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New research study showing a link between microbe exposure in early life and childhood leukaemia

This is a digest of recent misleading media coverage of the “news story” that lack of microbe exposure could be a factor in childhood leukaemia.  As seems to be the usual way (see list of media articles below), journalists saw it as another story showing that that "being too clean is bad for our health".  But - nowhere in the scientific paper underlying this story, was this mentioned. The author of the paper (see press release below) talked about the risk factors as “non attendance at nursery, birth order, c-section childbirth, not breast feeding etc”.  

As more disease states are linked to lack of microbial diversity of the human microbiome, it is likely that the misconception that “living in germ free homes” is the problem will continue to be reinforced.  Journalists fail to understyand that, just because we can produce sterile mice by rearing them in sterile conditions, the same happen to humans, if we are too rigosous about cleanliness. In reality, however much we clean the home, it is still “teeming” with microbes. The microbiome is an important health story – as is hygiene – these should be the headline - not the “red herring” debate about cleanliness and sterile homes.


Author: Bloomfield SF

Download File: media digest microbiome and leukemia35-3-19.docx

Published: 18/07/2018

Publication Type: Review