May 25, 2010

"Can Bacteria Make You Smarter?"

"Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural soil bacterium which people likely ingest or breath in when they spend time in nature...."

9 comments:

edutcher said...

In all too many cases, we can only hope...

Seven Machos said...

Obviously, the editors at Science Daily do not spend enough time outdoors.

Tibore said...

From the linked story:

"A final test was given to the mice after three weeks' rest. While the experimental mice continued to navigate the maze faster than the controls, the results were no longer statistically significant, suggesting the effect is temporary."

Instead of being "smarter", the effect seems to be one of clearing the mind, thus allowing better concentration on the task at hand. To me, that's a better interpretation of the study's results.

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Word verification: heighour. What cud chewing animals celebrate after a hard day's work.

c3 said...

I hate articles like this:

here's a interesting/neat/quirkly/unexpected _____________ (your adjective here) study that tells us _______________ (fill in your narrative here)

At most the research suggests that something about the bacteria makes MICE smarter.

I'm sure we'll see this Mycobacteria's extract in the health food stores in the future.

Ann Althouse said...

Only 4 comments? I guess you're all out there inhaling dirt.

Paddy O said...

I spent three days this past weekend in Joshua Tree, and must have inhaled a lot of bacteria. Great time.

All I have to say to this study is "neat!"

I definitely find myself thinking better and feeling better when I'm in nature. So it's very interesting to hear there's a scientific reason.

Though I wonder if there's a ceiling to the effect. Seems like a lot of people can spend a lot of time around nature and be fairly miserable. Indeed most of history has been a story of people trying to overcome nature.

Christy said...

Am I evil to find it funny that the mothers of the post-boomer generation may be making their kids dumber by keeping their environment so sanitary? As well as more allergy prone with less discriminating immune systems? (That last from earlier studies.)

Fen said...

Actually its the bacteria that get smarter, not the mice.

Ken Pidcock said...

Ah, yes, it's the week of General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. Time for our annual shot of weird microbe stories.