I just saw this article in the Star*Advertiser that we got this morning. It's written by Brian Nearing of the Albany Times Union. Here are some excerpts from the article:
"Playing in the dirt is actually good for you, with brain boosting effects caused by naturally occurring bacteria in the soil, according to recent research from the Sage Colleges.
By studying how quickly mice negotiate a maze, associate biology professor Dorothy Matthews found that mice did better and showed less stress after eating snacks containing the bacteria, which earlier research shows can increase levels of serotonin, a brain chemical linked in humans with increased learning ability and mood...."
The article closes with:
"And being too clean by disinfecting everything a person comes in contact with could reduce or eliminate exposure to helpful bacteria, and it might be actually making people feel worse, not better, Matthews said."
I find this all so interesting because I remember my mother telling me a long time ago that she'd read in her Japanese research magazines that children should play in dirt to remain healthy and smart. Therefore, she made sure my brother, Dennis and I always played in the dirt everyday...not too hard to do in old Hawaii.
With my older daughter, Tiffany, we cleaned everything she used as a baby. We disinfected and boiled everything. Not to say we were fanatical about it... well... maybe. We were first time parents. We didn't even know how to diaper a baby since Tif was born early, and we'd never completed our Red Cross Child Care course we were taking. We attended the conception part, but gosh, we already knew how to do that. We may not have been experts at diapering, but we knew how to keep her clean and we did!
By the time Jon was born, we were pretty darn relaxed. When his pacifier fell out of his mouth, we dusted it off and gave it back to him. If he fell in the dirt, ah well, dust him off, too.
Today, Tif has a ton of allergies... dust, pollen, all melons, tomatoes. Jon, not much. He's even lived in the poorest villages of Mali, West Africa for over two years without a problem. (Ummm... he did get malaria, but that wasn't from dirt.)
I've seen Tif keeping KC clean all the time much as I did her. Now that I've read this article, it's made me see that... hmmmmmmm... maybe my mother was right after all.
Should I tell her?
MUCH LATER: OK, OK... I told my mom and she did laugh and say, "I read and knew about this 60 years ago!" (Is this the same thing as I told you so?)