I’ve made references to the concept behind Hygiene Hypothesis in various posts. It essentially states that autoimmune disorder arises out of a lack of proper stimulation and training of our immune system. That because we are so fastidiously clean, our immune systems never get the proper training and therefore don’t behave properly. This system emerged as an active and aggressive defense against invading organisms, but what is there for all that activity and aggression to do when everything is anti-microbial? In other words, we got first-world problems! Anyway, fellow blogger Paul, over at Eating SCD, posted a link to an interesting press release regarding a research project resulting in findings that lend academic credence to Hygiene Hypothesis. Interesting reading!
hy-poth-e-sis : \hī-ˈpä-thə-səs\ (noun)
- A supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.
If you follow research for Crohn’s disease or other auto-immune problems you eventually run into the idea of the “hygiene hypothesis”. The basic concept is that when people are exposed to dirt, germs, allergens, microbes, and other unhygienic conditions early in their lives they are less likely to develop auto-immune problems like asthma, allergies and even Crohn’s disease. I believe the correlation between the two has been accepted as fact, but until the study linked below, I’ve not seen evidence of possible causation.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have conducted a study that provides evidence supporting the hygiene hypothesis, as well as a potential mechanism by which it might occur.