Are you dependent on your dishwasher? A recent study that investigated the “hygiene hypothesis”—the idea that children raised in overly sanitized environments are less likely to develop immunity to some allergens—found that kids raised in households where dishes were always washed by hand rather than in a dishwasher had half the rate of allergies; that number was further reduced if the children also ate locally grown and/or fermented foods. Although this relationship demonstrates only an association and not cause-and-effect, the researchers speculate that washing dishes by hand might leave behind some beneficial bacteria that could strengthen developing immune systems. Source: Pediatrics
Bacteria With Benefits //
A new study suggests that a common gut microbe might curb the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS)—at least in women. About half the world’s population is infected with the bacteria—Helicobacter pylori, which is usually acquired before age 2—and most of those people live in the developing world, where hygiene standards are lower and antibiotics tend to be prescribed less than they are in developed countries.
The study demonstrated that the prevalence of the infection was significantly lower in those with MS than in the comparison group, but only among women, in whom it was around 30 percent lower.
In addition, those women with MS who tested positive for the microbe seemed to be less disabled by their condition than those who tested negative for the infection.
The researchers speculate that, if this information is confirmed in other studies, it might prove the aforementioned hygiene hypothesis—the idea that childhood infections help to prime and regulate the immune system and ward off autoimmune and allergic diseases later in life. Source: The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry