NY Times article: Babies Know: A little dirt is good for you

Yet another article in the NY Times on why babies should be allowed to eat dirt, children should be allowed to run barefoot and not clean their hands before they eat. Basically, the hygiene hypothesis with more quotes from Weinstock and Elliott. Worms, they state, are probably the biggest players in training the immune system:

“Studies (Weinstock) has conducted with Dr. David Elliott, a gastroenterologist and immunologist at the University of Iowa, indicate that intestinal worms, which have been all but eliminated in developed countries, are “likely to be the biggest player” in regulating the immune system to respond appropriately, Dr. Elliott said in an interview. He added that bacterial and viral infections seem to influence the immune system in the same way, but not as forcefully.

Most worms are harmless, especially in well-nourished people, Dr. Weinstock said.

“There are very few diseases that people get from worms,” he said. “Humans have adapted to the presence of most of them.”

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