Let Them Eat Dirt: Raising Children with Their Microbes

Publish Date: 19 April 2017
Author(s): B. Brett Finlay, PhD


The eradication of microbes over the past century with the hygiene battle has unexpected consequences. Our war on microbes is having unforeseen consequences in increased rates of inflammatory bowel disease, mental health disorders, childhood obesity, and asthma. Dr Finlay reveals how asthma is associated with a specific gut microbiome signature at 3 months of age.

He further provides animal model evidence that both a malnourished diet, low in protein and fat, and specific microbes combine to contribute to the etiology of environmental enteropathy, a subclinical chronic inflammatory disease of the small intestine impacting the persistence of childhood malnutrition worldwide. Dr Finlay concludes that we must rethink our relationship with our microbes and establish a balance between hygiene and exposure to beneficial microbes.

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Author Bios

A headshot of Brett Finlay

B. Brett Finlay, PhD

University of British Columbia; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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