‘Excess of cleanliness, too, can be bad’ | india | Hindustan Times
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‘Excess of cleanliness, too, can be bad’

india Updated: Sep 26, 2008 17:36 IST

As children, you have often heard parents and teachers tell you how important cleanliness is for good health. Adding a new angle to this subject, scientists now claim that while cleanliness remains important, an excess of it may well put you at the risk of getting diabetes.

A new study conducted by British researchers found is that a lack of exposure to bacteria and viruses during childhood may lead to an increased chance of high blood sugar and related diseases.

In fact, according to them, exposure to some forms of “friendly” bacteria prevents the onset of type 1 diabetes, which often develops in childhood, where the immune system launches an attack on cells that produce insulin.

They came to the conclusion after carrying out an experiment on genetically modified mice that lacked the part of the immune system which responded to bacteria, the Daily Mail reported.

The researchers found that 80 per cent of the mice raised in a completely germ-free environment, and therefore lacking “friendly” gut bacteria, developed severe diabetes.

However, when they gave the mice a cocktail of the usual bacteria found in the gut, the incidence of diabetes fell dramatically — the results are published in the latest edition of the Nature journal.

“Understanding the relationship between our gut flora and our immune system is extremely important. The objective now is to identify which friendly bacteria are having this effect, and how they stop the development of type 1 diabetes,” lead researcher Prof Susan Wong of Bristol University said.