January 28, 2009

"Bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with 'dirt' spur the development of a healthy immune system."

Don't stop your baby from eating his germs 'n' worms!

Hot science news? George Carlin said it decades ago:
The Hudson River was loaded with raw sewage. That's right, we swam in raw sewage. You know, to cool off. And back then the big fear was polio. Thousands of kids every year were dying of polio. But you know what, in my neighborhood, nobody ever got polio. No one. Ever. You know why? BECAUSE WE SWAM IN RAW SEWAGE. It strengthened our immune system. The polio never had a chance. We were tempered in raw shit. What are you going to do when some super virus comes along that turns your vital organs into liquid shit? I'll tell you what you're gonna do. You're gonna get sick and you're gonna die and you're gonna deserve it because you're fuckin' weak and you have a fuckin' weak immune system.

62 comments:

john said...

Is this another Slumdog thread?

(Doyle hates Carlin too, I suppose.)

Original George said...

Not to be confused with 'pica,' dirt eating, a fine old Southern tradition among people who need nutritional supplements.

You can buy gourmet Georgia dirt here

Soon to be sold in the fancier NYC restaurants.

TosaGuy said...

Grew up on a farm with lots of livestock. Shoveled lots of you know what. Played in the dirt alot too. I was rarely, if ever, sick as a kid.

Parents who bathe their kids in purel do a tremendous diservice.

rhhardin said...

Baby Robins die if you just feed them worms. I learned that as a small kid.

Purina Cat Chow is what they needed (old formulation - the red stars - not the new beige crap). Soaked in milk and egg yolk.

Tibore said...

"Studies he 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."

For real? Wow... I had no idea. I'd like to see some followup studies on that, and a meta analysis across whatever studies exist or will eventually be done on the health of immune systems in both worm infected and worm-free humans. It'd be interesting to see if that thesis holds up.

peter hoh said...

That settles it. From now on, I'm taking all my medical advice from George Carlin.

traditionalguy said...

Wait a minute here, you mean that purity is not all that necessary to our body's adaptation to real world around us? Thanks but no thanks for a little too much reality all at once. Take me back to that ole fashioned symbolism on this one. Next thing you know, cigarettes will be found to be beneficial to thinking under stress. And then red wine good for health too, and being fat a good thing for longevity. I only want outliers in my life, if you don't mind.

Original Mike said...

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Unfortunately, what does kill you makes you dead.

Triangle Man said...

Dirt may be good for us, so cigarettes certainly must be too!

Bender said...

I worked in a hospital a few years ago. After a few months of being exposed to all sorts of things, I stopped getting colds, or any other illness of that type, for several years.

Bissage said...

It has long been a proven scientific fact that bacteria, viruses and especially worms live in people’s brains and force them to say that bacteria, viruses and especially worms are good for you.

John Burgess said...

Only anecdotal, but I've a brother-in-law who takes 'sanitation' to a new level. He's burnt down at least one kitchen in his use of alcohol to sanitize counter tops. He's kept his kids away from everything 'germy'. I conclude that his kids' constant illnesses are a result of this. His blaming it on contact with kids at school doesn't work now that his kids are in their teens.

Matt Eckert said...

I always thought Carlin was full of shit.

Robert Cook said...

My mother, a retired nurse, asserts that young children should not receive the batteries of vaccines that they presently do, as this prevents children from getting sick with the garden variety childhood illnesses such as mumps and measles that allow their immune systems to develop effective disease-fighting capacity. Of course, her being a nurse does not make her opinion holy writ, but one has to wonder why so many children today seem so prone to once-rare ailments, such as autism, for example. (Some blame it on the mercury in the vaccines, while others say this is "disproved;" I wonder if the lack of certain childhood illnesses leaves room for worse maladies to develop.)

I can say that my siblings and I were rarely given medicine as children--I never had an antibiotic until I was 42!--and we rarely missed school due to illness. (We did go through mumps and measles early on.) Other children who I knew were given medicine frequently seemed sick all the time. Were they sick because of their over-reliance on medicine, or did they need the medicine because they were always sick?

Palladian said...

"Of course, her being a nurse does not make her opinion holy writ, but one has to wonder why so many children today seem so prone to once-rare ailments, such as autism, for example. (Some blame it on the mercury in the vaccines, while others say this is "disproved;" I wonder if the lack of certain childhood illnesses leaves room for worse maladies to develop.)"

Uh oh, I smell a Vaccination 'Truther'...

Cedarford said...

Burgess - Anecdotal, but like with Carlin's anecdote, such observations accumulate to a level that the medical establishment should do some detailed investigating.

Who exactly ARE the people dropping like flies from an "e coli" breakout in spinach or hamburger or "easily sickened by dust" or the 1st people to get whatever flu or cold going around?

I remember growing up in a semi-rural area that the healthiest kids were kids of farmers.

Our public health system is geared to go after disease vectors and strive for "perfect sanitation" - and not geared to consider "blaming the victim". But maybe we should.
We'll never make the world "perfectly rid of pathogens" and we will never create perfect sanitation or perfect cleaning or antibiotic products that evolution will not eventually confer immunity in such pathogens..

What makes 5 people exposed to contaminated spinach sicken and die? As opposed to the 70,000 people that ate the same spinach crop and didn't? The 69,895 that ate it asymptomatic, 105 that had varying degrees of illness, but didn't croak?
Why did dozens of the farm workers surrounded by the spinach for many days not catch anything?
Knowing the answer to why some sicken and most don't is as important as "finding the source" or "new wonderful medicines to cure what some people's bodies failed to.." - IMO.

Triangle Man said...

Cedarford,

The E. Coli that kills people is a relatively uncommon variant called O157:H7. The people who "drop like flies" tend to be the very old and very young. Many factors can influence the likelihood of infection, and the consequences of infection including immune status, the "dose" of organisms ingested. The farmers may not have been exposed if they did not eat their own spinach, or consumed an uncontaminated portion.

TosaGuy said...

I think Darwin answers Cedarford's question.

David said...

We let our kids eat dirt--and we had dogs. They quickly learned to tell the difference. Plus there were lots of things they liked better than dirt, so it was not a big problem.

The kids are all healthy adults now.

Jeremy said...

Robert Cook said, "...children should not receive the batteries of vaccines that they presently do, as this prevents children from getting sick with the garden variety childhood illnesses such as mumps and measles that allow their immune systems to develop effective disease-fighting capacity."

You do know this is actually how vaccines work, right? It doesn't magically prevent you from getting the disease, it gives you a dead strain of the virus so that your immune system can "develop effective disease-fighting capacity."

JohnAnnArbor said...

Denmark stopped the mercury preservative in their vaccines years ago. Danish kids still get autism at the same, or slightly higher, rates.

QED; it's not the preservative. That preservative, by allowing vaccines to be transported unrefrigerated, undoubtedly saved millions of lives, especially overseas.

Imus and Jenny McCarthy are not medical authorities.

Johnny B. D. said...

Sex, sex, sex -- and excrement!

Gawd you must be desperate for traffic.

Still no ads, though.

Ha ha.

Ophir said...

John Burgess said...
Only anecdotal, but I've a brother-in-law who takes 'sanitation' to a new level. He's burnt down at least one kitchen in his use of alcohol to sanitize counter tops. He's kept his kids away from everything 'germy'.

Of course it's not possible to tell just by an anecdotal comment on the internet but it sounds like your brother-in-law might have OCD. If that's the case and he's not already being treated, he should see a psychologist or psychiatrist, both for his own sake and for his family's. There are highly-effective treatments nowadays utilizing either Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or a combination of CBT and medication.

JohnAnnArbor said...

The overall idea is called the hygiene hypothesis.

There's parallels in other ways we overprotect children. In the mid-70s, we were taught not to dive into water of unknown depth. We could dive, even into shallow water after being taught how--but never dive if you don't know the depth.

Now? I had some lifeguard get on my case for diving into the pool at the 6-foot end. Turns out you can only dive into the deep, deep end without getting yelled at. And they got rid of the high boards, and springboards. Diving is eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil! No child shall ever dive! So now, kids are ignorant of how to dive safely.

John Burgess said...

I'm old enough to have lived through the period before antibiotics were widely available to consumers. Instead, parents were left with either folk remedies or the dread sulfa- drugs (Did dosage ever come in sizes smaller than horse pills?)

I had classmates die of polio and recall the public swimming pools being closed in the summer to prevent outbreaks. The advent of a polio vaccine was heralded as a huge advance in medical science and public health.

The problem with 'childhood illnesses' is that they can still be very lethal. While not as bad as when they first met Western Europeans (McNeil quotes a figure of 90% mortality for mumps), they still do kill.

As kids, we certainly grubbed around outdoors, ate stuff that we shouldn't, engaged in dangerous enterprises like playing with mercury, firecrackers, even matches. Some of us even died as a result.

I do wonder when it came to be the expectation arose that we all had a right to immortality; that anything that lengthened lifespans was an unmitigated good, no matter the social or economic cost.

Bissage said...

Just so everyone knows for sure, that silly 11:29 comment of mine was just a joke.

A joke.

There are no bacteria, viruses or especially worms that live in people’s brains.

That was silly.

And even if there were, they certainly wouldn’t control people’s thoughts and force them to do stuff.

Nope.

Bacteria, viruses and especially worms are good.

They are our friends.

Curtiss said...

I never liked George Carlin, either.

Well, I suppose I did back the late 60's and early 70's. But I like to think of those two decades as the ones where most things I said and did shouldn't really count against me in the big scheme of things.

Is that wrong?

But, anyway, before that, I do remember making mud pies. And eating some of them. My brain is O.K.

Glen said...

There are of course
much nicer ways
to give your immune system a daily workout.

Fred Drinkwater said...

How does that bit from Woody Allen's "Sleeper" go? (from memory:)

"He ran a Health Food store."
"What's that?"
"They sold whole grains, tofu, herbs, and so on. Thought it kept them healthy."
"What!? Didn't they know about (worshipfully) *Deep*Fat*?"

traditionalguy said...

Am I to take it that "eat shit" can now be used as a toast to someone's good health? Can't wait to try it out. That phrase could update the Georgia Tech fight song in place of "To Hell with Georgia like her daddy used to do."

ricpic said...

Yes, George Carlin swam in raw sewerage and lived to tell the tale but he did not swim with Bissage in raw sewerage!

JohnAnnArbor said...

Bissage, certain parasites seem to affect behavior that way.

(Scroll down: "Studies show that while parasitized rats behave much like their healthy peers in aggressiveness and other measures, they differ from ordinary rats in one outstanding trait: they will recklessly frolic in a cat-scented room, and should a cat enter, the rattled rat is as apt to run toward its old foe as away.")

Fred Drinkwater said...

Dear Bissage: Apparently there is a parasite of some kind of pillbug (roly-poly, to be scientific about it) that causes the bug to spend more time in the open, where they are more likely to get eaten by birds. Getting eaten by birds is essential for the parasite's life cycle. Maybe not so good for the pillbug, though.

Curtiss said...

On the other hand, George Carlin is dead.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Fred, I think that's in the article I linked, too.

traditionalguy said...

Could this effect explain Superman's powers on earth, since being a baby on Krypton exposed him to more advanced worms than even the Frenchmen eat? Sadly,my guess is that the FDA will never approve worm treatments here, and we'll have to go to France to get gourmet worms.

Original Mike said...

Did the worms make you type that retraction, Bissage?

TMink said...

Brain eating worms and amoebas. I kid you not.

http://eands.caltech.edu/articles/LXVI4/brainworms.html

I work in a Pediatrician's office and am surrounded by sick children most of my life because of it. I was sick the first six weeks and have had one sick in bed illness in three years.

Many epidimeologists state that indiscriminate use of sterilizing agents in the home are selecting for drug resistant pathogens in the same way that indiscriminate use of antibiotics has. Good old soap is safer in the long run.

Trey

TMink said...

I for one welcome our new Annelid Overlords.

Trey

TMink said...

Carlin's bits made me laugh a lot. But I always thought he would not be someone to hang with.

Trey

joewxman said...

i have said this for years and years. I had a woman at the gym literally run away from me because i cleared my throat a few times while on the treadmill. Try coughing near a machine you need next time and i promise you the place will clear out.

And when a woman gets on a machine next to me having bathed in perfume..i let a bomb go. Problem solved!

Roci said...

So why do so many children in Africa not survive childhood?

I prefer clean living. Lice just piss me off.

Ralph said...

Some TV show on polio said the reason it was a recent disease was that previously, children were exposed to polio earlier when still protected by their mothers' immunity. Improved hygiene changed that.

Henry said...

Bissage -- Did you write the 11:29 to set up the 12:40?

You're good.

Henry said...

Good old soap is safer in the long run.

I read somewhere that the proven effectiveness of soap and water is completely mechanical. Soap doesn't kill germs, it just washes them away.

That sounds really dumb when you write it down, doesn't it? But I believe it's true.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We adhered to the 5 second rule in my family...unless it was peanut butter side down. Gross.

My Grandmother had a saying... Eat a peck of dirt before you die.

In otherwords, don't worry about a little bit of dirt on your food.

JAL said...

Grandma (seriously) used to say: "Eat a peck of dirt before you die."

Translated, I think it means we will ingest dirt in a variety of ways in a significant amount over the years. Point was, I think, not to be afraid of dirt and getting "dirty." It was normal.

Based on simple observation, but I do wonder about the increase in allergies and asthma amongst kids. I wonder if there isn't a correlation to the neat (clean) freak syndrome our culture has embraced in recent years.

I have noticed over the past year that "antibacterial" is not on all the liquid dishwashing soap anymore.

Anyone else remember when people did not routinely shower once (or more) a day?

JAL said...

OMGosh DBQ! Are we related???!!!

JAL said...

DBQ You must have posted while I was checking spelling.

Mmmmph. (But it's *true*)

As for Henry ... it may be that the soap washed the dirt (and bacteria, and viruses, and worm eggs) away. But it works.

As an RN I have watched the basic first aid routine change to say forget the peroxide and betadine (they can damage tissue) and go for soapy water.

That's what I do and it's been pretty effective. Antibiotic cream or ointment after if it is an open wound and cleaned out.

Works for my horses too. (Plus regular tetanus shots.)

Lawgiver said...

Am I to take it that "eat shit" can now be used as a toast to someone's good health? Can't wait to try it out.


My puppy eats turds, his own, other dogs', it doesn't matter. Do you think he is self-inoculating?

I disapprove, of course, but when he brings one in the house I tell him to take it to my wife.

I love being married.

traditionalguy said...

The "worms of death" is a phrase in the Book of Acts describing King Herod's death as a judgement by God. The translation we use like to say "he was eaten by worms and died", but the literal Greek says the worms of death ate him. I for one do not want any worms eating on me while my body is alive, except maggot debridement of dead tissue.This is not funny anymore.

JAL said...

Of course the report and research will meet the disapproval of the altentive medicine people ---

Cleansing ones self of "parasites" (some of which have never been seen in clincial parasitology labs) is an important part of the nuts and berries lifestyle (Ignore the dissonance.)

Devotees of Ann Louise Gittleman http://tinyurl.com/Gitt-parasites and Hulda Clark http://tinyurl.com/cure-for-all will have to find some other explanation for all the diseases there are (they believe parasites -- worms -- are behind it all). Not to mention some other source of income.

Funny since the researchers in the NYT article are consdiering that parasotes might help protect against allergies and asthma.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Funny since the researchers in the NYT article are considering that parasites might help protect against allergies and asthma.

Which makes sense; we've been living with parasites for millenia, so why wouldn't a few cross the line into being symbiotic organisms with us?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

OMGosh DBQ! Are we related???!!!

LOL. Must the midwestern and southern roots. Grandparents from Missouri and New Orleans.

If you want to get down to it, there is the possibility that all of our cells that contain mitochondrial DNA are the result of an ancient parasitic invasion.

The mitochondria is present in both animal and plant cells in today's world, suggesting that the arrival of the mitochondria in the evolutionary chain was slightly before recognisable taxonomical differences between animals and plants.

The mitochondria is unique in the sense that the organelle contains its own DNA, which is derived from its parents. Naturally, as the mitochondria is responsible for the breakdown of organic molecules to release energy (i.e. respiration), this DNA was responsible for the reactions involved to do this.

The remarkable thing about mitochondria is their striking similarity to that of a species of amoeba, where the structure of the two are similar. In this particular species of amoeba, symbiotic bacteria enact what the mitochondria does in more advanced cell structures. The end of this symbiotic relationship no doubt increased parasitism, due to the fact that cells now possessed their own energy supply, they could be exposed and eradicated by the pathogens of the time.


We are one gigantic conglomeration of symbiotic parasites.

sbutler said...

How apropos.

blake said...

Devotees of Ann Louise Gittleman http://tinyurl.com/Gitt-parasites and Hulda Clark http://tinyurl.com/cure-for-all will have to find some other explanation for all the diseases there are (they believe parasites -- worms -- are behind it all). Not to mention some other source of income.

Actually, Clark's argument is that various parasites taking up lodging in the "wrong place" that causes the problems. That and reactions of those organisms to various chemicals.

I have problems with the theory but I saw the practice work on a whole lot of people.

Robert Cook said...

Palladian said...(speaking of my comment):

"Uh oh, I smell a Vaccination 'Truther'..."


Wrong. I have no opinion on the matter, as I lack the scientific or medical knowledge to parse for myself the conflicting arguments on the matter. It does seem that recent studies refute the idea of the mercury preservative in vaccines acting as an agent in the seeming escalation of rates of autism. (But...who funded these studies?) We may never know the causes for the rise in autism...perhaps it's the generally more toxic environment in which we live today, with poisons poured, pumped, extruded and released into our land, water and air by the metric ton...unceasingly.

Jeremy said, "You do know this is actually how vaccines work, right? It doesn't magically prevent you from getting the disease, it gives you a dead strain of the virus so that your immune system can "develop effective disease-fighting capacity."

Yes, I know this is how vaccines work, and my caveat about my mother's opinion was intended to cast a note of doubt on her theory. But...do we know that contracting a slight version of an illness really allows the body's immune system to develop with the same vigor and force as does its successfully fighting off a full-blown version of the illness?

Again, I don't know, and I don't assert an opinion, but with the many anecdotal accounts here and the results of studies as reported in the Times article of children growing up exposed to barrages of bacteria and growing into healthy, rarely-ill adults, I don't think it's silly or fruitless to wonder.

Nichevo said...

Blogger peter hoh said...

That settles it. From now on, I'm taking all my medical advice from George Carlin.
11:06 AM


This just in: George Carlin is still dead.

Incidentally, I remember him saying that he learned in the Army that all these long baths and showers are the bunk - all you need is to scrub four places, IIRC: Armpits, Asshole, Crotch and Teeth. I believe he also contended you only needed one brush for all four. (Perhaps not in that order?)

Musta been hell in a phone booth with the guy...


Blogger traditionalguy said...

Wait a minute here, you mean that purity is not all that necessary to our body's adaptation to real world around us? Thanks but no thanks for a little too much reality all at once. Take me back to that ole fashioned symbolism on this one. Next thing you know, cigarettes will be found to be beneficial to thinking under stress. And then red wine good for health too, and being fat a good thing for longevity. I only want outliers in my life, if you don't mind.
11:12 AM

Next you'll be saying that a little rendition and waterboarding of evildoers is good for a country. Can't have that.

Dr Hulda Clark said...

Purity is necessary for our body.

Dr Hulda said...

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blake said...

How's the Playas these days, Dr. Clark.

blake said...

Guess you got over your distaste for computers?