Thursday, June 24, 2010

No Child (or Adult) Left Inside!

As happy as a pig in s___.

Guess what, that phrase has meaning deeper than might at first appear, and not nearly so perjorative.

You might not have heard of the "hygiene hypothesis," but I recommend you do a search of this term on, which is a very discerning search engine. In essence, we are raising our kids and living our own lives in a controlled environment far too clean for our own good health. It seems that our immune systems fail to properly develop and mature when not challenged in childhood and along the path in life to microbes. The consequence is pretty severe, a litany of autoimmune diseases, including arthritis, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and, for some cases, depression.

I recommend particularly a survey of scientific literature by immunologist Graham Rook, "Review series on helminths, immune modulation and the hygiene hypothesis: The broader implications of the hygiene hypothesis."

The particularly interesting suggestion is that a class of clinical depression in human beings arises from a faulty immune reaction in the body. Dr. Rook suggests that exposures to the kind of organisms that rot wood could stimulate a positive immune reaction that would support mood improvements.

So again, perhaps we just don't have enough exposure to that good dark rotting stuff, the kind of stuff that pigs are known to wallow in.

You may have stumbled into the education/environment based initiative "No Child Left Inside," a play on the No Child Left Behind slogan. It now is more important than we had originally expected. The proliferation of childhood asthma may very well be from too little environmental contaminants, rather than too much.

I guess pigs know something that human beings, in their air-conditioned coccoons have forgotten. To be our happiest, we need to go out and find some soil to play in.

No comments:

Post a Comment