Science Daily makes me eager to get out in the woods and get dirty. Mostly, just to dig around in the fallen leaves, but also because I might infect myself with bacteria that fights depression and raises intelligence:
“Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural soil bacterium which people likely ingest or breathe in when they spend time in nature,” says Dorothy Matthews of The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, who conducted the research with her colleague Susan Jenks.
Matthews and Jenks fed live bacteria to mice and assessed their ability to navigate a maze compared to control mice that were not fed the bacteria.
“We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice,” says Matthews.
A final test was given to the mice after three weeks’ rest. While the experimental mice continued to navigate the maze faster than the controls, the results were no longer statistically significant, suggesting the effect is temporary.
One more argument for recess in school. And against antibiotic hand soap.