I’m Bringing Immunity Back: The Old Friends Hypothesis

Those other systems don’t know how to act…  Damn you Justin Timberlake.  I can’t help but break into song when I see the words “bringing” and “back” in the same sentence. 

But seriously. 

I’ve got the beginning of an A+ high school term paper in the making here.  Read on to be in awe of my awesome use of the “Introductory Statement.”  My high school English teacher would be proud. 

But seriously.

Since the birth of Industrialization some 100 years ago, modern society has made significant advances in business, technology, and medicine among other things.  And that’s a good thing, right?  I mean, what would we do without cars, or banks, or antibiotics?

But how much can we alter our environment before we throw the balance out of whack?

That is essentially the theory behind the Old Friends (or Hygiene) Hypothesis.  While no one wants to go back to the days of cholera, the modern preoccupation with sanitation has caused it’s own onslaught of problems.  By killing off all the worms, bugs, and germs, we have in fact  evicted our bodies’ best roommate.  You know the one that always washed the dishes and cleaned the bathtub?  Without these “dirty” parasites, we have weakened our bodies’ ability to regulate immunity.  The effects of immune dysregulation can be seen in the millions of people affected by allergies, immune, and autoimmune diseases.

So, I urge you to throw out the Purell, touch a bathroom door handle, and let your kids eat dirt every once in awhile.  Apparently it tastes pretty good.  Or at least my kid thinks so.

*Stay tuned for the next installment of “I’m Bringing Immunity Back.”  Release date TBD.

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One Response to I’m Bringing Immunity Back: The Old Friends Hypothesis

  1. Julie K says:

    Don't forget the antibactical handsoap.