Monday, January 16, 2012

Connections ...

... The Wilson Quarterly: Book Reviews: Animals Are Us by Emily Anthes.

The unlikely Exhibit A: Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the bowel that is on the rise in developed nations. Crohn’s and other autoimmune disorders are most common in exactly those places where public health seems to be most advanced—where, for instance, the intestinal parasites that plagued humans for much of history, such as hookworms and tapeworms, have become staggeringly rare. What if, scientists wondered, the absence of these parasites was somehow leaving us more vulnerable to various maladies of the immune system?

It's one thing to be neat and clean. It's another to obsess over cleanliness. My grandmother used to say that you need to eat a bushel of dirt before you die. Forget about trying to keep looking young, or trying to live as long as possible. None of it's worthwhile if you don't know how to enjoy living in the first place.


  1. I like your grandmother.

  2. Speaking as a victim of ulcerative colitis, I've wondered these things myself. The increased incidence and its connection to a presumed lowered resistance to environmentally-triggered illnesses in developed nations is telling, and I'm aware of medical research that's been tracking and commenting on this trend since the 1970s.

    I absolutely agree with you about over-cleanliness. It's one thing to be clean. It's something else entirely to try to be sterile, at home. Your grandmother was right.