Yet another study suggests that our anti-septic lifestyle may be causing some health problems while preventing others. It turns out that wormy monkeys (Anyone looking for a band name?) have healthier guts than their worm-free peers:
In developed countries, we’ve mostly eliminated freeloaders like parasitic worms from our guts. But we also have the highest rates of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD—when the immune system mistakenly attacks intestinal cells and friendly gut bacteria.
For years, docs suspected there might be a connection between IBD and our worm-free lifestyle. And a handful of studies have actually shown that infecting human patients with worms can reduce symptoms of the disease. But how?