Worried about your kids hygiene? Always keep your little ones neat and clean by not allowing them to get in touch of mud or dust? If yes, you are probably doing something wrong, the findings of a study suggests! Because, exposure to infectious microbes early in life may actually protect individuals from cardiovascular diseases that can lead to death as an adult. During the study, a group of researchers from the Northwestern University found that ultra-clean, ultra-hygienic environments early in life may contribute to higher levels of inflammation as an adult, which in turn increases risks for a wide range of diseases. So, the researchers suggests that American parents should ease up on antibacterial soap and perhaps allow their little ones a romp or two in the mud or at least a much better acquaintance with everyday germs. Are you listening?
The Northwestern study is the first research on microbial effects on inflammatory systems in infancy that relate in later life to diseases associated with aging. Most provocatively, it suggested that exposure to infectious microbes early in life may actually protect individuals from cardiovascular diseases that can lead to death as an adult and exposure to ultra-hygienic environments early in life may create great problems in adulthood.
Exposure to clean, hygienic environment may cause harm, because humans only recently have lived in such hyper-hygienic environments. The research suggests that inflammatory systems may need a higher level of exposure to common everyday bacteria and microbes to guide their development. "In other words, inflammatory networks may need the same type of microbial exposures early in life that have been part of the human environment for all of our evolutionary history to function optimally in adulthood," said researcher McDade.
"In the U.S we have this idea that we need to protect infants and children from microbes and pathogens at all possible costs. But we may be depriving developing immune networks of important environmental input needed to guide their function throughout childhood and into adulthood. Without this input, our research suggests, inflammation may be more likely to be poorly regulated and result in inflammatory responses that are overblown or more difficult to turn off once things get started," McDade added.
Read the full article here: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2009/12/germs.html