A study examining cleanliness in childhood has found that children who grow up in ultra-clean environments may have an increased risk of a large range of diseases including heart disease.

The study which used data from 3,327 Filipino families found that children who were exposed to more germs grew up to have a much healthier immune system.

Dr Thomas McDade, lead author of the study, likened the immune system to the brain, emphasising that development comes from exposure to the outside environment. “There’s rapid brain growth early in life and there are lots of neurological connections being formed, and you need to engage with your environment in order to promote those connections,” he said.

“The immune system also needs engagement with its environment to drive its development, and without that environmental input, we’re depriving it of a necessary source of information that it needs to promote its development.”

From the AFP.

Writer Tristan Boyd, Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.