. For the first time since the 1940s, West Germans could conduct research in the East. Von Mutius, of Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, seized the opportunity, expanding her study to include Leipzig, a city of 520,000 deep in East Germany.

The countryside around Leipzig was home to polluting chemical plants and was pocked with open-pit coal mines; many residents heated their apartments with coal-burning ovens. It was a perfect experiment: Two groups of children with similar genetic backgrounds, divided by the Iron Curtain into dramatically different environments. If air pollution caused asthma, Leipzig’s kids should be off the charts.

Working with local doctors, von Mutius studied hundreds of East German schoolchildren. “The results were a complete surprise,” von Mutius says. “In fact, at first we thought we should re-enter the data.” Young Leipzigers had slightly lower rates of asthma than their Bavarian counterparts—and dramatically less hay fever, a pollen allergy.
-snip-

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/scienc...tml?c=y&page=2
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:52 PM   #2
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Do you have a more recent study than " late 80's" ?
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theelusiveeightrop View Post
Do you have a more recent study than " late 80's" ?
Read the article, that's a small segment of it.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:55 PM   #4
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by listopencil View Post
Read the article, that's a small segment of it.
Sorry. Don't have time. My bad.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:57 PM   #6
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theelusiveeightrop View Post
Sorry. Don't have time. My bad.
No biggie. I just posted that section because it was the part that best summarized what the article was about IMO.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:59 PM   #8
theelusiveeightrop theelusiveeightrop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by listopencil View Post
No biggie. I just posted that section because it was the part that best summarized what the article was about IMO.
BTW I love PM.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:03 PM   #9
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We need more pollution. Pollution makes us strong.


There was a funny episode of The Office about this. Dwight was arguing that exposure to germs strengthened the immune system, so everyone was exposing him to germs. At one point, I laughed audibly when Jim leaned over and intentionally sneezed on Dwight's sandwich at lunch.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:05 PM   #10
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The body adapts, so living in a more 'sterile' environment could lead to the weakening of the body's defenses.

or

it could be that all the man-made crap out there is getting more advanced and screwing us up.

or

a little of both


The reality is that we know remarkably little about even our own bodies.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:22 PM   #11
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I've always believed in the sewer rat philosophy. I'm not overly concerned with germs, I'll eat almost anything that hit the floor, I treat my body like a sewer rat, and my immune system is better off.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I've always believed in the sewer rat philosophy. I'm not overly concerned with germs, I'll eat almost anything that hit the floor, I treat my body like a sewer rat, and my immune system is better off.
I'm the same way. I cut my apples with the same pocket knife that I gut fish with. I generally wipe it with water and the end of my t shirt. My wife is appalled, but I don't generally get sick.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:50 PM   #13
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this is known as the 'hygiene hypothesis.' it's one reason that we may see more autoimmune diseases, more crohn's disease (not exactly an autoimmune disease, but it fits part of the definition), etc.

interesting idea, really. there's a lot of evidence and it makes a ton of sense.
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:14 PM   #14
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I eat just a tiny bit of poop every day, just to make sure my gizzards have a robust bacterial life...
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:31 PM   #15
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Excellent.
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