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CU study links dirt to happiness
A unique CU study has linked a bacteria found in dirt to some surprising health benefits. Depression, Asthma and even the quality of life in cancer patients could be improved with this dirty remedy.
With midterms coming up and the summer fading away into a distant memory, the mood on campus is starting to drop. CU researcher and assistant professor Chris Lowry is in charge of finding a variety of ways to boost our moods.
The key is found in brain serotonin neurons, a hormone that has a significant effect on our mood.
Lowry, in one of his many studies on the hormone, found a link between a bacterium found in certain kinds of dirt and many health benefits. The bacterium is called Mycobacterium Vaccae. In studies on mice, Lowry found that the bacterium activates the brain serotonin neurons and had anti-depressant like effects.
Other health benefits include improvement for people with asthma and allergy patients and a increase in the quality of life in cancer patients.
Lowry said that he believes our emphasis on hygiene has robbed us of this bacterium that has helped us all throughout history. By washing our hands and avoiding contact with dirt, we are actually depriving ourselves of these important health benefits.
So is dirt the answer? Possibly, we'll just have to see what Lowry's lab comes up with next.