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Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Posted by samzenpus
from the snack-is-going-to-be-on-the-floor-today dept.
Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

*

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Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child

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  • by shentino (1139071)

    It could be that the process of cleansing is itself stressful to the skin when carried to excess.

    Or it could be that the skin germs do a good job of "crowding out" the bad germs by hogging all the skin.

    • Re:nt (Score:5, Informative)

      by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @07:04PM (#30220902) Homepage Journal

      It could be that the process of cleansing is itself stressful to the skin when carried to excess.

      This has been understood for at least several decades.

      When I was in college, back in the late 60s and early 70s, a doctor diagnosed my dry, cracked skin and ongoing rashes as the result of too many showers. He recommended only one or two showers a week, with the qualification that any heavy exercise that produced sweating could probably be followed by a shower. I tried following his advice, and the problems cleared up. His explanation is that soap doesn't just clear away dirt and micro-organisms; it also removes surface skin cells and destroys oils, and this isn't too good for the skin.

      This whole story is basically just reaffirming what has been understood in the medical community for a long time. As with most other biological topics, extremes in cleanliness aren't especially good for your health. You're better off being mostly clean, but with a small surface sprinkling of the sort of stuff that we evolved with. Soapy water does the same thing to your skin cells as it does to the bacteria. Your skin cells to have mechanisms (proteins) that bind them together, so they don't wash away all that easily. But your skin does succumb eventually to the same chemical attacks that remove the bacteria, if you hit it with too strong an attack.

      • Re:nt (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DJRumpy (1345787) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @09:49PM (#30222194)

        The article says specifically what they are referring to. From TFA:

        "The San Diego-based team discovered that normal bacteria that live on the skin trigger a pathway that helps prevent inflammation when we get hurt.

        These bugs dampen down overactive immune responses which can cause cuts and grazes to swell, or lead to rashes, according to research published in the online edition of Nature Medicine."

        It is also a well known mechanism that is the primary method in vaccines, where the immune system is primed for something before hand so that it can recognize it later as a thread and respond accordingly. If someone is exposed to a lot of these viruses and bacteria at a young age, it follows that they might have a stronger or more rapid immune response later on.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by si618 (263300)

        His explanation is that soap doesn't just clear away dirt and micro-organisms; it also removes surface skin cells and destroys oils, and this isn't too good for the skin.

        Our son used to get skin problems (dry, rashes), we stopped using soap and just went with water and facecloth for shower or bath. Problems gone.

        That being said, I work on infection control software and as a result am pretty fussy about washing hands after going to the toilet and before eating meals.

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        He recommended only one or two showers a week

        Ah yes, the basement nerds favorite diagnosis. "I'm not a smelly slob, I have a medical condition!"

      • I would like to point out that I have very dry skin as well, but what I figured out is that it is a factor of actual hydration, as I am normally very active, I need to drink lots of fluids (I say fluids because I'm a gatorade in my camelback nut) but more important is that showers really really REALLY hurt your skin, especially when you like em long and hot. I forced myself to learn to love cold showers, and now my skin is much better. Also, since I'm active and am frequently outdoors, its not a problem for
    • It could be that the process of cleansing is itself stressful to the skin when carried to excess.

      Yes, indeed. Specially dry skin in winter can be associated with way too much cleaning.
      1 shower a day is good (*).
      washing hands every 10 minute interval during the whole day is not.

      (*) unless combination of factors like hard water, and sensitive skin, in which case even a single daily shower would require using body milk or something similar.

      Or it could be that the skin germs do a good job of "crowding out" the bad germs by hogging all the skin.

      Yes, indeed.
      It's one of the reason people can catch secondary infection (from fungi like Candida) when exposed to too broad antibiotics.

      And we could add a third cause :

      • by DrYak (748999) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @07:25PM (#30221112) Homepage

        Also another related advantage :

        It might get the kid exposed to parasite.
        Not only does the kid get preventive antibodies ready to be used in case of real parasites invasion (just like with bacteria as in the above explanation), it might as well diminish risks of allergy.

        As far as the hypothesis goes :

        - People exposed to parasite :
        100% of them make adapted anti-bodies (IgE) and prepares mast-cells, ready to use in case of real parasite invasion.

        - People never exposed to parasite :

        In most of people :
        nothing happens, the part of the immune system responsible for parasite response (IgE antibodies and mast cells) just sits idle.
        No allergy happens.

        In unlucky people with genetic predispositions :
        out of "bordom" is it doesn't have anything else to do, the system start to attack random mostly innocent stuff, which are just mildly irritating but have nothing to do with actual parasites.
        The body creates IgE targeted toward food or to animals' saliva, and has mast-call equipped against that.

        Unlike a real parasite (which is an animal, and thus can only exist in a single point of the body - well, ok : unless it's two specimen, in which case they are in 2 points, but you got the main idea), the target substance is soluble or is a liquide and can diffuse across the whole body.
        Thus the Mast-cell don't react only locally at the single point(s) where the paraiste(s) is/are, but react everywhere in the body, creating systemic symptoms => allergic reactions.

        This might get really dangerous, because the whole parasite reaction cascade (like dilating blood vessel and lowering blood-pression) was never designed to happen everywhere at the same time => anaphylaxis.

  • How is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by XPeter (1429763) * on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:09PM (#30220280) Homepage

    For years it's been known that kids from third world countries usually don't suffer from auto-immune diseases and things akin because of the sickly environment they are exposed too. It's simple, if you live constantly with the risk of infection your body will build up a stronger immune system than someone who lives in a bubble.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:15PM (#30220372)
      Or the ones susceptible to auto-immune diseases die at such a young age that they are never counted or seen in the data.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheCarp (96830)

        I would expect that this would place a strong selective pressure on immune function. As such, I would think that you would expect the trend to continue in the children of families from such areas and transplanted them into a cleaner culture.

        I also would expect that this is the sort of question a good study would ask, and attempt to select participants such that they would be able to remove such an effect from their data. (which is not to say they did, just that a proper study would try to do that)

        -Steve

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          I would expect that this would place a strong selective pressure on immune function. As such, I would think that you would expect the trend to continue in the children of families from such areas and transplanted them into a cleaner culture.

          Which sounds like a great argument in favor of mail-order brides - if you want healthy kids, get yourself a dirty woman. Or something like that...

    • by Spatial (1235392)
      I also read about this years ago.

      I practically never get sick and I have no known allergies. As a child, I dug in mud, I explored forests, I ate earth and worms and all kinds of crap. Perhaps that's the reason.
      • by jcr (53032)

        I dug my share of holes in the yard too, but I still have allergies. I don't tend to get colds or flu very often, though. Maybe once in ten years.

        -jcr

        • Ditto. I played outside, dug in the dirt, went fishing, fought bathing. My allergies manifested before I even had a chance to do that stuff, though (I was ~two when I started getting allergy shots). Maybe I should blame my mom for not getting filthy enough.
      • by snaz555 (903274) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @07:13PM (#30220980)

        I practically never get sick and I have no known allergies. As a child, I dug in mud, I explored forests, I ate earth and worms and all kinds of crap. Perhaps that's the reason.

        So did I - spent time in the local woods, swam in the lakes, jumped in every muddy puddle to be seen, played out in the rain, and whatnot. I'm still allergic to cats, some detergents, and natural rubber (latex, avocado). This was in the mid 70s, and people had allergies then just like today. It's just the bar was much higher and people didn't really consider it an allergy unless they were likely to go into shock or develop serious symptoms. A little spring sniffle caused by pollen wasn't really hay fever unless it caused breathing difficulties or made your eyes puff up so bad you couldn't see. Anything else just wasn't bothered with and parents would tell their kids, "yeah it's just a little spring pollen, now go to school."

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by eyrieowl (881195)

          Hear, hear! It's far too often left unsaid when people talk about the "epidemic" of allergies that the numbers might very well have changed a great deal because the category has become more inclusive. I wonder that about some other "spectrum" disorders as well...autism springs to mind. Are there more sufferers? Or by coming up with broader criteria for the category have we simply made the numbers get larger? I haven't seen (although I haven't exhaustively looked) a good analysis which addresses that fa

          • Re:How is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

            by c6gunner (950153) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @10:12PM (#30222348)

            As far as autism goes, the accepted explanation in the medical community is that the rates are increasing because the categories are being redefined to include more symptoms, and because more patients are being checked for it than in the past. It's only the anti-vaccine nutters who are latching on to they hypothesis that the actual incidence rates are going up.

    • by fredklein (532096)

      Wasn't this on last weeks House episode?

      • by 4D6963 (933028)

        It was. The guy's immune system was dependant on parasitic worms in his stomach to keep his weak immune system on alert, or something like that. Yeah, not only not news but also explained in a popular drama series on TV.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by indi0144 (1264518)
      >>For years it's been known that kids from third world countries usually don't suffer from auto-immune diseases and things akin because of the sickly environment they are exposed too. It's simple, if you live constantly with the risk of infection your body will build up a stronger immune system than someone who lives in a bubble.

      It's not even related to a harsh environment assuming you think 100.00% of the third world it's like elbonia. I was born very premature, very weak and with an immune system pr
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:11PM (#30220306)

    My kid must be immortal!

  • old news? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:11PM (#30220320)

    My mother told me this 20 years ago, this is like household wisdom.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by HBoar (1642149)

      It also seems like common sense too. Makes sense to me that out bodies would have evolved to cope with whatever 'dirt' we were normally exposed to. Homo Sapiens did not come about in a time where everything was wiped with detol before use. It disgusts me how many TV ads there are now telling mothers they need to disinfect absolutely everything in their homes. Kids are filthy, that's how they're supposed to be!

      Seems to work for adults too -- I live in a dirty student flat that gets cleaned about once a y

    • Re:old news? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by chrisG23 (812077) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @08:21PM (#30221552)
      It seems to have been forgotten. I don't know if its because my parents immigrated from another country, but they have a different view on health than the average American. Growing up, medicine from the pharmacy was the last resort to treat anything, with some important exceptions.

      If I had a headache, lay down, don't read or play a video game, go to sleep if you can, wait it out.

      A stomach ache - Some toast and tea, and then see if you can go poopie.

      Sore throat - My mom makes this stuff out of egg yolks, lemon and sugar. Maybe its a placebo. Also, every blue moone she would aslo give me a half shot or quarter shot of this high proof plum brandy/whiskey, "to kill the gems"

      A cold - Hot tea, garlic toast, bedrest.

      Chest congestion - Vicks vapor-rub type hing applied to my chest left on overnight.

      When things were real bad, like being sick and not getting better, or having high fevers, then I would go to the doctor, get examined, and be given penicillin. Thats about the only thing I got regularly as a child.

      Flash forward to adulthood. I am 30 now. I haven't been sick since I was 23 or 24, and before that it was some time in high school. I don't get seasonal flus. I don't get colds. I get a headache two or three times a year. I get a runny nose a few times a year (usually at the same time people are getting really sick with whatever is going around at the moment). I get sore throats and congestion, but I'm never sure if that is the cigarette smoking or something else.

      All in all, for someone that does not live a particularly healthy lifestyle, I'm doing pretty damn good. Knock on wood.

      One more thing, home cooked food was the norm, eating out was the exception. Soup almost every day. Lots of vegetables, lots of weird tasting/smelling vegetables. I'm also not allergic to anything that I know of.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I don't get seasonal flus. I don't get colds. I get a headache two or three times a year. I get a runny nose a few times a year (usually at the same time people are getting really sick with whatever is going around at the moment). I get sore throats and congestion, but I'm never sure if that is the cigarette smoking or something else.

        I was the same way until 6 month ago when I quit smoking. I thought that with my superior immune system, and new healthier lifestyle I was pretty much a lock to never get sick

      • Re:old news? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Urza9814 (883915) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @08:51PM (#30221800)

        Eh, it has nothing to do with where you're from. My family is pretty much the same way, and I'm at least a 4th generation American. We don't even own a themometer. My opinion is that your body hurts for a reason, and taking pills to mask the symptoms is only going to make you unaware when you're hurting it more. I caught the flu a couple weeks ago from my girlfriend, and the strongest medicine I used was some Asprin, and only because my joints were aching too much to sleep. Other than that I just took lots of tea, crackers, and juice.

        And on the other end of the spectrum you have my girlfriend - the one who gave me the flu. She gets these extremely powerful antibiotics ('z-pak') prescribed for _anything_. Even just a light cold. She always says they must work, because it's a 5 day treatment and by the end of the 5 days she feels better. But of course, it's a cold. It's only gonna last 5 days anyway. She also takes three Motrin damn near every morning, and wakes up with a headache every other day. And she uses hand sanitizer several times a day. Basically, she's _always_ sick. She's the most fragile person I know. And her parents are the same way. I blame it on the fact that her family is very wealthy - like, her aunt is 'rent a private jet to fly up to Nantucket for a few weeks' wealthy. Her parents go to Hawaii every year. They could afford to watch their child constantly and enforce 'good hygiene' 24/7. And with their status in society they can't ever been seen as being dirty. Plus it's easy for them to get meds - they call up their good family friend and he calls in the order to the nearest pharmacy. It's just too easy for them to be super clean all the time and assume modern medicine can take care of anything. And ads for products like Purell and Lysol certainly don't help any.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ajlitt (19055)

          What kind of irresponsible doctor writes your girlfriend a prescription for a Z-Pak with those symptoms?

      • Do you have kids in school? That's the ticket to catching every bug that passes through town.

    • My mother told me this 20 years ago, this is like household wisdom.

      You are correct, but without evidence, it has remained somewhat anecdotal. I know several parents who completely protect and shield their kids from everything and have wondered why they get sick so easy.... They didn't accept the anecdotal evidence, but maybe now they will accept the scientific evidence.

  • by overshoot (39700) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:12PM (#30220324)
    Same basic theme as the "hygeine hypothesis" that exposure to soil bacteria plays an important role in causing the immune system to deemphasize inflammatory responses and rely more on cell-mediated immunity. In particular, it's been invoked to account for ectopic disease and asthma.
    • Human beings are well adapted to most common bacteria, adjusting immune responses to a ancient equalibrium created by evolution. The problem is that we haven't had time to adapt to antibacterial soap, everything we eat carefully sanitized, and constant cleanliness.

      I'm increasingly convinced that a healthy diet reflects eating habits established tens of thousands of years ago.
    • by fermion (181285)
      What scares me is the rise in the use of sanitizing lotions and sprays. I believe the limited use of these to clean households and the like is what has caused the rise in allergies and relative decline in natural defenses Imagine what an entire generation raised with the constant killing of germs, beneficial and otherwise, is going to look like. They are going to have to live in freaking bubbles. We already can't have peanuts around because some maladapated child might die. What is next? Real vegetables
  • Corollary (Score:5, Funny)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:12PM (#30220334) Journal
    And the corollary is... a dirty old man is a healthy old man.

    This is why I plan on mounting mirrors and/or cameras on both my cane and my shoetips.

    This is why, as an old man, I will take a volunteer job on a college campus somewhere in Florida.

    This is why, as an old man, I plan to be a huge supporter of high school sports, standing on the sidelines with my hands in my pockets.

    I don't want to die, and if being a dirty old man is what it takes, then so be it.
  • Anecdote time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:13PM (#30220346)
    A friend of mine teaches at a primary school. She has noticed the kids from the "bad side" of town may have other problems but bizarre allergies aren't one of them. In contrast, the kids with nut allergies, pollen allergies, etc. are the ones from upper class neighborhoods with an obsessive focus on cleanliness - they get sent to school with little bottles of purell in their knapsacks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by buswolley (591500)
      My mother was raised on a farm. Dirt. and more dirt. My mother has horrible and debilitating allergies. I counter your anecdotal with my anecdotal.
  • Damn right! (Score:2, Funny)

    by chaynlynk (1523701)
    Because of this, I will continue to not wash my hands, ever.
  • Knew This For Years (Score:3, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:15PM (#30220364) Journal

    Of course nobody listened to me, and I doubt anyone will listen to this study either. They'll just keep cleaning their kid.

    Likewise exposing your kid to lots of allergens (like pollen, grass, et cetera) can prevent allergies as the body learns to ignore these things. Even in adulthood the body can be "trained" to allergens through frequent exposure.

    • Likewise exposing your kid to lots of allergens (like pollen, grass, et cetera) can prevent allergies as the body learns to ignore these things.

      Other hypothesis are that it's the exposition to *parasites* that keeps the IgE/mast-cell system busy as it was intended in the first place.
      This avoids that it starts attacking harmless stuff like food or animal secretion, in unlucky people which have a genetic predisposition to allergies (i.e: hyperactive immune system which gets easily bored and which can't stand staying idle)

  • by SoupGuru (723634)
    What else can we do to rid ourselves of the helicopter parent phenomenon?
  • Geez! I have always said that in order to keep the immune and other systems working, they have to be used and worked. HOWEVER, it would also be stupid to overdo it as well. Keeping one's immune system overly burdened and busy could possibly cause some other sort of breakdown or failure just as the systems in the body that process sugars tend to break when overloaded. We call that diabetes don't we?

    So yes, don't keep the kids sterilized. But don't immerse them in crap either. That's just stupid.

    • by RJFerret (1279530)

      So yes, don't keep the kids sterilized. But don't immerse them in crap either. That's just stupid.

      Actually, there was a report [innovations-report.com] a few years ago showing children raised on farms were less prone to allergies than those raised in fertilizer-less environs.

      Bring on the crap.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I have two kids in daycare and I bike to work. (Biking gets mud and puddle water on my face regularly.) I also SCUBA dive, and we don't treat our sewage here. (Primary screening, but no secondary treatment.)

      I eat in pubs, work out at the Y, hardly ever wash out my water bottle, and I just licked my keyboard.

      Mortal germs can't live in here.

    • by sowth (748135) *

      Yes. Especially with food. HUS [wikipedia.org] is caused by E. coli. Not good to have. It can cause kidney failure.

      In fact, I suspect I may have had HUS as a kid. My parents were not very good about food safety and force fed me undercooked meat on a regular basis. I got food poisoning quite a bit. By the time I was six or so, I knew to avoid any meat which was pink inside, though my parents would insist I eat it anyway. Probably why I was physically weak as a teenager and adult. May have damaged my kidneys as well.

      • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @08:07PM (#30221480) Homepage

        I love rare meat. There is probably more to it than just that.

        People think, for whatever reason, that being cold is the reason they would catch a cold...virus. They continue thinking so in spite of the common knowledge that one can catch a cold in 100+ degree temperatures in the day. Some things such as colder temperatures can and will put the body's systems under stress, but if you are reasonably healthy, you will likely be fine and be able to resist a cold virus.

        With that said, meats that have been mishandled will tend to contain bacteria that could lead to food poisoning. Completely raw meat that has been handled carefully will never lead to food poisoning. In the past, the act of cooking food was a means to rid it of any infectious diseases or to otherwise make it edible. Today cooking still serves that purpose but is also something of an art form in which cooking with heat is varied and handled in a wide variety of ways. It is well known that sashimi meats from a variety of sources including beef is fairly common. My point is that it is actually the handling of the food that leads to problems with food and that proper handling can prevent many of the problems that cooking with heat are there to resolve.

        I feel pretty sure that my discussion here will not change your mind as a great deal of your belief is based on illness and other bad experiences from childhood and those tend to run pretty deep in the psyche. (This is why it's pretty hard to convince most religious people that modern day religions are no different from any other and are especially similar to even the most silly sounding myths.) But since you are here on Slashdot, there is a pretty good chance you have a rational and logical core and will analyze the obvious facts before you.

        With all that said, I am not suggesting you eat raw beef from a local grocery store. Some grocery stores have REALLY good meat departments.... others do not. You really have to know what you are getting into when it comes to meat -- it is still an extremely risky food when compared to others.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ceoyoyo (59147)

          "I love rare meat. There is probably more to it than just that."

          It depends on the meat. Chicken has to be cooked thoroughly because salmonella can live in the meat. Steak is meant to be raw on the inside, but must be seared on the outside because some meat packer probably dropped the thing so e. coli could be living on the surface. Ground meat should be cooked through because some meat packer probably dropped it, ground it up (thoroughly mixing the bacteria in) and then dropped it again for good measure.

      • by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @09:08PM (#30221906)

        My parents were not very good about food safety and force fed me undercooked meat on a regular basis.

        Perhaps they were trying to get rid of you. Its just a thought.

  • (A) dirty ___(fill in blank)___ is (a) healthy ___(fill in blank)___.

    1. sex
    2. old man

    Any others?

    • Clean mind
    • Clean body
    • Take your pick
  • Carlin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rainmaestro (996549) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:27PM (#30220518)

    George Carlin said it best
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnmMNdiCz_s [youtube.com]

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @06:28PM (#30220536)

    . . . front porch.

    When I dump it on those damn kids, they get off my lawn, without me saying a word . . .

    . . . and I'm doing something good for their health.

    Hey, maybe this a good idea for the new government health plan.

    Lady: "Doctor, my kid needs antibiotics!"

    Doctor: "Sorry, lady . . . have some mud."

  • Just a week or two ago, that was the subject of the tv show House. Hooray for science following up on the media!

    • by Dun Malg (230075)
      Science was already "there" for years before the dumbfucks who write for House even wrote that episode. Where do you think they got the idea, from doing medical research in their spare time? Those fucks are stupid enough to write a story where a "genius" continuously drinks fucking Robitussen to "make himself stupid", when anyone who's actually fairly inteligent and has drunk Robo "recreationally" knows it doesn't work like that. It's a partially debilitating semi-halucinogen, and does nothing to alleviate
  • It is good to see some additional research confirming the hypothesis that too clean an environment is hazardous for the health of kids.

  • by Beowulf_Boy (239340) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @07:08PM (#30220928)

    I'm not a "dirty" person, but I also don't wash my hands all the time (of course I do after taking a crap, but thats a bit different).

    Antibacterial soaps have only landed us in more trouble, since the bacteria left are resistant to them. I do like the idea of the new alcohol based cleaners though, since they aren't antibacterial.

    I don't stress out about making sure my pork is cooked all the way through, I don't scrub down my kitchen with bleach every day, and I also never get sick.
    Compare this to others I know that are neat freaks, and tend to get really sick a few times a year and seem to get horribly sick every time they eat something a bit off. I've eaten the same shitty chinese food or tacos as someone else and while they were getting violently ill and had the shits for a few days, I didn't feel a thing.

    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      I don't even use soap, I just wash my hands with water, except when I do the dishes or have a shower. What's the point of using soap again? No seriously, why do we tell people to wash their hands with soap?

      Living the bachelor lifestyle and I never get sick.. when I was a teenager I was a neat freak (the 'take your toothbrush to school' kind) and I'd get the flu with hallucinations-inducing fevers. Granted your immune system is supposed to be stronger as an adult, and not going to school you mix up with le

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Macrat (638047)

        ...I'd get the flu with hallucinations-inducing fevers.

        Really mom! I'm not high! I have a hallucination inducing fever!

      • What's the point of using soap again?

        Traditional soaps? To break down the bond between the dirt and your skin (or other surface), making it easier to remove. Which means instead of all that dirt being left on your hands or having to waste a few extra liters of water, you can scrub for far less time with a bit of soap.

        Soap is not there to kill the germs, it's there to make it easier to get them off your hands and into the sink's drain.

        Soaps are useful for cleaning because soap molecules have both a h
    • by markass530 (870112) <markass530@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @07:33PM (#30221184) Homepage
      George carlin said it best "You know when I wash my hands after I use the bathroom? When I piss or crap on them, which is 2, 3 times a week tops.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ChrisMaple (607946)
        Urine is usually pretty clean from a bacterial standpoint; you want to get it off your hands mostly because it smells bad and stains fabrics. (Rinsing is adequate.) But the whole crotch is damp and warm, an ideal place for the development of bacteria. Guys should clean their hands after urinating because they've touched an area rich in bacteria that like to live on humans, and spreading it to another person isn't very nice.
  • So how long until some clown patents getting muddy?

    They'll be selling us carefully crafted biologically active dirt before too long.

    This reminds me of when somebody discovered that a lot of the extra mobility you find in elderly Japanese people compared to Americans could be attributed to their frequent walks outside on uneven surfaces. Being the silly fools that we are, American medicine's answer wasn't the obvious "take walks outside."

    No. Somebody invented a stupid mat with fake plastic cobblestones on to

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @07:13PM (#30220978)

    Speaking as a 35 year old who regularly played in the dirt during my childhood, I'd have to anecdotally agree with this study. As and adult, I get sick about once ever four or five years.

    However, much like sports training or academic studying, work + rest = results. Anyone who trains without rest will eventually over-train and become weaker. The same can be applied to studying, and most likely the the immune system.

    Being exposed to mud may be good for the immune system, but I suspect being filthy 24 hours a day isn't. Let your child get as muddy as he/she wants to be, but at the end of the day, clean up and get a good night's rest to allow the body to repair and build.

  • realization (Score:2, Funny)

    by ascari (1400977)
    It is suddenly clear to me: My mother wanted me dead!
  • I was tempered in raw sewage!
  • by JuzzFunky (796384) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @08:01PM (#30221438)
    I find the more bugs I introduce at the start of the project, the better the users are at dealing with bugs later on...
  • real data available (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cinnamon colbert (732724) on Tuesday November 24, 2009 @08:02PM (#30221446) Journal

    The top scientist is R Gallo at the Dept of Dermatology, Univ California San Diego. I couldn't find a mention on his web site, but the link below lists all his pubished papers.
    From the abstracts, I would speculate that the idea is something like this

    the normal skin bacteria - the microflora - secrete various antimicrobials peptides, that is compounds which are toxic to other bacteria. If you wash to much, you don't have the right peptides on your skin. at th bottom is an abstract from a recent paper

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=search&db=pubmed&term=Gallo%20RL [nih.gov]

    from this, the following article appears to have the clearest abstract:

    J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Sep;124(3 Suppl 2):R13-8.
    Antimicrobial peptides and the skin immune defense system.

    Schauber J, Gallo RL.

    Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.

    Our skin is constantly challenged by microbes but is rarely infected. Cutaneous production of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) is a primary system for protection, and expression of some AMPs further increases in response to microbial invasion. Cathelicidins are unique AMPs that protect the skin through 2 distinct pathways: (1) direct antimicrobial activity and (2) initiation of a host response resulting in cytokine release, inflammation, angiogenesis, and reepithelialization. Cathelicidin dysfunction emerges as a central factor in the pathogenesis of several cutaneous diseases, including atopic dermatitis, in which cathelicidin is suppressed; rosacea, in which cathelicidin peptides are abnormally processed to forms that induce inflammation; and psoriasis, in which cathelicidin peptide converts self-DNA to a potent stimulus in an autoinflammatory cascade. Recent work identified vitamin D3 as a major factor involved in the regulation of cathelicidin. Therapies targeting control of cathelicidin and other AMPs might provide new approaches in the management of infectious and inflammatory skin diseases.

    PMID: 19720207 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

    an article of interest
    J Invest Dermatol. 2009 Aug 27. [Epub ahead of print]
    Selective Antimicrobial Action Is Provided by Phenol-Soluble Modulins Derived from Staphylococcus epidermidis, a Normal Resident of the Skin.

  • What does not kill me, makes me stronger.

    -- Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, 1888
  • Another health disadvantage of frequent washing is that it reduces the formation of vitamin D. Skin exudes oils, sunshine converts some components of the oils to vitamin D, and the vitamin is absorbed back into the body. If you wash frequently, you eliminate the oils that the vitamin D is made from and any of the vitamin still on the surface. Furthermore, the oils might have some sunblock activity (but I'm only guessing).
  • When I was a kid and even into my teens I rarely was ever clean during the day. I just assumed dirt was a part of life.. I showered/bathed regularly but did not clean up all day long. I was seriously in the running for a pigpen award because I was always dirty.

    I'm 43 and I've had one antibiotic in my life and it was in the last year. I don't harass my kids to stay clean just to keep the dirt mostly outside hehe. I do believe it's important as you are young to be exposed to the elements and interact with the

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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