As microbiologists who have written and continue to speak about the importance to harbour a healthy microbiome, we feel it is also necessary to affirm some of the messages in Let Them Eat Dirt during the ongoing epidemic with COVID-19 .
As we included in the book and film, hygiene is and will always be necessary in human societies. While the vast majority of our encounters with microbes are harmless or beneficial, the current emergengy clearly put us in different territory. THESE ARE NOT REGULAR TIMES. We are experiencing life under a world epidemic, and practices that are out of the ordinary are necessary.
What is recommended during an infectious epidemic like this one is social distancing and hygiene. Hand washing and not touching your face (so hard!) are the main recommendations in relation to hygiene. While we mentioned in the book that under normal scenarios gel sanitizer is not necessary, our current situation deviates from that. We need to disinfect our hands often, and there may be situations and places where there isn’t running water and soap readily available, so carrying one (at least 60% alcohol) is a good idea. With that said, hand washing for at least 20 seconds with clean water and soap remains the gold standard in disease prevention, so opt for this whenever possible.
While we await until our current circumstances normalize (experts predict it will be weeks to months) it is very important to treat this situation seriously. Follow instructions from your health authorities closely and do your part to prevent further spread of this disease.
Sincerely, Dr. Marie-Claire Arrieta & Dr. B. Brett Finlay
In the 150 years since we discovered that microbes cause infectious diseases, we’ve battled to keep them at bay. But a recent explosion of scientific knowledge has led to undeniable evidence that early exposure to these organisms is beneficial to our children’s well-being. It turns out that our current emphasis on hyper-cleanliness and poor diets are taking a toll on our children’s lifelong health.
B. Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta have written an engaging and important book that explains how the millions of microbes that live in our bodies influence childhood development; why an imbalance in those microbes can lead to obesity, diabetes, and asthma, among other chronic conditions; and how–from conception on–parents can take concrete steps to positively impact their child’s long-term health. The authors delve into the role of microbes in everything from pregnancy nutrition and birthing methods to choices about feeding and lifestyle (“Should we have a pet?” “Should I give my child an antibiotic and a probiotic?” “Should I let him/her play with a friend who’s ill?”).
Based on the best scientific literature published to date —including the authors’ cutting-edge work— this book will change the way you view dirt and food, and empower you to give your kids a healthier start in life.
New documentary film with updated research!
Allergies, obesity, asthma, intestinal disorders, auto-immune diseases, and diabetes are all on the rise, with some even doubling every ten years.
New research points to changes in the complex ecosystem of microbes that live on and inside every one of us – our microbiota – as a major cause. But how could microorganisms that live in your gut affect the odds you’ll develop asthma, a disease of the lungs – or diabetes, a metabolic disorder? Let Them Eat Dirt: The Hunt for our Kids’ Missing Microbes connects with young families, researchers, and doctors to sleuth out what’s harming our microbiome and learn what we can do to reverse this dangerous trend.
Bullfrog Films is now representing the film for distribution in the US.
There is immense potential to harness microbes to help keep gums healthier, bones and muscles stronger, and possibly even protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Of the top ten causes of death in the United States, we now realize microbes can play an integral role in all but one!
In this book, the Finlays suggest improvements to lifestyle, diet, and household practices to promote the right kind of microbial exposure. The Whole-Body Microbiome offers exciting new ways to pursue lifelong well-being and longevity.
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