Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Get Dirty, Not Depressed

Yesterday's SMH informs us that 'Dirt could ease depression':

People who suffer from depression could benefit from getting dirty, according to new British research. A friendly bacteria found in soil has the same uplifting effects as those produced by anti-depressant drugs. Scientists say Mycobacterium vaccae stimulates the immune system and activates the brain to produce the mood enhancing chemical, seratonin. Dr Chris Lowry says, unless we all start playing in the dirt, researchers now need to find a way of getting the bacteria into people's systems. The study supports the "hygiene hypothesis" - which argues a rise in conditions like asthma and allergies is linked to a lack of exposure to various micro-organisms.The emphasis on cleaning and hygiene, particularly in urban Western environments, could be affecting people's immune systems, according to the theory.

Which, naturally enough, led me to start sing 'The Hippopotamus Song' (Flanders and Swann):

Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
So follow me, follow
Down to the hollow
And there let us wallow in glorious mud

The last few days have left me a little dirty. Making chocolates, screenprinting PDR patches (explained in a forthcoming post), constructing and painting Oestrus Bunnyskins, sorting out musty old costumes and props, covering myself in mud mask, and now onto paper mache duties to bring forth the Divine Bovine. But it seems the researchers may be right, for in all this dirt I am not the least depressed!

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